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Karl Marx on how England can win the European Championships

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2021 by kmflett

Karl Marx on how England can win the European Championships

There has been suggestion that in taking the knee in the European Championships England players are somehow Marxists. This seems to me unlikely. Marx after all argued that material being determines consciousness and no England player is short of a bob or two in 2021.

Even so Marx did forsee the way England could win the Euros. Addressing the Hague Congress of the First International on 8th September 1872 he noted:

let us think of the basic principle of the International: Solidarity. Only when we have established this life-giving principle on a sound basis among the numerous workers of all countries will we attain the great final goal which we have set ourselves.

In other words keep on taking the knee and offering solidarity against injustice and victory could be Englands.

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Taking the knee: a statement against racism & injustice

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2021 by kmflett

Taking the Knee: a statement against injustice

No doubt there were some boos(lots of applause) and myriad racists making political statement about how they don’t think there should be politics in sport but the England team took the knee against racism and injustice at Wembley on Sunday.

It is not something they have invented.

Players in the US NFL have done it for some years and  ex-President Trump regularly engaged in racist rants against them for doing so.

The matter became refocused after the murder of George Floyd a year ago but the modern tradition can be traced back to Martin Luther King who in 1965 with others took the knee after he was arrested for protesting on voting rights. This remains an issue in the US and Johnson is trying to make it one in the UK.

The connection between taking the knee and the Black Lives Matter movement and indeed political currents around exists in the sense that they are about fighting injustice. Some of them may be Marxists and Marxists certainly fight against oppression.

Does that mean England’s football players are Marxists? None have declared themselves but since Marx himself noted that material being determines consciousness and they are all at least reasonably well-off it seems somewhat unlikely.

I spoke to Emma Smith of the Goal website at greater length on the matter:

https://www.goal.com/en/news/southgate-is-right-to-say-they-will-keep-doing-it-why-taking-the-/1slnuikkvttjz1v7ghdpj9z2fo

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2021 Beard,Shorts & Sandals Season,Hot Weather Warning

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

13th June

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

2021 Beard, Shorts & Sandals Season, Hot Weather Warning

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has issued the first hot weather warning of the 2021 Beard, Shorts and Sandals Season.

The campaigners say that many areas of the UK will see daytime temperatures in excess of 21C for the next few days.

The UV factor will be high meaning there is a significant chance of two things happening:

1] Beard follicles becoming dry and brittle. The combat this irrigate the beard regularly with the liquid of your choice.

2 Exposed legs becoming sunburnt. Please follow official advice to wear ¾ length shorts.

The BLF says that it has amended guidelines for the official start of the 2021 Season and brought in a new framework to facilitate social distancing. This will be reviewed later in the summer.

1] Shorts should ideally be three-quarter length-‘culottes’ for the  2021 season. The length of shorts is particularly important as climate change may mean that unprotected legs get sunburnt.

2] Footwear should be casual. There is a considerable range of sandal type footwear now available. Some leaves parts of the feet and toes open to public view, while some does not. The BLF is not prescriptive about the matter.

3] Socks should generally not be worn during the official season. However if the beard, shorts and sandals are to be displayed in relatively busier urban areas it is likely to be prudent to wear closed rather than open casual footwear and ankle socks, not visible to others may be worn.

4] There is no prescription or definition on what type of beard may be worn, or how this may match with the shorts and sandals. This is left up to the individual.

5] Social distance should be kept where appropriate and required. On no account should there be any large groups of beard, shorts and sandals wearers. Discussion of styles should be confined to small groups or social media.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we don’t issue hot weather warnings lightly and would urge the hirsute to adhere to our sensible guidelines to avoid follicle and skin damage in the summer heat.

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The Ambridge Socialist.Alice & Rehab. No,No,No!

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2021 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

13th June

Alice & Rehab No,no,no!

Yes, Alice really did say that but the script writer Keri Davies did tweet that the reference to the late Amy Winehouse was entirely deliberate. The situation remains of utmost gravity though. So much so that even veteran tippler Brian has determined that something must be done, even if it costs.

It is occupying much time on BBC reports from Ambridge so it is to be hoped that Alice does get help at Rehab so that some degree of normal can return. What for example is happening at Grey Gables, or Brookfield?

Brian says ‘sorry’ twice

In the course of all this Brian has apologised to Fallon not once or twice in the same conversation. It may be the first time in living memory that Brian has apologised for anything. What did he apologise for? Who knows? The moment has passed and he is back in his stride.

Jennifer talks to Ed Grundy about ‘sheep’

Meanwhile Jenny has managed a rare conversation with Ed Grundy. Ed was rightly wary at first but was reassured when he learnt it was not sheep that she wanted to discuss.

In other news

Tracy has produced a video on how to play the reverse sweep according to Sgt ‘Knacker’ Burns

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Elections for Hereditary Peers 14th June. 3 Tories to be elected, electorate: 43

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2021 by kmflett

S

Steve Bell/The Guardian

Elections for Hereditary Peers in the House of Lords due

Given that Britain is a Constitutional Monarchy with at best a partially written Constitution what goes on in respect of democratic politics can be a little odd and that was before Johnson and Co.

This coming week sees elections for Hereditary Peers in the Lords. Their numbers are limited (as opposed to Life Peers who still appear to be increasing exponentially…).

Hence when one or more departs, retires or simply doesn’t turn up for a bit there are elections.

On Monday there is an election for 3 Tory Peers. There are 21 candidates and the electorate is 43.

On Tuesday and Wednesday there is an election for a single Cross Bench Peer. There are 10 candidates.

All the candidates are already Lords or Ladies but currently don’t sit.

One might query whether they are up to this voting thing. If we follow the New Left Review perspective on British politics the aristocracy as opposed to business still has a significant role due to an incomplete bourgeois revolution.

Strangely however both elections are by e-ballot. The one for Tory Peers will use the Single Transferable Vote while the Crossbench election will use the Alternative vote.

Are these venerable aristocrats up to it?

The answer is of course, yes, as a quick scan of their election statements reveals.

They are not ancient landowners but people who have worked in finance, admin, digital and the like-in short types of no doubt well-heeled professional.

Not that different one suspects to many MPs in fact..

https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/lords/house-of-lords-external-communications/by-elections/

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Historians back protests on statue of slaver Geffrye as Museum of Home re-opens

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2021 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

12th June

Contact Dr Keith Flett 07803 167266

Historians back protests on statue of slaver Robert Geffrye as Hackney’s Museum of the Home re-opens

The London Socialist Historians Group, which organises the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London, has backed protests as Hackney’s Museum of the Home re-opens with a statue of slave trader Robert Geffrye still firmly in a central position

Some important and interesting changes have been made to Museum during a refurbishment. One change that hasn’t been made is to remove the statue of slave trader Robert Geffrye (1613-1703) that is in a central place at the old front of the museum.

When the black lives matter movement resurged after the murder of George Floyd a year ago there was a consultation, jointly with Hackney Council, on whether the statue should be moved. 71% of the 2,000 or so local respondents said it should be. This was blocked by Ministers Dowden and Jenrick.

This move reflects the frankly weird ideological obsessions of the present Government. Robert Geffrye funded the almshouses in which the museum, much later from 1914, came to be housed. He is absolutely nothing to do with it and there is no historical reason for his statue to be there (as opposed to elsewhere nearby).

The Daily Telegraph (11th June)has reported that Museum staff feel the statue could be better represented and explained if it was moved from its current central position to the area nearby where Geffrye is actually buried.

The Museum has made some changes to reflect the area in which its based better. There is a new exhibition of a West Indian sitting room from 1976.

It still doesn’t address the central point about the statue and Stand Up To Racism are holding protests on 12th June.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett said, pretty everyone thinks the statue of Robert Geffrye should be moved except the Tory Culture War Warriors Oliver Dowden and Robert Jenrick. That is not democracy in action. The Ministers are pandering to a bigoted minority who don’t have an issue with the slave trade. That is entirely unacceptable in 2021.

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Museum of the Home in Hackney re-opens. Statue of slaver Geffrye remains in place

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2021 by kmflett

Museum of the Home in Hackney re-opens. Statue of slaver Geffrye remains in place

The Museum of the Home (@MuseumoftheHome) in Hackney re-opens on Saturday after a lengthy closure for refurbishment.

Some important and interesting changes have been made. One change that hasn’t been made is to remove the statue of slave trader Robert Geffrye (1613-1703) that is in a central place at the old front of the museum.

When the black lives matter movement resurged after the murder of George Floyd a year ago there was a consultation, jointly with Hackney Council, on whether the statue should be moved. 71% of the 2,000 or so local respondents said it should be. This was blocked by Ministers Dowden and Jenrick.

This move reflects the frankly weird ideological obsessions of the present Government. Robert Geffrye funded the almshouses in which the museum, much later from 1914, came to be housed. He is absolutely nothing to do with it and there is no historical reason for his statue to be there (as opposed to elsewhere nearby).

Indeed the unlikely source of the Daily Telegraph (11th June)has reported that Museum staff feel the statue could be better represented and explained if it was moved from its current central position to the area nearby where Geffrye is actually buried.

The Museum has made some changes to reflect the area in which its based better. There is a new exhibition of a West Indian sitting room from 1976 (though this might be more frequently be defined by area in 2021- i.e Jamaican, Trindadian..).

There is a also a new film:

https://www.museumofthehome.org.uk/what-s-on/exhibitions-and-installations/waiting-for-myself-to-appear/

It still doesn’t address the central point about the statue and Stand Up To Racism are holding protests on 12th June.

Keep in mind though that the museum staff are professionals and trade unionists. The Tory decision on Geffrye  is ‘above their pay grade’

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Colston one year on: statue wars? Histories of the present

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2021 by kmflett

Colston one year on: statue wars? Histories of the present

A year on from the removal of the statue of slaver Edward Colston from its plinth in central Bristol, the BBC (Thursday 10th June) screened a programme about how the Labour Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees had attempted to deal with the matter.

The programme is available on iplayer and as a history of the present (albeit a partial one)its well worth watching.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000wvzx/statue-wars-one-summer-in-bristol

There are limits in what can be done in an hour long programme on TV- which by definition is visually based. Marvin Rees is the first elected black Mayor in Europe and if we look wider the number of black Council leaders in the UK remains a very small number.

Given Bristol’s history of slaving and racism- the Bristol buses being an example until the early 1960s- that is important in itself. Its not the only perspective though because Bristol also has a history of protest, revolt and anti-racism.

How much we saw of Marvin Rees attempts to grapple with the Colston issue I’m not sure. The programme made a particular point which was that he was trying (rightly) to go beyond Tory culture wars. Rather there was a focus on racism but also class and inequality and an understanding that black and white Bristolians had much in common in fighting an exploitative system.

One can only agree. That after all is what the slogan ‘black and white unite and fight’ is all about.

The problem and one that the programme sort of highlighted but didn’t actually mention, is that this can’t really be achieved from above. A Mayor can set the tone and take initiatives but change has to come from below.

Whether or not those who wanted the Colston statue down and wider anti-racist groups were engaged with and were to some extent on board with what Rees was trying to do was unclear. Rather the programme showed the Mayor and advisors watching protests from the Council House. Why not go out and join them I wondered?

No doubt there are others much better informed here than myself who know more on this.

However the ‘from above’ issue remains.

Arthur Scargill was a great General Secretary of the NUM but at the end of the day that’s an official position which constrains rather than promotes activism, at least to a degree.

The Statue Wars programme ended with brief coverage of the Bristol protests against the Police Bill earlier this year where the police behaved disgracefully and often thuggishly. No real surprise there. However as Mayor, Rees supported the police rather than the protesters, while noting the history of protest Bristol has. That was wrong in my view but as Mayor he might well argue that he had little choice. The possibilities and limits of action from within and above.

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Brewdog workplace culture issues may be bad for business

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2021 by kmflett

Brewdog culture issues may be bad for business

Its something that if they recognised a trade union Brewdog might already have known. Publicity stunts are one thing but when things are seen to go publicly wrong, reputational damage to a Company’s standing can occur. Companies can have a tin ear about the public impact of things they do but unions representing those that work for them rarely do

Obviously for small companies it will be little noticed (even though it should be). Brewdog is not a huge company but it has a big brand name in craft beer.

This week it has been rocked by complaints about workplace culture. It initially refuted them but then decided it was best to agree that they had substance.

It was perhaps a bit late. The Daily Telegraph, which does cover beer, but is hardly the paper for punks has put on-line (unusually not paywalled) an analysis of the matter that underlines how damaging the matter is:

A public float was expected to value the company at up to £2bn, handing a windfall to Watt and Dickie, who hold around 44pc of the business.

Yet the allegations that emerged this week may have cast a shadow on those plans. Other recent high-profile flops on the stock market had already given bosses pause; takeaway app Deliveroo struggled earlier this year amid concern over the working conditions of its delivery drivers. “I don’t think Deliveroo helped anyone looking to list,” Watt told the Telegraph earlier this year, adding that the company was also looking at options to float in the US. Watt said there remained a “strong preference” for it to become public in the UK.

For BrewDog, the workplace allegations may have brought a moment of reckoning. Watt insists it will be a “catalyst to be the best employer we can be”. He will have to hope so, or his list of BrewDog’s 10 biggest mistakes will soon need updating.

The ball as it were is firmly in Brewdog’s half

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/06/11/brewdog-loses-bark-toxic-claims-come-home-bite/

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Jacob Rees-Mogg on Oriel College & Cecil Rhodes, ‘not a black & white figure’

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2021 by kmflett

Jacob Rees-Mogg on Oriel College & Cecil Rhodes ‘not a black and white figure’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has returned to one of his favourite subjects- history- in the Commons and opined on Cecil Rhodes. An Editorial in the Daily Telegraph (11th June) has backed him up and agreed that Rhodes was a complex figure. Perhaps so but racism and imperialism can be found in all areas

Rees Mogg’s comments in the Commons (10th June) are an ‘anti-woke’ classic without doubt….

As regards the academics refusing to teach, I mean I am half tempted to say you should be lucky not to be taught by such a useless bunch but if they are that feeble, what are you missing? I mean what are they doing there? Why don’t they have any pride in their country, our marvellous history and its success? And Rhodes is not a black and white figure. Perhaps they’re not learned enough to have bothered to look up the history of Rhodes in any detail which has been written about quite extensively now and as I say: he is a figure of importance and of interest and of enormous generosity to Oxford. Do they want to give the money back to the descendants of Cecil Rhodes? Or are they intending to keep it to themselves? So we must not allow this wokeness to happen. The idea of changing Churchill college, well perhaps we should introduce a bill to rename Cambridge Churchill and call it Churchill university and that would be one in the eye for the lefties