Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Voting for St David’s Day Beard of Wales drawing to a close

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2017 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release, 26th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Voting for St David’s Day Beard of Wales drawing to a close


The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the St David’s Day Beard of Wales 2017 poll is reaching a conclusion with voting set to end at midday on Tuesday 28th February.

Newport MP Paul Flynn currently heads the field after his high profile leading role on Monday in the Parliamentary debate on the petition to stop a State visit by President Trump

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

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. In 2015 the Award went to Thee Faction musician Chris Fox and in 2016 footballer Joe Ledley

It is only the fifth 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, this could be Paul Flynn’s year but there is still time left to impact on the outcome.

Beard of Wales 2017 Nominations

Jake Ball, rugby player

Illtud Llyr Dunsford, Charcutier

Paul Flynn-Parliamentarian

Chris Fox- musician

Richard Harrington, Y Gwyll actor

Tom Jones- musician

Joe Ledley, footballer

Gruff Rhys- musician


Strauss out of Beard of Six Nations poll

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2017 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

press release 25th February

Contact Keith Flett    07803 167266



The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with what is shaping up to be the most hirsute Six Nations Rugby Championship ever underway, the Beard of the Six Nations poll re-starts on Saturday.

Scotland’s Josh Strauss who was in the lead after the first two rounds of matches is ruled out with injury for the rest of the Six Nations and consequently is out of the poll

The campaigners say that the Beard of the Six Nations is not just about beards in the abstract but also about the impact they make on play.

The impact of beards on the field has meant that even noted pogonophobes such as Clive Woodward who argued in 2013 on the BBC that he wouldn’t select players with beards, are now marginal voices.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Josh Strauss symbolises all that is best about beards and rugby but unfortunately he is now out of contention for this year’s Beard of the Six Nations

Beard of Six Nations poll

The poll runs from 11th February with the second group of matches.

Names will be added, where appropriate, of the hirsute players not on the original list who have displayed the most impact and gravitas on the field after each week’s matches.

There will be a final poll of leading Six Nations beards from 18th March

Beard of the Six Nations 2017 List (subject to confirmation that those listed have retained their beard & take the field)

Ball (Wales)

Barclay (Scotland)

Biagi (Italy)

Campagnaro (Italy)

Daly (England)

Dunbar (Scotland)

Halfpenny (Wales)

Jones, A.W. (Wales)

Marler (England)

McLean (Italy)

Nowell (England)

O’Brien (Ireland)

Roberts (Wales)

Russell (Scotland)

Slimani (France)

Venditti (Italy)



The Progressive Coalition & Stoke on Trent Central

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2017 by kmflett


So. Farewell then

There has been considerable discussion in recent times about a ‘progressive coalition’ to defeat the hard right. John Harris put the case well in The Guardian:

Indeed the Green Party stood down in Richmond with the aim of seeing the Tory Zac Goldsmith defeated by the LibDems.

There are all sorts of issues raised here particularly if you are on the left. You can start with who might be ‘progressive’. The LibDems might qualify on social issues but rarely on economic ones. You might go on to consider what such a coalition would be aimed at doing. Harris is focused on Brexit but the bottom line surely would be stopping the rise of a populist right-wing politics in the UK, which at least until now has meant UKIP.

As an extra-Parliamentary socialist, while I understand the importance of the vote and Parliamentary action, I dont see it as the be all and end all of matters. Coalitions outside of the Parliamentary arena, such as Stand Up to Racism or Hope not Hate might well work better in the specific area of combating racism.

All that said the decision of UKIP’s current (as I write anyway)leader the temporarily bearded Nuttall, to stand in the Stoke on Trent By-Election was surely a case if there ever was one for a progressive coalition to defeat the populist right challenge. That would have meant uniting behind the Labour candidate, who as the result made very clear, was the one who could defeat UKIP. The LibDems did not however stand down, Tim Farron visiting the Constituency to big up the LibDem candidate and neither did the Greens.

So for those who do support the idea of a progressive coalition in Parliamentary terms, what future it might be asked? One answer might be that if we had a proportional voting system this might make more sense, but at the moment we dont have..

Stoke on Trent Central result,_2017



Once again in defence of mumbling

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2017 by kmflett

Once Again In Defence of Mumbling


I did not see the programme but I didn’t really need to.

I had already picked up from twitter that many felt there was another issue with mumbling in a BBC programme, this time SS-GB:

Such was the mumbling that it appears the dialogue was hard to understand. There seems to be some suggestion that technical issues with sound quality rather than a cast of mumblers is the cause, (Guardian letters 22nd February)

To be clear, unless the programme is meant to be mumbled, and I sense the balance is that it is not, then it should be audible.

However the discussion seems to have set off a hitherto mostly silent army of mumbling-phobics who think it is always bad. It isn’t.

Those that know me will know that I am veteran mumbler. Why is this? Largely because in private [not in public roles] I am quite a shy person and you mostly won’t hear me bellowing out my thoughts, [although bellow I can if required]. Mostly I speak quietly and sometimes that is inaudible.

Of course I do sometimes actually do this deliberately, in meetings for example.

I once heard the late, and not great, Gerry Healy speaking in public. His voice would drop to a nearly inaudible whisper and then, in the very next utterance, rise to a huge volume. The impact was startling. A good deal more so than the politics.

The social theorist James C Scott has written in Weapons of the Weak that mumbling can be act of resistance.

He has studied peasant societies where ordinary people have little collective power on most occasions and expressing open dissent can be dangerous.

It is here that the mutter really comes in to its own. An oath or semi-audible word can give the appearance of dissent but since it has not been clearly heard it is very difficult for authority to pursue it.

The mutter provides a sense of dissent without a specific form.

It can work well in meetings- though pick your meeting with care. A remark, let’s say a mild piss-take of someone who is talking, which is only half heard can be off-putting and more effective than a heckle. Of course such interventions are not always designed to take the rise out of authority. They can be used in a reactionary way- the muttered sexist or homophobic remark for example.

But with that caution up front, the mutter and muttering should not be simply dismissed. To use Charles Tilly’s framework it is one of a range of tools that can be used to show dissent.

In the words of the song, ‘there’s something happening here, what it is, ain’t exactly clear




After Stoke defeat what is the future for Paul Nuttall’s beard?

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2017 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

24th February

contact Keith Flett 07803 167266


Beyond the serial untruths and hard right-wing policies perhaps the thing that characterised Paul Nuttall’s Stoke By-Election campaign above all was his beard. Previously entirely follicle free Nuttall clearly decided that a beard would add such much needed gravitas. The electors did not agree.

We ask the key question of the day: what is the future for Paul Nuttall’s beard?


Campaigners say it’s time for Paul Nuttall to shave off his beard

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2017 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media release 24th February

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners say it’s time for Paul Nuttall to shave off his beard


it’s go to go says the BLF

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that it is time for Paul Nuttall, the defeated UKIP candidate in Stoke on Trent Central, to shave off his recently grown beard.

The campaigners say that Nuttall grew his beard in recognition that in British politics politicians who are follicly challenged or bald in the vernacular are generally regarded as less electable than those who are hirsute.

However Nuttall brought the hirsute into disrepute during a campaign littered with question marks about the veracity of his CV

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we don’t often say this but now is the time for Paul Nuttall to have a shave.


Craft Beer Rising: is it a beer, is it a brand, is it about beards?

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2017 by kmflett

Craft Beer Rising: is it a beer, is it a brand, is it about beards?


I’m not at CBR17. This is not some ideological boycott. I’m not in London for a few days and given that my professional and personal life is split between London and Cardiff I can’t be in London quite all the time (and anyway being elsewhere than the Metropolis broadens the mind, and the drinking possibilities).

That said I must admit to being increasingly puzzled about what CBR actually is about (my thoughts on my visit last year are below). I accept this is in part a feature of the modern world. Not a week of working life goes by without me having to nail someone down about what exactly it is they are proposing, why I should be involved and how this will in fact help.

I get that CBR is in part a trade event, and that seems to me fine. I also get that it is or at least was, an attempt to get those who’ve heard of craft beer but are not quite sure what it is (just like full time craft beer drinkers then…) and want to give it a try to see if they like it.

No issue with that and if you stand at the bar at any London ‘craft’ bar you’ll hear people not sure about what beer styles etc are all the time. Usually this is resolved by giving them a taste of a beer or two and they decide what they like and drink more.

Given that however what is CBR adding? Well interesting street food, music and so on. In short entertainment. Looked at in that way with decent beer as well, what’s not to like. As I note below however I might, had I been in London this weekend, simply have opted to spend an hour or two in the pub or a brewery taproom and tweak by beard thoughtfully..



I come from a tradition of non-commercial beer festivals (that doesn’t mean festivals that don’t charge to get in) and tend to view commercial events with some suspicion. How beer is selected at non-commercial fests may sometimes lead me to tug my beard vigorously but the thought is always that at a commercial occasion beer is selected because someone is marketing it, hopes to make a profit from it and so on. Nothing wrong with that of course except the market has long provided a mechanism for such an interchange- the pub.

However I did stop by Craft Beer Rising at the Old Truman’s brewery in Brick Lane fairly briefly on Friday afternoon. I wasn’t paying, it was the trade session. Some will know that my trade is union officer but there is a long and not always happy association with beer involved.

I have been sceptical about CBR and I’ve said so. No one can agree on what craft beer is but I’m fairly certain that the glass of Belhaven dry hopped lager I was offered would not meet most people’s criteria. I declined it. There were however a lot of beers (& ciders) on offer and a good few would meet the most stringent definition of craft.

Before touching further on beer however the most important thing about a beer event (as some have come to reflect quite recently). Can you get in and once in, is it possible to feel comfortable enough to remain?

The answer is both cases is yes (though I believe the event is more or less sold out). No space is ideal but CBR has several rooms and a good amount of space to wander with seating. Obviously some bits are busier than others. Getting served at bars was not an issue either.

There was ample provision of food stalls- an important issue at any beer festival and the range of talks overseen by Beard Friendly beer writer of the year Melissa Cole looked interesting- but time pressed unfortunately.

As for the beer, I was pleased to try a sample of Adnams new session ipa, which is indeed good and a Howling Hops small batch Aussie pale. There were of course many others to be tried but my stay was not a long one.

Would I turn up as a paying customer next year? I might well. But beyond that the idea of promoting decent beer to an audience that may not be quite sure what that means looks to be working well here.