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Articles

The Ambridge Socialist: the view from Lower Loxley roof…

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2015 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

March 1st CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266

The real Borsetshire Echo: 65 years of class struggle in Ambridge

Will David persuade Ruth to admire the view from Lower Loxley roof?

Ruth Archer would be well advised to take care in the weeks ahead. She may have an accident. In particular she should avoid any suggestion from David Archer to admire the view from the roof of Lower Loxley…..

The real reason why David Archer won’t go

David Archer has decided not to go to Holy Hell or wherever it was the plan was to depart for. Rooth is annoyed (and perhaps a good deal more than that) but the real question is why David has a done a U-Turn. He has claimed to the BBC that it was about the heritage of Brookfield and some rather mystical duty (which he probably read about in the Daily Telegraph) to up hold it.

In reality The Ambridge Socialist suspects that Archer thought that his numerous murders were very likely to be discovered if he was not on the scene to shut those up who might say something. The toy farm clearly had a role in this, but as yet it is unclear why that is linked to the Archer murders

Titchener: what does the future hold? By Peter Budge

I think Caroline will tell Oliver, Oliver will go to ban Rob from the hunt and Rob will lash out at Oliver but graze his knuckles thus providing blood for the DNA test.  However the confusion will cause Oliver to be named as the father of Jess’ child and Caroline will divorce him leaving Ed with nowhere to keep his beef cattle – remember she is Will’s godmother.

The Voiceless of Ambridge by Peter Budge

Pru Forrest has suddenly emerged as Judi Dench – although when a barmaid at The Bull she definitely had a voice.  Who would come in to play those who have never had a voice even if just for one line?  Can I offer Penelope Keith as Jean Harvey and Barbara Windsor as Sabrina Thwaites for starters? Christine seems to have joined the voiceless and she is an Archer!

In Other News

When Kenton returns from Australia will be the same person

Lilian is planning to move in with Brian (and Jennifer)

Titchener has been cut off as Peggy decides to change her will so Helen does not inherit property….

 

Articles

Moeen & Chris Gayle join Beard of Cricket World Cup poll

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

1st March

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Moeen Ali & Chris Gayle join Beard of Cricket World Cup poll

wisden

The Beard Liberation Front has published its second snap poll of the Cricket World Cup and England’s Moeen Ali and West Indies Chris Gayle have both been added for distinctive displays of beard power in the group stage of the competition.

The campaigners say that beards are certain to play an important, perhaps vital, role in the World Cup. But who will have the winning whiskers?

To find the Beard of the World Cup a weekly snap poll is being held for those whose facial hair has had the most impact on the field of play during the 7 day period. A poll to establish the overall winner will run from mid-March.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, there is a long way to go before the final but even in the first weeks beards have had a decisive impact in some games

 

 

Notes

In the beginning was WG Grace but in the twentieth century cricket went to the barbers. So much so that by the early 1960s a major shaving company was sponsoring one day cricket and players deemed insufficiently clean shaven were sometimes sent from the field to sort it out.

In the twenty first century beards in cricket are back from Moeen to Hashim. Its now understood that a beard can have a psychological impact on opponents after Mike Brearley pioneered the point. Beards can also have an aero-dynamic impact on play itself.

Articles

The Times They Are a Changin’- musician & brewer share St David’s Day Beard of Wales title

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release, 28th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

 

The Times They Are A Changin’ -musician & brewer share St David’s Day Beard of Wales title

copestakeSONY DSC

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that after several thousand votes in an on-line poll the result of the Beard of Wales 2015 has been declared a tie between Chris Fox, musician with the R&B band Thee Faction and Toby Copestake, brewer, with the new wave Welsh brewer, Celt Experience based at Llantrisant.

The poll aimed to determine the St David’s Day Beard of Wales, the Welsh beard that offers the most positive national image.

Welsh rugby star Jake Ball was third.

The campaigners say that Images of St David suggest that the Welsh Saint himself had an organic beard

Welsh rugby prop Adam Jones won the Award in 2013, voted for by BLF supporters, just shaving former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Another rugby player Leigh Halfpenny won in 2014.

It is only the third time the Award has been given following the traditional UK Beard of the Year at the end December each year and the BLF says it is a mark of Wales as a modern nation on St David’s Day that beards are now playing an increasingly significant role in national life.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said the fact that a musician and a brewer tied for the award of St David’s Day Beard of Wales shows how the nation is changing. Hipsters may not yet be a major feature of Welsh life but the stereotype of the clean shaven blazer is fading.

 

Beard of Wales 2015 Nominations

Jake Ball, rugby player

Toby Copestake, brewer, Celt Experience

Stephen Crabb, Parliamentarian

Paul Flynn-Parliamentarian

Chris Fox- musician

Leigh Halfpenny, rugby player

Tom Jones- musician

Gruff Rhys- musician

Rowan Williams-former Archbishop

Articles

History conference to mark 70th anniversary of May 1945 Election poses question: will tectonic plates move again this year?

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2015 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

Press release 28th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

History conference to mark 70th anniversary of May 1945 Election poses question, will tectonic plates move again this year?

The London Socialist Historians Group which convenes the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London has said that a one day event held on Saturday 28th February, looking back at the election of the 1945 Attlee Government in May of that year, posed the key question of whether the tectonic plates of electoral sentiment will move this year as they did then.

Biographer of Attlee, Francis Beckett, argued that there was some similarities between Attlee and Ed Miliband. Neither man seemed to be a particularly impressive politician, but in terms of singularity of purpose and decision making, both stood out.

Ian Birchall focused on the area of the 1945 Labour Government’s foreign policy, comparing it with France for the same time and underlined the colonial and Cold War aspects of the Attlee administration which are often overlooked.

Mike Sheridan looked at a small group of ‘independent’ Labour MPs after 1945 who had opposed Attlee from the left, and for example, in some cases voted against the decision to join NATO. Discussion underlined that at the time the Attlee Government was seen as a mainstream one, not radically left-wing.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett said, just as in May 1945 the May 2015 Election will be held in circumstances of austerity. 70 years ago, Electors took a decision for a change of political approach. The question posed by the conference today was whether this will happen again this year and if so how wide reaching the impact might be. For example while it might mean investment in housing and the public sector would foreign policy change?

Papers given

Keith Flett – ‘a History of 1945: Beyond Ken Loach’

Ian Birchall – ‘Exits from Empire: British and French choices in 1945′

Francis Beckett, Biographer – ‘Clement Attlee’

John Newsinger – ‘Labour, the Welfare State and Korea’

Mike Sheridan – ‘The Labour Independent Group’

 

Articles

Musician, brewer & rugby player battle for St David’s Day Beard of Wales title

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2015 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release, 26th February

Contact keith Flett 07803 167266

Musician, brewer & rugby player battle for St David’s Day Beard of Wales title

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with the poll to determine the St David’s Day Beard of Wales,  designed to find the Welsh beard that offers the most positive national image, due to close at 6pm on Saturday, a musician, brewer and rugby player are battling for the coveted title

Chris Fox, musician with Thee Faction, Celt Experience brewer Toby Copestake and rugby star Jake Ball are all in with a chance of winning in the on-line poll

Images of St David suggest that the Welsh Saint himself had an organic beard

Welsh rugby prop Adam Jones won the Award in 2013, voted for by BLF supporters, just shaving former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Another rugby player Leigh Halfpenny won in 2014.

It is only the third time the Award has been given following the traditional UK Beard of the Year at the end December each year and the BLF says it is a mark of Wales as a modern nation on St David’s Day that beards are now playing an increasingly significant role in national life.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said there is heavy polling to determine the Beard of Wales on St David’s Day and that in itself underlines how the nation is changing in terms of image and style.

 

Beard of Wales 2015

Jake Ball, rugby player

 

Toby Copestake, brewer, Celt Experience

 

Stephen Crabb, Parliamentarian

 

Paul Flynn-Parliamentarian

 

Chris Fox- musician

 

Leigh Halfpenny, rugby player

 

Tom Jones- musician

 

Gruff Rhys- musician

 

Rowan Williams-former Archbishop

 

 

 

Articles

Once Again on cash for access, the Chartists & Annual Parliaments

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2015 by kmflett

Cash for Access, the Chartists and Annual Parliaments

The allegations of cash for access against Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw raise the broader issue of how it is that elected representatives can be held accountable for what they get up to.

The original template for this can be in the 1838 People’s Charter, in many ways one of the foundation stones of British democratic practice.

The Six Points of the Charter were:

  1. A vote for every man twenty one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime.
  2. The ballot —to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
  3. No property qualification for members of Parliament—thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor.
  4. Payment of members, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the country.
  5. Equal constituencies securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors,–instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of larger ones.
  6. Annual Parliaments, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelvemonth; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.

(From: http://www.chartists.net/The-six-points.htm)

 

The Six Points were hardly perfect and that is not just with the benefit of historical hindsight.

Hindsight suggests that the exclusion of votes for women was inexcusable but in the context of 1838 it was a strategic not an in principle matter. The Chartists felt that getting adult male suffrage would be tough enough and an important first step to further extensions of the vote. It depends how you want to read British history but there is an argument that they had a point.

The basic democratic demands of the Charter, around the franchise and secret ballot did find a strong political echo.

So strong in fact that all the Six Points became law during the Victorian period with the exception of the demand for Annual Parliaments.

The call for more regularly elected MPs long survived the demise of Chartism around 1860. The Social Democratic Federation was pursuing demands for Parliaments to be elected every two or three years in the 1880s and they continued to be part of the political landscape of radicalism and labour until around World War One.

 

What caused the demand to disappear is less certain. One might speculate that the proclamation of the Labour Party constitution in 1918 represented some kind of settlement in terms of what ideas were now ‘in’ and which were not.

Even so annually elected Parliaments should not be dismissed out of hand.

While objectors frequently note that the cost would be excessive, that it would lead to perpetual electioneering and even more short-termism in political decision making

However many other institutions from large Companies to trade unions held elections on an annual basis for most positions. It is recognised as an important part of democratic accountability

Costs can be controlled, if need by law, and it is not particularly clear that annual elections for Parliament would really make it any more short term in its perspectives and policy making than it already is in most cases.

Given the debates of the later Victorian period perhaps a Parliament elected once every two or three years would be something to look at initially. An alternative would be to have multi-member Parliamentary seats and elect a proportion of MPs every year.

Perhaps it might not work well, but are there many claiming that the existing system of Parliamentary democracy is doing the most effective job possible?

Certainly we may reflect that the Coalition decision in 2010, to move to a fixed 5 year Parliament, while motivated by short term political expediency, has done nothing to improve the accountability of some MPs.

Many others of course, rarely mentioned in the media, work hard on behalf of their constituents. Perhaps they would relish the additional focus of a rather more frequent poll.

 

Articles

Historians to compare 1945 & 2015: Austerity Elections, 70 years apart

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2015 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

Press release 25th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Historians to compare 1945-2015: Austerity General Elections 70 years apart

 

The London Socialist Historians Group which convenes the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London is to hold a one day event on Saturday 28th February, looking back at the election of the 1945 Attlee Government in May of that year.

A particular focus will be how the Attlee Government coped with austere economic circumstances at the end of World War Two and whether there are any pointers for the May 2015 General Election, 70 years on.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett said, the Attlee Government set the template for post war Britain and it is one that still echoes today, for example on the NHS. But perhaps less well known is its record on house building and the development of a foreign policy that despite Suez 1956 still has real significance in terms of a British nuclear deterrent

The conference is at

The Wolfson Room

Institute of Historical Research

Senate House, Malet Street London

WC1E 7HU

Saturday 28 February 2015

From 11.30am

——————————————————————-

Speakers include

Keith Flett – ‘a History of 1945: Beyond Ken Loach’

Ian Birchall – ‘Exits from Empire: British and French choices in 1945′

Francis Beckett, Biographer – ‘Clement Attlee’

John Newsinger – ‘Labour, the Welfare State and Korea’

Mike Sheridan – ‘The Labour Independent Group’

 

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