Gove avoids Brexiting shaving. For now

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

17th November

Contact Keith Flett     07803 167266

Gove avoids Brexiting shaving for now

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said Michael Gove has so far avoided the widely expected question about whether he plans to once again Brexit shaving by not yet resigning as a Minister

Last time Gove left Government in 2016 he was seen in Westminster on 16th August with a beard and his partner Sarah Vine has confirmed in her Daily Mail column (17th August) that the then former Minister has indeed grown a ‘hipster’ beard.

The BLF says that a beard can begin the process of political re-assessment not just over policies but image as well as Al Gore found when he lost the chance to become US President and instead grew his beard. However resignation is the key first step

The campaigners have discounted suggestions that Gove plans a resignation Corbyn tribute beard.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Michael Gove has a key decision to make. Is he going to resign, Brexit shaving & grow a beard or not?



Peterloo director Mike Leigh may not make cut for Beard of the Year 2018 shortlist

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release 16th November

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Peterloo director Mike Leigh may not make cut for Beard of the Year 2018 shortlist

 (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with just days left to vote for the Beard of the Year shortlist Peterloo director Mike Leigh may not make the cut

A public poll determines the top ten beard wearers who will go through to the final Beard of the Year vote which opens on 1st December with the winner announced on 28th December.

The campaigners say that the longlist comprises those whose beard has had a positive impact in the public eye during the year rather than the style or the length of the beard

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Mike Leigh is well known beard wearer and very much in the public eye so it is surprising that he is struggling to make the cut for the Beard of the Year shortlist. However there is time yet

Mike Leigh on beards. Guardian 21st October 2018

I do think shaving is a time-wasting, filthy, irrelevant and resource-wasting habit

Beard of the Year 2018 Longlist

Poll closes on 22nd November

Peter Coles, scientist

Xand van Tulleken, TV doctor

James O’Brien, Broadcaster

Danny Cowley, Lincoln City Manager

Nuno, Wolves Manager

Jeremy Corbyn, politician

Prince Harry, Royal personage

Moeen Ali, cricketer

Mike Leigh, Film Director

Tosh McDonald, Beard of Labour Conference

Gareth Southgate, football manager

Harry Kane, footballer

Lenny Henry, actor

Philip Ardagh, author

Al Wall, brewer, Cloudwater

Idris Elba, actor

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Carwyn Jones, Welsh First Minister

Ben Foakes, Cricketer

Shanjei, Sri Lankan Tourist Consultant



Socialist History seminar 19th November: Daryl Leeworthy on his new book on Labour politics in South Wales

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2018 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians seminar

Monday 19th November 5.30pm Room 304 Institute of Historical Research, Malet St, London, WC1. Free

Daryl Leeworthy will speak on his new book which takes a fresh look at the history of Labour politics in South Wales. Details are below:

Since the end of WWI, one party has held the momentum of political and social change in South Wales: the Labour Party. Its triumph was never fully guaranteed. It came quickly amidst a torrent of ideas, actions, and war. But the result was a vibrant, effective and long-lasting democracy. The result was Labour Country.

In this bold, controversial book, Daryl Leeworthy takes a fresh and provocative look at the struggle through radical political action for social democracy in Wales. The reasons for Labour’s triumph, he argues, lay in radical pragmatism and an ability to harness lofty ideals with meaningful practicality. This was a place of dreamers as well as doers. The world of Arthur Horner and Aneurin Bevan.

And yet, as the author shows, this history is now over. Although a trajectory leads from the end of the Miners’ Strike both to the advent of devolution and the circumstances that led to the Brexit vote in 2016, these are exits from Labour Country, not a continuation. Sustained by a powerful synthesis of scholarship and original research, passionate and committed, this book brings the cubist epic of South Wales and its politics to life.


Daryl Leeworthy is a social and cultural historian of modern Wales. He was educated in Pontypridd and at the University of Oxford where he studied history and politics. He gained his doctorate from Swansea University in 2011 and published his first book, Fields of Play: The Sporting Heritage of Wales to coincide with the Olympic Games in 2012. He has taught in universities in Canada, the North of England, and Wales, and is currently a tutor in adult education in Merthyr Tydfil.


Teach Yourself Brexit Boycott

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2018 by kmflett

Teach Yourself Brexit Boycott

Boycott intentionally run out by Ian Botham

Theresa May has claimed in a speech made on 15th November that she will achieve Brexit using the approach used by ex-England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott. How much do you know about what that approach is?

Please answer all questions at length and use both sides of the paper

What do you understand by the term ‘in my day’ Give examples

Explain how it is possible to use a ‘stick of rhubarb’ to bat on a cricket pitch. Use diagrams if appropriate

What is the significance of an uncovered pitch for a game of cricket? In your answer refer to some examples from the 1960s

What do you understand by the technical term playing ‘rubbish’?

What is the significance of the ‘run-out’ in a game of cricket, and who should be ‘run-out’?

What kind of run scoring tempo should a great batsman aim for in a Test Match? Reference to batting averages in your answer may gain extra marks

What is a show pony? Give examples

Where can the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ be found?

Who was the best ever England cricket captain?

Time for paper: Five Days


From Waterloo and Peterloo to troop mutiny in Calais in 1919: the military Byng Dynasty

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2018 by kmflett

From Waterloo and Peterloo to troop mutiny in Calais in 1919: The military Byng Dynasty

John Byng, 1st Earl of Stafford

The longevity of the British ruling class is unmatched anywhere else in the world and that goes for those who in various ways served to make sure that was the case in the armed forces.

Hence we find that the military commander in charge at Peterloo (who was actually at York races on 16th August 1819) John Byng (1772-1860), who had seen service at Peterloo was the first in a line of military personnel of that name. He was a distant relation of Admiral Byng who met (for him) an unfortunate end. A supporter of the 1832 Reform Act he became the first Earl of Stafford

John Byng,_1st_Earl_of_Strafford

Part of the same dynasty was Julian Byng (1862-1935) who became Governor General of Canada. He was involved unsuccessfully in efforts to stop British troops from munity in Calais in early 1919 (brief details below)

Julian Byng,_1st_Viscount_Byng_of_Vimy

January 1919 Calais (LIbCom)

In an attempt to intimidate the mutineers General Byng and fresh troops were sent for. Unfortunately Byng made the mistake of arriving before his men. His car was immediately commandeered by the mutineers and replaced by a modest Ford. Byng’s troops were delayed for a further two days by Lhe blacking of British transport. When they arrived machine guns were placed at strategic points, such as food stores and munition dumps. Byng’s troops, in the words of a participant, were ‘bits of boys who were sent out just as the war ended.’

John Byng, according to E P Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class was thought to be a competent soldier. His descendant Julian Byng may also have been but the striking thing about both is how quite significant misjudgements on a major issue appear to have made no difference to their subsequent careers.

No doubt Boris Johnson has understood the point




Jacob Rees-Mogg the History Man?

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2018 by kmflett

Jacob Rees-Mogg the History Man

The hard-right Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, spends his time as a businessman investing abroad while pushing for Britain to leave the EU. He also displays Victorian social attitudes.

Rees-Mogg father William was Editor of the Times whose most useful public act was to try and prevent the sale of the paper to Rupert Murdoch.

William graduated with a history degree and Jacob did the same from Trinity College, Oxford.

Little might be thought of Jacob Rees Mogg’s upper second class history degree were it not for the fact that he has recently started making historical comparisons with current events while making interventions on the EU debate from, of course the perspective of the hard right.

A number of well known MPs in recent years have held history degrees. George Osborne for example had one, although he displayed as much historical knowledge as did economic while Chancellor- that is none. Gordon Brown, also had a history qualification and to his credit had both written some labour history and showed some historical sense.

Rees-Mogg is in a slightly different class in the sense that it is difficult to work-out whether his occasional historical pronouncements are in fact related to historical knowledge he gained while studying for his degree or simply off the cuff comments.

His first historical comment on Theresa May’s Brexit plans was that they risked splitting the Tory Party in the way Peel had done in 1846 over the Corn Laws. Broadly this might seem a decent historical point. Peel repealed the Corn Laws which made bread cheaper (and hence allowed employers to lower wages) which was not in the interest of the landowning and farming elements of the Tory Party. It was however in the interests of British capitalism in general as the country became increasingly industrialised. To suppose that whatever Ms May thinks she is doing on Brexit is about the best future for capitalism is where Rees-Mogg’s point fall down. His line however is that in failing to pursue a hard Brexit May is facilitating a split in the Tory Party as Peel did.

His second historical intervention related to the Treaty of Goulet in 1200. While 1846, even if it is well over 150 years ago, is still very much within the broad economic and political framework in which, unfortunately, Britain still operates, the beginning the thirteenth century is not.

The Treaty was about King John handing over some English controlled land in France in return for French recognition of him as King of England. It will be remembered that in 1066 the French had successfully invaded and taken control of the English crown, so one might think that King John was not in the best negotiating position.

Rees-Mogg point was that the concessions made to the French were of the same scale as those made by Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit. It is difficult to see this as a serious historical point.

That is perhaps the key thing about Rees-Mogg the history man. It is remarkably difficult to discover what period of history he actually studied at Oxford, although we do know that he spent time laying down the basis of his later Conservative political career.

I was able to track down someone who had been a fellow student in one seminar group at Oxford with Rees-Mogg who was studying Anglo-Saxon history pre-1966 but they remarked that the degree course was eclectic.

Most recently he has suggested that Theresa May’s EU deal will make Britain a slave State. The above student tweeted on 14th November that since they had studied slavery with him at Oxford he must know this is BS (notwithstanding one’s views on May’s deal).

Jacob Rees-Mogg does know some history but don’t confuse that point with his political pronouncements.


Campaigners call on Prince Charles at 70 to grow a gravitas adding beard

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE 14th November

contact Keith Flett 07803 167266


The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, which campaigns against irrational prejudice against the hirsute, has called on Prince Charles, who is 70 today, to give up shaving for his landmark birthday, and grow a beard, similar to the one he wore in younger days.

The campaigners say that a beard would add gravitas to the Prince with the possibility that he may still in due course become King.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we have a hirsute leader of the Opposition, why not a hirsute heir to the throne?