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203rd anniversary of Peterloo (16th August 1819). Could it happen again?

In Uncategorized on August 16, 2022 by kmflett

203rd anniversary of Peterloo (16th August 1819). Could it happen again?

On 16th August 1819 in central Manchester the authorities murdered 18 people protesting for the vote. Would they do it again?

It’s the 203rd Anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. A memorial event will take place near Manchester Central (the site of Peterloo) at 6pm.

The details of the day well known which is not the same as saying that there isn’t more to find out. Many thousands marched into central Manchester from the surrounding towns to demand not just the vote but a more democratic society. As the keynote speaker Henry Hunt spoke Manchester Magistrates gave the order to the local Yeomanry (businessmen on horseback with sabres) to disperse the crowd. They did with murderous effect. Its now thought 18 died and many more were injured.

In the Making of the English Working Class (1963) E P Thompson argued that Peterloo marked a turning point in how the State handled protests. The impact of that Manchester day 203 years ago was not to stop protest against the Tory Government but significantly increase it.

Thompson argued that while the Government might still use violence in industrial disputes, for political ones they dare not. He noted that the 1842 General Strike and Bloody Sunday in 1887 were exceptions.

The Making however is not just a history but a book where Thompson makes political points. In 1963 he was promoting the idea of a mass democratic movement for change that was more likely to achieve results than robust alternatives (he didn’t deny the existence of an armed tradition in working class politics in the first decades of the nineteenth century).

Events in Derry on 30th January 1972 when civil rights protesters were shot and killed by the army raises the issue of whether Thompson’s argument on Peterloo still holds. Indeed in the 1980s Thompson warned of increasingly aggressive and authoritarian policing of protest.

If another protest for democracy like Peterloo one wonders if Liz Truss would deem it an ‘unfair protest’ and act accordingly?

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Beard of Summer 2022 Moeen Ali gives advice on beard growing

In Uncategorized on August 16, 2022 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

16th August

Beard of Summer 2022 Moeen Ali gives advice on beard growing

England cricketer Moeen Ali who shaved Michael Rosen for the coveted Beard of Summer 2022 award has given succinct but pointed advice on beard growth

Moeen is primarily a white ball cricketer currently and before a game of The Hundred, where he captains the Birmingham team, he spoke to Sky about beard growth.

His view was:

Leave the beard to grow

Trim it with scissors to suit once it has

It is clear and concise and notable for an absence of any reference to barbers or beard oils

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What we did on our holidays: Boris Johnson & Keir Starmer

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2022 by kmflett

What we did on our holidays: Boris Johnson & Keir Starmer

On Monday Keir Starmer said he would make no apology for going on holiday to Majorca for 10 days or so with his partner and children. He was right to do so. Work life balance is important and if you have school age children August is the time for holiday.

Starmer was reportedly eating tapas and wearing (a needlessly expensive) casual shirt which was a huge improvement on his usual suits. And why not?

Less satisfactory was that Starmer didn’t seem to have appointed anyone to be his deputy (Angela Rayner has the formal position) to speak out on the cost of living crisis. Gordon Brown filled the space admirably but if anyone thought he was acting in cohorts with Starmer, they might notice the leader’s fulsome thanks to him (there was none)

Of course Starmer is a minor player in the holiday league compared to Boris Johnson. He is currently on holiday in Greece having recently returned from Slovenia. The Guardian has a good summary here:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/aug/15/boris-johnsons-summer-of-fun-what-has-the-pm-been-doing

Johnson of course is still Prime Minister although it’s a moot point as to whether it is better that he is doing the job or not doing it. His main actual activity at the moment seems to be securing a column in the Daily Mail, the Telegraph having finally had enough of him.

When it comes to holidays though in general Britain doesn’t have enough them. Before the Lionesses beat Germany at Wembley Keir Starmer in effect called for a national holiday if they won. They did and then Starmer went on holiday himself and said nothing more.

In the circumstances its surely one demand Starmer could get Johnson to agree to

It would also be worth making the point in respect of Johnson that many cant currently afford a holiday at all

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BLF sanctions Chelsea Manager Tuchel for bringing the hirsute into disrepute

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2022 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

15th August

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

BLF sanctions Chelsea Manager Tuchel for bringing the hirsute into disrepute

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has sanctioned Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel for bringing the hirsute into disrepute.

The decision comes after a review of Sunday’s Chelsea v Tottenham Premiership game when Tuchel and Spurs manager Conte were both shown red cards after an arm wrestling contest at the conclusion of the match.

Video evidence seen by the BLF shows that Tuchel appears to have been the aggressor.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, football managers were an aggressively clean shaven bunch but in recent times facial hair has become a feature of the successful manager. In this case however Thomas Tuchel has brought the hirsute into disrepute and the BLF will not be promoting his image or activities for the next four weeks.

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From Hugh Gaitskell to Keir Starmer. Labour’s Man With a Plan

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2022 by kmflett

From Hugh Gaitskell to Keir Starmer. Labour’s Man With a Plan

Keir Starmer has announced Labour’s plan to address the energy crisis by freezing prices. How this is to be achieved is academic as he isn’t yet PM. The point is to underline that Labour has a specific plan, rather than vague Tory ‘promises’ and to put pressure on the next Tory PM to do something similar.

It would of course have been cheaper and more efficient as Starmer’s French co-thinker President Macron grasped when he nationalised EDF energy recently, to bring the energy companies back into public ownership. Starmer won’t say this however because some chap with a beard he doesn’t get on with does.

Starmer is not however Labour’s first Man With a Plan.

Hugh Gaitskell (Labour leader 1955-1963) had one at the 1959 Election. Like Starmer Gaitskell was a figure of the Labour right (although more socially liberal than the current leader). However times were different and Gaitskell though far from a fan of nationalisation saw a reason for it when appropriate.

Labour lost the 1959 as the British economy boomed under the Tories. Starmer will not face the same issue and perhaps his plan will in some form work

Hugh Gaitskell’s plan in 1959

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7647952.stm

Introduction to 1959 Labour Manifesto

Britain Belongs to You: The Labour Party’s Policy for Consideration by the British People

We welcome this Election; it gives us, at last, the chance to end eight years of Tory rule. In a television chat with President Eisenhower, Mr. Macmillan told us that the old division of Britain into the two nations, the Haves and the Have Nots, has disappeared. Tory prosperity, he suggested, is shared by all. In fact, the contrast between the extremes of wealth and poverty is sharper today than eight years ago. The business man with a tax-free expense account, the speculator with tax-free capital gains, and the retiring company director with a tax-free redundancy payment due to a take-over bid-these people have indeed ‘never had it so good’.

It is not so good for the widowed mother with children, the chronic sick, the 400,000 unemployed, and the millions of old age pensioners who have no adequate superannuation. While many of those at work have been able to maintain and even improve their standard of living by collective bargaining, the sick, the disabled and the old have continually seen the value of state benefits and small savings whittled away by rising prices. Instead of recognising this problem as the greatest social challenge of our time, the Prime Minister blandly denies it exists.

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Karl Marx on Conte v Tuchel Wrestling match

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2022 by kmflett

The behaviour of Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte at today’s Chelsea v Spurs game ,which saw both get a red card was of course unprofessional,but behind it lay a battle of class, wealth and power.

As Karl Marx noted in Capital Volume One

capital is constantly compelled to wrestle with the insubordination of the workmen

As for the 2-2 result like the French Revolution its too early to say what it will mean and anyway the cricket season is in full swing

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Peterloo 1819-2022. Enough is Enough. Democracy is more than the vote

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2022 by kmflett

Peterloo: 1819-2022 Enough is Enough: Democracy is more than the vote

There is a march and rally on Sunday afternoon backed by Oldham Trades Council in central Manchester*. On 16th August the Peterloo Memorial Campaign will gather at the Peterloo memorial from 5.30pm

We are approaching the 203rd anniversary of Peterloo. It was a protest about the right to vote but rather more than that. People were living in a system where they had no representation and no say. In addition but also centrally they struggled in many cases to afford enough to eat. Democracy became focused on the right to vote with the Chartists in the late 1830s but Peterloo was a much wider expression of what a democratic society should be. Its one we have still to achieve

In the Making of the English Working Class E P Thompson argued that the cost of living crisis was about wider issues than just that. He quoted a cotton spinner from 1818

The rise of a master class without traditional authority or obligations; the growing distance between master and man.. the loss of status and above all independence of the worker.. the partiality of the law, the discipline, monotony, hours and conditions of work, loss of leisure and amenities.

Thompson argued that for many it was also about justice, independence, family-economy. The demand for the vote was underwritten by wider concerns, a point echoed by George Monbiot.

George Monbiot 9th August 2022

It’s not a cost of living crisis so much as a rip-off crisis.

People are being ripped off by energy companies, ripped off by landlords, ripped off by a government that channels benefits to the rich while watching the poor slide into destitution.

*PETERLOO MARCH FOR DEMOCRACY The march will start from Piccadilly Gardens at 12:30 Main event starts at 1pm in St Peters Square Followed by Q & A on Democracy at the friends meeting house at 4pm Confirmed speakers include: SPEAKERS INCLUDE. JEREMY CORBYN KEN LOACH STELLA ASSANGE

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Beard Wearers urged to avoid using hosepipes to cool beards

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2022 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

14th August

Beard Wearers urged to avoid using hosepipes to cool beards

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has urged beard wearers to avoid using hosepipes to cool their beards, as drought conditions prevail across much of the UK.

The campaigners say that there is no need to use a hosepipe if follicles became overheated. Placing a few ice cubes in the beard or immersing it in a glass of chilled craft lager will work perfectly well.

The BLF says that while the use of hosepipes to cool follicles is not thought to be widespread it is still wasteful.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, of course the actual answer is to nationalise the water companies. However since that decision rests with clean shaven suit wearers interim measures are needed

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Ambridge Socialist: we back Chelsea’s act of revenge against class enemy Gemma

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2022 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

14th August

We back Chelsea’s act of revenge against class enemy Gemma

Chelsea has scratched the car of chicken factory nark and supervisor Gemma after leaving the Bull with Tracey. It was a minor but justified act of revenge against a class enemy. Chelsea has been questioned by Knacker Burns but she has little to worry about there. Of more concern is her job at the Orangery where she faces the sack over errors despite the intervention of Call Me Russ.

Call Me Russ has however revealed his true nature and made Chelsea confess to Borchester Knacker as a quid pro quo for saving her job. Sgt Burns didn’t seem bothered it was quite low on his long list of unsolved crimes.

Ambridge ruling class in crisis as Godmother Peggy Woolley takes a back seat

Peggy Woolley (aka June Spencer) has announced that she will no longer take a part in BBC broadcasts from Ambridge after 70 years.

She was married to publican Jack Archer and then to the owner of Grey Gables Jack Woolley. In recent years she has been the ruling matriarch of Ambridge with a battle going on as to who would be  her eventual successor.

David Archer pushed Nigel Pargetter off the roof of Lower Loxley in 2011 in a bid to secure the succession when he was married to Elizabeth Archer. More recently however he has come to an accord with her new partner abattoir owner Vince Casey

Other contenders include model railway fan Tony Archer, trainee vicar Shula Archer and publican Kenton Archer. In a surprising move Peggy appears to have forgiven and indeed even praised Pat for her CND years in the 1980s.

Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett said, as the Godmother Peggy has had a huge influence in Ambridge most recently positive with the rewilding project. Her succession will lead to tensions in the ruling Archers dynasty

Tory leadership hustings due at the Village Hall

There will be an Ambridge Socialist protest. Details to follow

In other news

Adil is trying to swerve a role at the fete as is Knacker Burns

Caitlin has returned to Wales leading to a general crisis at Bridge Farm

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Water Companies, Profits,Leaks & Ownership

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2022 by kmflett

Water Companies, Profits, Leaks & Ownership

The graph above appears in the Financial Times (13th August).

It looks at privatised water companies in mainland UK . As can be seen most make large profits and most also waste a lot of water through ageing infrastructure that they don’t invest in. Their legal duty is to shareholders although corporate governance should dictate a much more robust approach to investment.

The answer to this is to bring these companies back into public control. Given their poor stewardship they don’t deserve compensation but allowing that this is paid, it still represents not just a sensible but an essential policy in the era of climate change.

We await Keir Starmer’s much heralded announcements on Monday…