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?



England captain Harry Kane may not make ‘cut’ for Beard of the Year 2018 shortlist

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release 14th November

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

England captain Harry Kane may not make ‘cut’ for Beard of the Year 2018 shortlist

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with just over a week left to vote for the 2018 Beard of the Year shortlist, England football captain Harry Kane is in danger of not making the cut.

The key issue in the vote for the shortlist is not to amass votes as such (as these are not aggregated in the final vote) but to do enough to make sure that the ‘cut’ is avoided.

While Harry Kane has attracted some votes he is still some way off the top 10

A poll determines the top ten beard wearers who will go through to the final Beard of the Year poll 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, Harry Kane had an outstanding World Cup and in doing so promoted a positive image of the hirsute. Of course supporters of clubs other than Spurs may have reservations but there is a wider matter at stake here.

Beard of the Year 2018 Longlist

Poll closes on 22nd November

Jeremy Corbyn, politician

Peter Coles, scientist

Xand van Tulleken, TV doctor

James O’Brien, Broadcaster

Danny Cowley, Lincoln City Manager

Nuno, Wolves Manager

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



People with beards are NOT more attractive say beard campaigners

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

13th November

contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

People with beards are NOT more attractive say beard campaigners

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the latest beard study from Australian scientists which purports to show that women find men with beards more attractive has no more credibility than the 2014 research from a different Australian University that claimed the world had reached ‘peak beard’.

The research which appeared in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology in 2016 has for unknown reasons found its way into news headlines this week

In the study scientists showed women pictures of men with beards and discovered that no matter what women preferred men with beards because they appeared more masculine.

The campaigners say that such research has no real credibility and that people like or dislike people for all kinds of reason of which appearance will often only be a small part.

BLF organiser Keith Flett said, where to start? The scientists don’t seem to have realised, for example, that a man with a beard might like another man with a beard because they are gay. They also vastly over emphasise the importance of appearance. When I shave my beard for charity hardly anyone seems to notice, except often more money is raised by people demanding I grow it back at once.



The People’s Revenge on the man who sent the Yeomanry in at Peterloo

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2018 by kmflett

The People’s Revenge on the man who sent the Yeomanry in at Peterloo

William Hulton (Manchester Libraries)

William Hulton (1787-1864) is not a name that features significantly in British history but the man who held it in the late Georgian and early Victorian periods deserves more recognition as does what eventually happened to the vast estate he owned on the edge of what is now Greater Manchester. It’s thought that the Hulton family may have held the land since as early as 989AD which made it until very recently the longest running land held by a single family in UK history.

Hulton came into his inheritance in 1808 aged 21 and married Maria who bore him 13 children.

Hulton was active as a magistrate before Peterloo and in 1812 at Westhougton 2 miles from his ancestral seat at Hulton Hall, Luddites burnt down a new power loom factory. Hulton despatched summary justice to some of those involved.

Hulton was the Magistrate who signed the order to send the Yeomanry in at Peterloo (and indeed the warrant for the arrest of Henry Hunt) on 16th August 1819.  He was a part of a Hulton dynasty (all the male heirs were called William except one, Henry Hulton 1665-1737).

He appears briefly in Mike Leigh’s film of Peterloo, accurately cast according to a contemporary picture as a tall young man with sideburns. The Guardian which was founded as a direct result of Peterloo spent decades labelling him a ‘foolish country squire’. They were too kind.

Hulton was a Tory before anything like the modern Tory Party existed. His mother owned a horse called ‘Church and King’. After the 1832 Reform Act when the Tories did need to organise politically Hulton was one of the founders of the South East Lancashire Conservative Association. He was often touted as a potential Tory MP but never stood for Parliament. There was a problem. Every time he appeared in public at an election the crowd shouted him down with cries of ‘Peterloo’.

The Hulton Estate was for many centuries farming land- 325 acres of it- (and remained so) but during the industrial revolution coal mining developed as a major industrial interest. After Hulton’s death the mines were transferred to the Hulton Colliery Ltd in 1868. Despite a well-known mining disaster in 1910 that killed 344 people by 1947 the Hulton mines were the most significant in Lancashire. At that point they were nationalised.

In addition thanks to coal mining the Hulton Estate had some of the earliest railway tracks in the country with George Stephenson building a rail link to Bolton in 1826.

There was a family home, Hulton Hall, rebuilt on several occasions.

It however no longer stands and the last Hulton, Sir Geoffrey, died in the 1990s according to the BBC.

The Estate was put up for sale in 2010 at a price of £8.5m and bought by property developers.

It is interesting to reflect on what happened to one of the great Tory dynasties in the north of England, undermined as it were, by the 1945-50 Labour Government’s nationalisation of the mines and ending altogether as Mrs Thatcher and John Major were in Office.

The Hulton’s who made their money out of coal mining were ultimately done for by working people voting for a Labour Government in 1945. The impact of the demand for the vote at Peterloo on 16th August 1819 took a long time to have effect on the family of the man who sent the Yeomanry into disperse peaceful protesters, but the impact when it came was decisive.

This post appeared in the Morning Star, 12th November 2018


Cloudwater return to cask: let a thousand beer delivery methods bloom

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2018 by kmflett

Cloudwater returns to cask beer

Cloudwater cask beer last time around

I’m pleased to see that Cloudwater is returning to cask beer on a controlled basis. My thoughts on their earlier decision, almost 2 years ago to stop cask production are below (slightly edited to avoid any confusion that might be caused by someone reading them as if they are of the moment).

I’m pleased of course because I like cask beer, as well as being a regular drinker of craft keg. I thought that while Cloudwater was focused on producing strong beers such as DIPAs a decision to focus on keg probably made sense. Their range now is wider and more diverse and while I wouldn’t say that some of their beers weighing at 6% or under don’t work on keg the thought has occurred that might well work just as well or better or cask and stood a good chance of getting sold in the short window that cask beer on the bar has for peak condition.

The return to cask might also mean that a wider layer of drinkers try excellent Cloudwater beers and perhaps even then give some a go on keg. Let a thousand beer delivery methods bloom…

Cloudwater on their decision to return to cask


The blog post from Cloudwater on where they’ve been in 2016 and where they hope to go in 2017 made fascinating reading:

It also attracted a lot of social media comment.

The post covered what beer styles Cloudwater planned to focus on, concerns about off flavours in beer, where the beer market in general is headed and a good deal else. Much of the comment was however focused on the decision to stop producing cask in 2017.

I had Cloudwater cask beers on numbers of occasions and enjoyed them. I agreed with the blog though that their better-known beers (including the DIPA range) are not usually on cask. For start pubs that can sell a cask of a 9% beer in 5 days or less are limited.

There is also without doubt an issue about point of sale drinkability for cask. To get a pint of cask in tip-top condition, the pinnacle of the brewer’s art (as the Cloudwater blog notes) is just too rare at the moment.

The blog argued that well-made cask beer is priced too cheaply in the market meaning that profit margins are low to non-existent. Again as I’ve posted elsewhere undercutting on price (and usually quality) is a persistent feature of market economies and has been since Victorian times. It is to be deplored but in order to actually stop it a revolution is required. Another time perhaps.

I agree too that chains like Wetherspoons squeeze breweries on price so they can sell cheaply (often too cheaply). This is not the fault of CAMRA, despite some ill-considered social media posts suggesting that it is. It’s true CAMRA has focused on beer prices and frankly if you are on Job Seekers Allowance, the State Pension or the Minimum Wage you might be able to understand why. Paying £5 or more for a pint is not possible on such a low income. I don’t think anyone has yet started a campaign focused to argue that the less well-off should not be able to drink beer though I suspect it has crossed the mind of Iain Duncan Smith.

It’s not the job of Cloudwater to solve this issue, they have a business to run and if it isn’t successful discussion about how their beers should be served will be academic.

Generally I think paying more for well-made cask is acceptable at the same time as looking at whether or not mass produced cask beers like Doom Bar really do have secondary fermentation of any note in the cask or are just churned out at a certain market price point.

So what was my issue with Cloudwater stopping cask? It was that one of the UK’s best breweries could disappear from visibility for many drinkers, just, as for example, Camden has. Cask is the majority of the beer market in the UK (being pressed hard by the likes of John Smith’s Smooth- a big seller in Wetherspoons) and in many locations craft keg beers hardly exist in pubs. That is changing and the world might look different in 5 years time.

Meantime if a brewery does not produce cask which appears on bar tops in pubs in that form its beers are out of sight and out of mind for many beer drinkers.

The balance between cask and keg production for regional brewers like Adnams and Fullers may well change (if they find the market is there).

So there is a wider point about market impact in continuing to do some cask. I note that Cloudwater have tweeted that they might consider doing cask in their tap room as it develops. Good. That seems to me a prudent approach.

The Cloudwater blog makes clear that they hope what they say will help cask to find a way forward and at the craft keg/cask debate at Indyman in 2016 Jenn Merrick then of Beavertown was clear that she thought at some point cask would find that way.

I think there is a real danger that ‘interesting’ beers will migrate to keg only leaving the perfectly Ok but perhaps a little dull in cask. I dont drink that much beer in pint measures (and it would nearly always be cask) but I know from drinking (on occasion) with union colleagues that they prefer, as many do, to drink pints. Pints that is of quite low strength beer that does not challenge their taste buds or is slightly different each time they try it. A poverty of ambition in my view to which they invariably respond examining my extra hoppy half pint- ‘how strong?’ There is a whole drinking culture there and not one that should be left to Greene King ipa and Doom Bar.

Thanks to Megan Davies (@megfdavies) who I discussed the original post with. As usual I take complete responsibility for my own comments


Mike Leigh’s Peterloo confounds some critics as it becomes Box Office

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2018 by kmflett

Peterloo confounds some critics as it becomes Box Office

Mike Leigh’s 154 minute-long film of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 has been slated by some critics as both overlong and too focused on what they see as a ‘boring’ speeches. In a pleasing blow for those who think that people are interested in history and don’t necessarily have very short attention spans figures show that on the first weekend of its release Peterloo was Box Office.

Not quite Bohemian Rhapsody, if only Henry Hunt, could have got his speech at Peterloo into a three minute tune, but still popular enough to make the top ten.

The indie alternative: Peterloo

Landing just inside the Top 10 is Peterloo. Mike Leigh’s historical drama began with a decent £286,000 from 137 cinemas (£349,000 including previews). Site average is above £2,000. Peterloo seems to be doing particularly well in the north of England – for example, at Manchester’s HOME cinema.

Comparisons with Leigh’s previous film Mr Turner are inevitable, although a film about the violent suppression of a pro-democracy protest was always going to struggle to match the appeal of his biopic of one of Britain’s most celebrated artists. Mr Turner began in October 2014 with £881,000 from 129 cinemas (£905,000 including previews). Final tally was a healthy £7.01m.


Top 10 films, 2-4 November

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody, £5,750,267 from 681 sites. Total: £20,427,866 (two weeks)
  2. A Star Is Born, £1,821,004 from 609 sites. Total: £22,929,874 (five weeks)
  3. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms £1,733,235 from 576 sites (new)
  4. Smallfoot, £1,145,377 from 593 sites. Total: £10,174,311 (four weeks)
  5. Johnny English Strikes Again, £1,041,622 from 523 sites. Total: £16,379,395 (five weeks)
  6. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, £867,848 from 526 sites. Total: £7,109,456 (three weeks)
  7. Halloween, £790,143 from 497 sites. Total: £8,171,544 (three weeks)
  8. Venom, £509,204 from 366 sites. Total: £19,532,938 (five weeks)
  9. Slaughterhouse Rulez, £397,792 from 379 sites (new)
  10. Peterloo, £348,697 from 138 sites (new)

Source: The Guardian


The Ambridge Socialist: Whining into Christmas with Roy Tucker

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2018 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

65 Years of the class struggle in Ambridge

November 11th


New landlord of The Bull, Joe Grundy

Whining into Christmas with Roy Tucker

Lexi is back and with Lexi inevitably comes Roy Tucker. He has already turned the whining up to 11 and we can expect a full-scale onslaught of his numerous gripes between now and Xmas. Its almost enough to make you hope for more coverage of Lynda’s Xmas production. Almost

The Ambridge Socialist poll

Lower Loxley in crisis

Geraldine has become the latest person to have had enough of Elizabeth and has resigned. However as it appears that Joe Grundy wont be being picked up as Xmas barperson at The Bull he should be available to do the job

A new ruling class generation in Ambridge

Recent episodes of the Archers have featured Brian Aldridge’s son Ruairi and the latest product of the Archers dynasty Ben. Ben and Ruiari were illegally driving on the road last week (a matter for the police one might think but, you know, PC Burns). Ruairi has of course been let off by Brian while Ben, after one of David Archer’s sermons has been put in charge of a new Brookfield farm dog, Bess. If action isn’t taken soon we’ll be hearing from these two for decades.

Josh to clear out the Brookfield barn again

David Archer knows Josh hasn’t cleared out the Brookfield barn properly because for a start he hasn’t taken out the remains of 25 badgers that Archer illegally killed and stored there

In Other News

Tony has queried in a response to Natasha whether farming is in fact a business

Neil has still got a bad back