Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


England start summer Test series with beard advantage for first time since 1970s

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 20th May

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266



The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the England cricket team have started an English summer Test series with a beard advantage for the first time since the 1970s.

While their opponents at Leeds, Sri Lanka, are one of the more hirsute sides in world cricket, England still start with a beard advantage, led by the award winning beard of Moeen Ali

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, the era when England stood for clean shaven cricket is gone. The England team have come to understand the importance of beard power.





Haringey TUC: The EU Referendum, In or Out, what is best for workplace rights, 31st May

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by kmflett

Haringey Trades Union Council

Contact (Secretary) Keith Flett 07803 167266

The EU Referendum, In or Out, what is best for workers & workplace rights?


Tuesday May 31st 7pm

St. John Vianney Hall, West Green Rd, Tottenham N15

Speakers include:

John Hilary, Director, War on Want

Joseph Choonara, author The EU A Left Case for Exit

Free entry, all welcome



Revisiting the 1926 General Strike

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by kmflett

1926 General Strike at 90: some outstanding issues


The 1926 General Strike took place from 4-13th May 1926. The miners lock-out which it was meant to be the central act of went on for much longer until the end of November 1926.

The British Worker, the TUC paper during the dispute did not stop publishing until May 17th 1926

It was not the only General Strike in UK history by any means. There was one in 1842 sometimes called condescendingly the ‘plug plot’ and from the 1970s onwards there have been a number of, in effect, one day national strikes on a range of issues. Given the size of the modern workforce numbers involved in these have often been equal to or larger than those who took action in 1926.

It might be questioned whether after 90 years there is much new to say about the General Strike and the general parameters of events over the 9 days are well known enough.

However the detail of what took place during the strike covers a vast range of written and photographic material some of which has only in very recent times being made accessible digitally on the internet.

For example, the MCC issued a call for cricket matches to continue as normal during the strike but one at Lords between Middlesex and Oxford University was cancelled. No doubt the Oxford students were engaged in the, to them, alternative sport of strike breaking.

Local studies have provided more details (but far from all areas are covered) and the miners lock-out remains relatively under researched as does the aftermath of the strike and the impact that it had on unions, politics and labour relations for decades to come.


Arthur Scargill for example became active in the labour movement when memories of 1926 were still relatively fresh in the 1950s and saw the victorious 1972 miner’s strike in the context of the defeat of 1926.

The wider and partly theoretical question about why there has not been an open ended General Strike in Britain since, when such events are far from unknown across the rest of the world, is also one which merits further attention.

When one looks at the detail of the strike it is possible to see many of the tensions that still exist in the labour movement today.

For example the strike meant that newspapers were not published and the only news available was through radio news broadcasts from the BBC. Then as now these reflected official Government views.

The only exception to this, no surprise to Star readers, was the Daily Mail which published a ‘continental’ edition, printed in Paris.

The Government itself produced an official paper and this was countered by the TUC’s British Worker.


The British Worker was produced from the Daily Herald’s offices in Blackfriars Rd and edited by the Herald’s then editor.

It was still published for some days after the official end of the strike on 13th May and by that stage it had reached an impressive circulation of 700,000 copies.

However distribution across the UK was uneven and poor in Scotland.

Plans were put in place to produce regional editions of the British Worker for two reasons. Firstly to address the matter of coverage. Secondly to allow local reports of strike activities which might otherwise be missed.

The nine days of the Strike were a time of considerable, often ill-founded rumours, often spread by authorities and reactionary elements.

The concern however was that regional strike papers might go beyond the official TUC ‘line’. In addition in some areas, such as Swansea, striking print workers were against the idea.

The strike was called off before these matters of official control, solidarity and so on could be resolved but the same issues would undoubtedly appear again now.

The London Socialist Historians Group has organised an afternoon of discussion on new historical research into the 1926 General Strike on Saturday 21st May  from midday in the Pollard Room (301) Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1. Admission is free




All Our Yesterdays: Punk 1976-78 at the British Library

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2016 by kmflett

Punk 1976-78: British Library exhibition


There has been criticism of some events designed to mark the 40th anniversary of punk (turning rebellion into money and so on) but that can’t be levelled at the just opened British Library exhibition. It’s free. More over given that the Library holds not just books but the national sound archive,the exhibition combining pictures, records you can listen to on headphones and video clips is particularly appropriate to the venue.

I do remember the 1970s and punk. I had a beard even then but as an Anti-Nazi League activist (I still have the steel toe capped Doc Martens but I use them rarely these days) I was well aware of the wider currents sparked by punk and saw a good number of the bands live.

The BL exhibition is particularly focused on the origins of punk from early 1976 (remember the Damned’s New Rose? I spent much of the second half of the 1970s occupying the premises of the College where I did my first degree. I rarely attended lectures (I got a 2:1 degree) but we did listen to the Damned and the Ramones in the occupations. There was also a local punk band headed up by a youthful anti-racist Rod Liddle….)

The exhibition is obviously focused around on what archival material the Library has and so the Sex Pistols feature more than some others. There is a video of the Bill Grundy TV interview and so on.

Of course I’d like more politics and while there is a nod to Rock Against Racism and the ANL it really should have mentioned the efforts of the far right to link with punk. I well remember the Sham 69 gig in London where London dockers were drafted in to eject Nazis in the audience. They were exciting and rather scary moments and the exhibition doesn’t (and possibly never could) capture that edge of punk that spelt danger that might lead who knows where.

Still why not stop by and see yourself

If you are eager to consume there is a pop-up shop but this being the British Library its not in the same location in the building as the exhibition. They really are interested in just looking at what took place as a public service.



Tottenham tops League Table

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2016 by kmflett

Haringey Trades Union Council

Press release 18th May contact Secretary, Keith Flett 07803 167266

Tottenham tops League Table


London jobless April 2016: source Nomis

Haringey Trades Council has said that employment figures for April 2016 released today show that Tottenham topped the League Table last month.

Before Spurs fans get too excited however the League Table in question was the London Jobless League which Tottenham has consistently topped since the current Government first came to Office in 2010.

The numbers without work in the Tottenham Parliamentary Constituency rose from 3,090 to 3,140 in April.

This represented the highest figure in London and the 3.2% unemployment rate was getting on for double the overall London rate of 1.8%

Haringey TUC Secretary Keith Flett said, the human cost of unemployment in the area being well above average is considerable. There is dignity in labour and a good deal of misery particularly under the present Government’s welfare policies without it.

He continued, we know the Council is taking what steps it can to create new jobs in the area, mixed with ideological Government austerity measures leading to fewer public sector jobs. The reality is however that until the Chancellor changes his economic ways the situation is not going to improve anywhere near quickly enough.








Historians say Boris Johnson’s history should not be taken too seriously

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2016 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

Media Release 18th May

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Historians say Boris Johnson’s history should not be taken too seriously.


The London Socialist Historians Group which organises the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London, has said that the claim of Chris Grayling that Boris Johnson is an ‘historian’, made on the Radio 4 Today programme on 18th May, should not be taken too seriously.

The comments under discussion relate to a suggestion by the former London Mayor that Hitler had some interest in creating a European super-state that might have had similarities with some aspects of the EU.

The historians say that Boris Johnson has written a number of volumes of popular history and that he is certainly a master of what is known as the ‘grand narrative’, a sweeping overview of events.

However Johnson is not a detail man, and certainly not someone to be found researching away in archives to establish a particular point at issue.

For example a Guardian review by Ian Jack of Johnson’s recent biography of Churchill (10.12.14) noted that ‘Johnson’s writing is all of a piece with his public persona: bright and breezy and unabashed.’

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett said, History needs its popularisers and Boris Johnson can certainly do that. But history is also about detailed research to establish, as far as possible, what actually happened in the past. That depends to some extent on what research questions are asked, but Johnson is not the man to look to for a complex and nuanced view of history.



Important beard related recipes may be lost in BBC purge

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266


The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has raised concerns that with the BBC set to purge its website of recipes on the orders of clean shaven suit wearer John Whittingdale a whole genre of hirsute cooking may be lost forever.

The art of hirsute cooking requires specific skills exhibited for instance by the late Clement Freud.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we hope the BBC thinks again about its plans to delete its recipe database. It must not give in to clean shaven Philistines like Whittingdale

1] Make sure the beard is ready to cook. This may require marination in beer or wine.
2] Select your ingredients and bless them by moving the beard across them
3] Cook your ingredients while stroking the beard thoughtfully
4] Marinate the beard as at 1 from time to time while the cooking process continues
5] When the food is done, discard any beard unfriendly elements and enjoy!


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