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Cricket radio commentary: from TalkSport2 to Test Match Special & the Cricket Social

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2018 by kmflett


Cricket Radio commentary: from TalkSport 2 to Test Match Special and the Cricket Social

As those who listen to ball by ball cricket commentary will know the BBC’s Test Match Special team has lost the rights for the current Sri Lanka v England series to TalkSport2.

I’m ideologically inclined to back TMS as public service broadcasting just as, I note, the Daily Telegraph is ideologically motivated to back TalkSport and criticise TMS (even tho TalkSport has a significant connection to the Murdoch media empire). Still I’m prepared to agree that ideology may not be quite everything.

TMS has by far the bulk of the radio cricket rights for the foreseeable future but the appearance of the TalkSport broadcasts does I suppose provide a benchmark for TMS.

I’ve listened several times now to both the TalkSport ball by ball commentary and the TMS’s cricket social (not at the same time). Last time TalkSport did cricket commentary (a South African tour) it was poor stuff. This time it isn’t. Combined and uneven development is at work. There are enough decent to good cricket commentators around for TalkSport to field a highly listenable team. Mark Nicholas even managed a brief mention of cake (no doubt a mild dig at TMS)

There were very few adverts and TalkSport is a commercial station so someone is paying (think Rupert) to get the cricket established with those that prefer their listening without adverts

The Cricket Social cant of course offer ball by ball and it could be argued (see the Telegraph) that it is based on the now departed Cricket Sofa. It is of course cricket chat, and interviews but it is considerably less laddish and rather more weighty cricket analysis wise than the Sofa was. It must be a challenge to fill such a long broadcast time with conversation (particularly as Geoffrey Boycott is not present) so it will be interesting to see how its sustained.

Too early for conclusions yet. I’ll be continuing to listen while keeping my personal and professional commitment to public service broadcasting still firmly in mind.

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From Peterloo to the Anti-Corn Law League & a People’s Vote

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2018 by kmflett

From Peterloo to the Anti-Corn Law League and a People’s Vote

The demand for cheaper bread was raised at Peterloo but there can be few that think that this was the fundamental reason why thousands gathered in central Manchester on the August Monday in 1819. Bread was a staple of the working-class diet (as it still is in some areas of the world) and its cost was a symbol of wider system of oppression in which change was demanded. The change was around democracy and the vote.

Yet while Chartism was the main successor to the democratic demands of Peterloo there was another, the Anti-Corn Law League, founded and based in Manchester. Well know ACLL activists had been at Peterloo so they could reasonably claim a connection. The ACLL also had some branches of ‘operatives’- workers. Yet it was primarily an organisation of industrialists, well-funded and effective. So effective indeed that it won the battle to repeal the Corn Laws (taxes on imported wheat) splitting the Tory Party in the process.

Cheaper bread certainly followed on but so did something else- reductions in wages as employers reasoned that workers could now live more cheaply and so required less pay. That arguably was the bottom line of what the ACLL were after.

To underline their connection to Peterloo they constructed the Free Trade Hall on the site of St Petersfield. It’s now a Radisson hotel but the façade still stands.

What is the connection with a People’s Vote and indeed the march for it in London on 20th October?

I voted ‘remain’ in the EU Referendum, not because I have any regard for the neo-liberal institutions of the EU (or the UK for that matter) but because it was obvious that a ‘leave’ vote was and would continue to stir up racism and reaction. Of course the argument on the left (some of it) was that a leave vote would create such a crisis in ruling class politics that it would lead to a Labour Government. The first bit of the statement has been proven correct, the second part, remains a possibility.

The connection with Peterloo and the ACLL is that people no more voted to leave because they wanted to ‘take back control’ than people at Peterloo just wanted cheap bread. Many voted leave because they were fed up with the impact of the austerity politics with which those who advocated remain were most closely identified.

Having a People’s Vote on whatever terms, if any, the Government comes up with for Brexit is a principle I agree with and hopefully trade unions on the march will make the point. If you vote for something to happen you expect to get a say on whether the eventual outcome is good enough. If not the negotiators are sent back to try again.

If on the other hand you say, as some on the London demo clearly do, that there should never have been a negotiation in the first place and that those who voted for it need to vote again then what is really required is not a ‘second Referendum’ but a General Election to change the political landscape.

The fundamental point is that narrowing the issue of Brexit as to whether or not people voted the ‘right’ way serves an agenda of those (the few) who have existed quite comfortably despite austerity. For those who haven’t , as with those who protested at Peterloo, a wider change is required that addresses not just Brexit but austerity.

 

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Tony Benn’s decisive role in the appointment of a Tory Prime Minister 55 years ago today

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2018 by kmflett

Tony Benn’s decisive role in the appointment of a Tory Prime Minister, 55 years ago today

In November 1960 Tony Benn’s father died. Benn who was at the time a Labour MP inherited the title Lord Stansgate and was therefore automatically barred from being an MP. A By-Election for his Bristol seat was held in May 1961 and although he won it, he was disbarred as ineligible and the seat handed to the runner-up Tory, Malcolm St Clair.

Benn campaigned for a change in the law to allow Peers to renounce their title. An Act of Parliament to this effect was passed on 31st July 1963. As he had promised St Clair stood down and at a By-Election on 20th August 1963 Benn re-gained his seat.

So far so good.

However the Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan decided to stand down in the wake of the Profumo affair citing health issues. His successor turned out to be Old Etonian and former First-Class cricketer Lord Home.

Using the 1963 Act Home renounced his peerage and was elected as an MP for Kinross & West Perthshire as Alec Douglas Home (tho not for long Labour won the 1964 Election).

Of this episode Benn wrote in his Diary on 18th October 1963:

Macmillan resigned this morning and Lord Home was asked to form a Government. It is incredible that such a thing should have happened. From the Labour Party’s point of view he is much less dangerous than Maudling but I am disturbed that my battle should have paved the way for a Conservative peer to come back to the Commons as PM

If you’re interested in this period a twitter account @alecemerges is tweeting details

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After autumn beard poll victory Xand Van Tulleken could be set for Beard of Year win

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front press release

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

19th October

After beard poll victory Xand Van Tulleken could be set for Beard of the Year win

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that after media Doctor Xand Van Tulleken shaved opponents to win the vote for the Beard of Autumn 2018 contest he could be in with a good chance of winning the Beard of the Year in late December.

Van Tulleken got 44% of the vote in the poll beating Times Literary Supplement Editor Stig Abell on 33% and beard campaigner Ben Bellamy on 17%

The Beard of Autumn is the last of four quarterly seasonal contests which lead to the Beard of the Year in December.

The campaigners say that Van Tulleken made the Beard of Autumn poll via write-in votes and going on to win after not being in the initial list is unusual.

Van Tulleken welcomed his victory on social media on Friday:

Great news! Crisp air in my nostrils, the rustle of leaves and the crunch of acorns underfoot and the finest beard in the land swirling gloriously around my face. I’d like to thank everyone that believed in me and pay tribute to the valiant efforts of my competitors.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Xand Van Tulleken will be on the Beard of the Year longlist poll, announced in mid-November, and as support for his beard is clearly bristling he could be in with a chance of winning Beard of the Year.

Beard of Autumn 2018

Tommy Fleetwood, golfer

Tosh McDonald, Beard of Labour Party Conference 2018

Ben Bellamy, Labour Councillor & beard campaigner

Carwyn Jones, Welsh First Minister

Oly Duff, Editor The I paper

Ed Mason, Five Points Brewing Company

Lloyd Embley, Editor in Chief, the Daily Mirror

Stig Abel, Editor, Times Literary Supplement

Mick Whelan, General Secretary ASLEF

Kevin Courtney, Beard of the TUC 2018

Xand van Tulleken, media Doctor

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Socialist Historians mark Black History Month: Marika Sherwood speaks on the Cold War in Ghana. 22nd Oct

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2018 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians

The London Socialist Historians Group which organises the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London is marking Black History Month on Monday 22nd October as one of the most well known and respected historians of black struggles and the fight against racism, Marika Sherwood speaks on The Origins of the Cold War in Ghana (Gold Coast) in 1948.

Marika Sherwood has published numerous books on black history and has played an important part in making sure that the subject is researched and discussed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marika_Sherwood

Monday 22nd October 5.30pm Room 304 Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, WC1. Free

 

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Media Doctor Xand Van Tulleken shaves opponents to win Beard of Autumn vote

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front press release

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

18th October

Media Doctor Xand Van Tulleken shaves opponents to win Beard of Autumn vote

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that media Doctor Xand Van Tulleken has shaved opponents to win the vote for the Beard of Autumn 2018 contest. Times Literary Supplement Editor Stig Abell was second and beard activist Ben Bellamy third

Van Tulleken got 44% of the vote with Abell on 33% and Bellamy on 17%

The Beard of Autumn is the last of four quarterly seasonal contests which lead to the Beard of the Year in December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Xand Van Tulleken was not on the original shortlist but his supporters got him on the poll and he went on to win and to shave well know beard wearers such as Stig Abell. It underlines that the impact of beard power is spreading ever wider.

Beard of Autumn 2018

Tommy Fleetwood, golfer

Tosh McDonald, Beard of Labour Party Conference 2018

Ben Bellamy, Labour Councillor & beard campaigner

Carwyn Jones, Welsh First Minister

Oly Duff, Editor The I paper

Ed Mason, Five Points Brewing Company

Lloyd Embley, Editor in Chief, the Daily Mirror

Stig Abel, Editor, Times Literary Supplement

Mick Whelan, General Secretary ASLEF

Kevin Courtney, Beard of the TUC 2018

Xand van Tulleken, media Doctor

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William Hulton. Lifelong Tory & the Magistrate who sent the Yeomanry in at Peterloo

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2018 by kmflett

William Hulton. Lifelong Tory & the Magistrate who sent the Yeomanry in at Peterloo

Pickering, Henry; William Hulton with Gun-Dog and Shotgun; Lancashire County Museum Service; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/william-hulton-with-gun-dog-and-shotgun-151714

With the release of Mike Leigh’s new film on Peterloo the question reasserts itself about why the events of that Manchester Monday on 16th August 1819 are not more remembered. The only ‘official’ memorial is plaque on the wall of the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. The hotel is built on the site of the Free Trade Hall which itself was constructed on the site of Peterloo.

One clue lies in the Magistrate who gave the order to send the Yeomanry in at Peterloo, William Hulton.

On the 150th anniversary of Peterloo in 1969 Robert Walmsley published a large volume on Peterloo that was at core an interesting biography of Hulton. EP Thompson’s review in the Times Literary Supplement was scathing and ended by pointing out that Hulton was a founding member of the South Lancashire Conservative Association, some years after Peterloo.

Hulton (1787-1864) was a landowner on whose land coal was mined and railways built in the area where Manchester touched on what is now part of Bolton. His connection with central Manchester seemed vague, hence the question as to why he was the leading Magistrate at Peterloo, but in fact he owned property in Deansgate.

Hulton came from a long line of Hultons from 1645 to 1940 all of whom were called William except one, Henry (1665-1737). His mother owned a successful race horse which she named ‘Church and King’ in case there were any doubt on where the Hulton dynasty stood on such matters.

Hulton came into his inheritance in 1808 aged 21 and married Maria who bore him 13 children.

Hulton was active as a magistrate before Peterloo and in 1812 at Westhougton 2 miles from his ancestral seat at Hulton Hall, Luddites burnt down a new power loom factory. Hulton despatched summary justice to some of those involved.

After Peterloo he was an active Tory often heckled in public with the cry of ‘Peterloo’. The labouring masses of Manchester knew well enough his role.

The Manchester Guardian, which had been founded in 1821 as a result of Peterloo consistently referred to Hulton as a ‘foolish country squire’. Some may see him as a vicious class warrior. The reality remains however that his important role in the formation of the Conservative Party in Lancashire may be one reason still even almost 200 years on why there is official reluctance to mark Peterloo with more rather more than a small plaque

Below is a link to a BBC interview with Tory Peer Julian Fellowes who is descended from William Hulton

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45563005