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Chelsea Flower show: campaigners back Corbyn on allotments

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2016 by kmflett

The Socialist Gardener

Press Release        23rd May contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

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CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: WE BACK CORBYN ON ALLOTMENTS

The Socialist Gardener, the occasional organ of socialist gardeners, has urged people to avoid the Chelsea Flower Show, describing it as tending too much towards a celebration of gardening for the wealthy rather than developing interest in matters horticultural.

Instead it suggests instead that people focus on allotments, and growing their own vegetables as a practical way to overcome austerity

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party has provoked new interest in allotments as the Labour leader has long had one in North London.

While the Chelsea Flower Show raises money for charity and showcases some important developments in horticulture, the campaigners say that it remains to a significant degree part of the London social season for the haves rather than the have nots.

The campaigners say the fact that Rupert Murdoch attending the pre-opening events on Monday underlines the point

Editor of the Socialist Gardener Keith Flett said, ‘The RHS does useful work around the UK but at Chelsea gardening can be a way for those who still have any money after 5 years of austerity to show off. A day ticket for an ordinary member of the public now costs £100.

He continued, meanwhile public parks are being neglected and spending on them drastically cut back. It’s time for a move towards people’s gardening. We say tax the rich gardeners and use the money for parks and allotments.

The 2016 Manifesto for a Socialist Garden

We demand that the Government shows it is really a ‘one nation’ administration and launches a massive programme of investment in public parks and provision for allotments so that all may enjoy the pleasure of gardens and gardening

We believe in the right to roam over the gardens of the rich

We support the nationalisation of the land and the creation of public parks and gardens as a matter of priority

We believe that real gardeners should eschew the use of garden centres. If you need a new plant, simply liberate it from the garden of a wealthy neighbour.

We support the hop family as the ultimate in grass roots garden plants

Articles

Political Leadership in the labour movement: a homage to the provinces

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2016 by kmflett

Political Leadership in the labour movement: a homage to the provinces

essays

It might well be that politics would run a bit better if politicians thrust into the Whitehall limelight had previous experience of running something (Editorial, 21 May). New Labour might well have understood better how to actually change things if Tony Blair had run a city administration beforehand, for example. EP Thompson, in his essay Homage to Tom Maguire, made the point that the labour movement in the later 19th century was built precisely not in London trade union HQs but in those “shadowy parts” known as the provinces where leaders had to prove themselves in practice to win support and power.

Keith Flett

London

The Guardian 23rd May 2016

The left, wondering when it might next be in Office in central London has taken, not for the first time in the last 125 years or so, to wondering whether regional power bases might be a better way forward. Andy Burnham has announced his decision to run for Mayor of Manchester. Sadiq Khan has a won a huge mandate as London Mayor and Marvin Rees has done the same. In Wales Labour continues to run the Welsh Government as a minority administration.

All these positions provide real power with the chance to do things that (one hopes) can make life a little bit better for ordinary people. Not, unfortunately, revolutionary stuff but important.

Scale that up to Westminster and it all gets a lot bigger and a lot harder. If you’ve never had any experience of how to change things even a little bit, how it is done, and what obstacles there are, it can be difficult.

This is my point about Blair and New Labour above. One wonders if Blair had had regional experience he might have persisted more effectively with his domestic agenda rather getting frustrated and then distracted by launching wars abroad.

The point about where power in the labour movement has been historically was made by EP Thompson in his 1960 essay Homage to Tom Maguire. Maguire was an ILP activist who died too young.

It appeared in Essays in Labour History, but is quite difficult to come by now (it was recently reprinted in the collection EP Thompson and the Making of the New Left edited by Cal Winslow).

Thompson makes the point that ‘provincial events are seen as shadowy incidents or unaccountable spontaneous upheavals on the periphery of the national scene’. But, Thompson counters ‘the ILP  grew from the bottom up, its origins were in the shadowy parts known as ‘the provinces’.

Thompson was no huge fan of London, but argued that from the 1950s it had irreversibly won out over the provinces in terms of political power. Recent events underline that this was wrong, Thompson the political activist had fed back into Thompson the historian on the point.

Moreover since 1960 there is an argument that what is known as the ‘Westminster bubble’ means that parts of London itself are now seen as ‘provincial’. The quite regular pieces looking at what goes on in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North or Tottenham where I’m writing this underline the point

 

 

Articles

The Ambridge Socialist: What should Helen Archer’s baby be called?

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2016 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

22nd May

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Helen Archer is in prison giving birth to a new baby.

The father is control freak Robert Titchener who will attempt to claim naming rights for the baby.

The world is not so simple. Not only can, in due course, the child call themselves what they like but there is no reason why we should pay any attention to the name assigned to the new baby by the marital rapist Titchener.

What should Helen’s new baby be called (it is is believed to be male)

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The Ambridge Socialist: Solidarity with Helen

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2016 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist 22nd May

CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266 the real Borsetshire Echo: 65 years of class struggle in Ambridge

92 year old shows solidarity with Helen

peggy

92 year old Peggoy Woolley has travelled with Tony Archer to be visit Helen in the mother and baby unit she has been moved to. Pat Archer havered over the matter and failed to fully confront Inspector Knacker over their backward (for Borsetshire) attitudes on the question. Peggy by contrast has offered solidarity to Helen for as long as she lives (which wont be long if Titchener is involved).

Should Michael Gove be banned from listening to the Archers?

The Ambridge Socialist has raised concerns that Justice Secretary Michael Gove is trying to undermine the newly found popularity of the Archers by telling the Radio Times that it is ‘essential listening’ in the Gove household.

Gove’s apparent interest lies in gender based justice and how the prison system treats women with babies or small children. In reality it may well be that he is planning to offer Rob Titchener a key post in the justice system.

Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett said, it would obviously be difficult to ban Gove from listening to the Archers, and alternative measures may need to be used to make him stop listening.

In Ambridge Socialist poll 75% back the idea of Gove opening the Ambridge fete

In other news

An elfish toilet has been spotted but Brian Aldridge is concerned about the proliferation of elf monuments in Ambridge

Eddie’s mushroom compost has made Lynda Snell’s hayfever worse

 

Articles

The 1926 General Strike: why should we remember it 90 years on?

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2016 by kmflett

The 1926 General Strike at 90> report on discussion at the Institute of Historical Research

humanite

The London Socialist Historians held an event at the Institute of Historical Research on 21st May to recall and review the 1926 General Strike.

My thanks to Ian Birchall and Daryl Leeworthy for papers and to Sue Bruley for commenting on them and raising important historiographical points about recent research.

A tweet from Daryl Leeworthy perhaps summed up matters:

Really tired but such a great day of socialism, feminism, and labour history. Am very privileged to be part of keeping the tradition alive!

Individual papers will be no doubt be posted elsewhere but I will summarise some important points.

My brief introduction raised the themes both of how much we don’t know about what impact the General Strike had on everyday life even 90 years on, and how much more material thanks to the internet and digitisation is now available.

I also reprised my, as yet, brief research on cricket and the General Strike. The point to be taken here is that although the matter is of some interest there is nothing published on it.

Ian Birchall’s paper on how the General Strike was viewed in France, particularly by L’Humanite and other left currents, will be on-line shortly. An international perspective to the events of 1926 however, it might be noted, has not been a feature of research published so far.

Daryl Leeworthy looked at the strike in South Wales and the West and introduced important new evidence from diaries both of a trade union official and of a police officer about events during the strike.

Sue Bruley’s commentary reviewed both papers and also made some significant historiographical comments on work by Anne Perkins and Heston Barron. There was also discussion about the late Nina Fishman’s work on Arthur Horner which Daryl Leeworthy is preparing a paperback edition of.

A couple of wider points to take from the day. Firstly that looked at 90 years, the Strike still has interesting lessons about how society might be run and organised if the rule of capital floundered. Secondly, that the impact of the web and digitalisation has provided much further scope for research.

 

 

Articles

cricket & philosophy: the dialectics of Geoffrey Boycott

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2016 by kmflett

Cricket & Philosophy: the dialectics of Geoffrey Boycott

boycottrun

Geoffrey Boycott & Ted Dexter demonstrate the dialectic

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, prejudice against the hirsute, has said that with Test Match Special about to consider the question of cricket and philosophy, the matter need not be a complex and perplexing one.

If we take the dialectical principles outlined by Hegel and turned on their head by Marx and apply them to one of the best known post-1945 England batsmen Geoffrey Boycott it can be seen how philosophy can apply to cricket.

Beard Liberation Front organiser Keith Flett said, probably the best known cricket book to touch on philosophy is CLR James Beyond a Boundary, but a simple dialectic of cricket is a good starting point

 

The dialectics of Geoffrey Boycott

1 Thesis: receive a ball from the bowler and hit it into the outfield

2 Antithesis: call the batsman at the other end for a run

3 Synthesis: realise the run is not, remain in your crease and allow the other batsman to be run out

Articles

Poll: the Best England cricket beard of all time

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

20th May

The Best England cricket beard of all time

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With the start of the summer Test season, and the fielding of the most hirsute England cricket team since the 1970s, the Beard Liberation Front is running a poll for the best England cricket beard of all time.

The BLF has identified three hirsute periods of English cricket:

The Classic, Victorian era. W G Grace is the iconic figure here

The 1970s: the long clean shaven period of English cricket ended with the advent of players like Ian Botham and Mike Gatting, as a new less formal period of cricket etiquette opened up

The modern era from 2000: Beards are becoming an essential part of an England cricketer’s game from Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad to Moeen Ali

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