Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


To the barricades?

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2016 by kmflett



I was pleased to host Katrina Navickas at the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research on 8th February (the seminar was podcast and will appear on the IHR site in due course).

Ms Navickas talked to her recently published book on the politics of space in nineteenth century England.

Below is an extract from my edited volume, A History of Riots (CSP 2015) that touches briefly on one of the areas raised at the seminar. That is how people fought for control of their local area against the State. It may be that such battles were a throwback to a pre-industrial past, except of course, that barricades remain very much in use. In addition if this is an outdated form of resistance then what alternative models are available? Perhaps the occupation of factories, as in Italy in the early 1920s, is one?

In any case the book raises many interesting points for discussion and further research

In his book The Insurgent Barricade,  primarily about nineteenth century France, Mark Traugott has a chapter titled “The Barricade Conquers Europe” In the introductory paragraphs Traugott makes it clear that while much of mainland Europe did see barricades in 1848, England, the most heavily industrialised country, did not, and neither did Russia, the least heavily industrialised.

Traugott is not quite up with the 1848 political geography of the British Isles but does note that there were barricades (briefly) in Ireland during the Year of Revolutions. He argues that their absence on the British mainland was due to the possibility that the Chartists felt there might be a chance of achieving political change through reform rather than revolution.

No doubt some did, but as David Goodway has argued, London radical politics in particular was the heir to a revolutionary conspiratorial tradition which saw its last significant presence in 1848. Those who plotted a revolutionary uprising in central London in August 1848, as we have seen, did indeed have a plan to barricade much of central London against troops.

Earlier in the year, in late May and early June, Bradford may also have intended an armed rising, and John Saville notes drilling and organising of Chartists to this possible end.

Barricades, of course, might be used as much for revolts or revolutionary uprisings as riots, and there is something about the mobility of many riots that works against the idea of a barricade. The “mob” passes through and passes on in many instances. However, there are equally many occasions when riots have included barricades, often to protect areas and keep the forces of authority out. Free Derry in Northern Ireland is an excellent example of this in the post-1945 period.


Jeremy Corbyn ahead of Idris Elba in ‘My Hairy Valentine’ poll with just hours left to vote

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2016 by kmflett


Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE            11th February

Contact Keith Flett      07803 167266



The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with just hours left to vote in its annual hunt for the sexiest beard, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is well ahead of actor Idris Elba.

The poll closes at midnight on Friday with the winner of the annual My Hairy Valentine Award announced on Valentine’s Day 14th February

The BLF says that contrary to pogonophobic mythology many beards are soft, sexy and deeply mysterious.

Previous winners of My Hairy Valentine have included actor George Clooney, who is currently clean shaven, Conservative blogger and journalist Tim Montgomerie, and rugby player Geoff Parling.

The BLF says that whether a beard is sexy or not is in the eye of the beholder but the Award is focused on beards in the public eye, whether celebrities, politicians, musicians or sports stars.

The 2016 list covers a diverse range of people and beards, with a considerable churn from the 2015 list.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, after Bernie Sanders victory in the New Hampshire primary we know that it is a time of political surprises, so it could be that Jeremy Corbyn is on track to be voted the sexiest beard wearer of the year

My Hairy Valentine: nominations

David Beckham, sportsman

Peter Capaldi, Dr Who

Jeremy Corbyn, politician

Idris Elba, actor

Prince Harry, Royal personage

Paul Hollywood, Bake Off

Tom Jones, singer

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC manager

Joe Ledley, footballer

Andy Murray, tennis player

Robbie Savage, pundit

Frank Turner, musician

Notes for Editors

◾On 14th February the BLF announces the winner of the My Hairy Valentine award, the annual contest for the sexiest beard wearer.

◾ On Easter Saturday March 26th the BLF announces the winner of its Beard of Spring 2016 Award, the second of its four quarterly awards

◾ Beard Week 2016 a celebration of the hirsute runs from Monday June 27th


Hirsute urge: give up shaving for Lent

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE            10th February

Contact Keith Flett      07803 167266


Embedded image permalink

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with Lent starting on 10th February it is the ideal opportunity for people to give up shaving

The BLF says that a beard grown between now and March 24th, Easter, can add significantly to the diversity of British life.

The Lent beard is a long religious tradition which in recent times has crossed over into secular fashion as well.

The BLF is not religious though it respects those who grow Lent beards for that reason. However the pre-Easter beard also has a place in British folk custom, with the facial hair representing the new growth of Spring to come.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said it is the best time of year to grow a beard as Spring blossoms so do beards. It is time to revolt into style and grow an organic beard for Lent. I personally will not be shaving during Lent, or pruning my beard in that period

Notes for Editors

On February 14th the BLF announces My Hairy Valentine, the sexiest beard

On March 1st the Beard of Wales 2015 is announced


Haringey trade unionists bring solidarity to junior doctors

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2016 by kmflett

Haringey Trades Union Council

Press Release 10th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266;


Embedded image permalink

Ceri Williams

Haringey Trades Union Council brought solidarity to striking junior doctors, members of the BMA, at St Ann’s hospital in Tottenham today. They were joined by community campaigners and by a local café owner who brought pickets hot drinks

 Action like that taken by junior doctors might become more difficult under the Government’s Trade Union Bill currently in Parliament and Haringey TUC, together with Tottenham Labour Party and Tottenham MP David Lammy are holding a rally against the Bill as part of the TUC’s Heart Unions Week. It will meet by the market stalls in Tottenham High Rd N17 at 11am on Saturday

The trade unionists say that the junior doctors are taking action as a last resort not only to protect their own working conditions but also to protect an NHS that works to serve ordinary people

Haringey TUC Secretary Keith Flett said, no one likes taking strike action and perhaps particularly dedicated professionals like junior doctors but when faced with the intransigence of a Health Secretary like Jeremy Hunt, they have no choice. Hopefully the public support for today’s action will lead to an agreement that will protect the NHS, even if it does spell the end of his career.







Fire festival underlines potential for craft beer

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2016 by kmflett

Firefest underlines potential for craft beer


An industrial estate on the outskirts of Caerphilly your idea of a good night out on a wet Saturday in February? No, mine neither.

But preconceptions are meant to be challenged and so with partner Megan I made my way last Saturday to the annual Fire Festival at Celt Brewery in Caerphilly.

It probably helps for those of a certain age that there is a Premier Inn within easy walking distance (yet again unaccountably there was no sign of Lenny Henry) so there is no need to worry about how to get home (though coaches are laid on) or needing to arrive or leave at specific times.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Caerphilly is not exactly a name that springs to mind when craft beer is mentioned (or cheese either sadly. Proper Caerphilly is still made but not in the town that gave it its name).

Of course Celt have gone some way to challenging that both by producing a standard range of very drinkable beers (for example Silures their session ipa is good and widely available)- an important basis for any decent brewery- but also by brewing a range of other beers including sours and fruit beers.

Those beers may not always come off, or be to my taste, but they are certainly always worth a try and sometimes very good indeed.

The Fire Festival coincides with a Pagan calendar celebration of the first signs of the coming of Spring. Given that storm Imogen followed on, I’m not quite sure, that this was right, but the idea is a good one anyway.

So the warehouse and adjacent space at Celt were given over to brewing demonstrations, talks, a fire-eater  and what the judiciary sometimes refer to as repetitive beats. It was busy and not just with beard wearers from North London like myself. There is clearly a lot of local interest (and it was bigged up on local radio) and that is an important bottom line.

There was of course beer and interesting and well-chosen it was. Breweries included Northern Monk, Chorlton, Crafty Devil, Waen and Wiper and True. It was mostly keg with some cask beer (fair enough for a one night event) and it was served in halves.

It was also a good mixture of the strong and the session in terms of strength unlike the forthcoming commercial beerfest I noted advertising ‘more 6% plus beers than ever before’, as if simply drinking to oblivion was the order of the day.

South Wales is still overwhelmingly a pint drinking culture so the serving measure and range of strengths were important thing in themselves.

And there was of course food both from the excellent, hirsute, Charcutier (the chorizo hotpot was excellent) and the increasingly well regarded Dusty Knuckle Pizza.

Frankly if this event was held in Hackney you’d see coverage of it in the national media. As it is, word has to be spread in other ways and formats. Perhaps that is no bad thing.



Heart Unions with David Lammy, Tottenham Labour & Haringey TUC 13th Feb 11am

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2016 by kmflett

MP will be joining & the Haringey TUC on Sat morning to show our support to Trade Unions

This week (8-14) has been badged as ‘Heart Unions’ week by the TUC in a campaigning effort to oppose the Government’s Trade Union Bill, which is being debated again in the House of Lords this week.

A leaked Government letter has revealed that the Tories are having significant second thoughts on the Bill (but not anywhere near enough of them) so campaigning against it is very much worth while.

This Saturday 13th February join David Lammy MP, Tottenham Labour Party and Haringey TUC to show local support for trade unions and the work they do to support and defend working people.

We’ll be outside Santander in Tottenham High Rd (by the market stalls,near Bruce Grove BR) from 11am.

Bring yourself, bring a placard, bring a banner.

Defend our Unions


Superbowl is all about beards: but which side has the best beards?

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE  7th February

Contact Keith Flett      07803 167266

Superbowl is all about beards says Beard Liberation Front


The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with the 2016 Superbowl final set to take place beards or lack of them could again play an important role in the outcome.

The Red Sox have been famous for wearing beards but the two teams in this year’s game, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos a bit less so.

Beards in various forms are central to Superbowl culture. Panthers Linebacker Ben Jacobs grows a beard believing it brings luck and typically shaves it after the game.

In a late January games the Denver Beer Co bet their beards against Boston brewery Sam Adams over an NFL game and won, keeping their follicles.

The Broncos meanwhile market a beanie hat complete with beards

The campaigners say that the role of beards in Superbowl is not well understood as it is not obvious how they can directly influence play. However not only is a beard totemic- designed to both impress and distract the opposing side, it may also be a lucky emblem.

Organiser Keith Flett said We expect beards to be a big influence in the Super bowl final, and we confess to be being a good deal more knowledgeable about facial hair than about some of the finer points of the game.

The Beard Liberation Front announces My Hairy Valentine, the sexiest beard on 14th February




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