The Ambridge Socialist: is disgraced Aussie cricket captain Steve Smith set for Ambridge CC?

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2018 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

65 Years of the class struggle in Ambridge

15th April

Is disgraced Aussie cricket captain Steve Smith set for Ambridge CC?

With the 2018 cricket season getting underway a tantalising rumour has reached the Ambridge Socialist that disgraced Australian cricket captain Steve Smith may be set to join Ambridge cricket team for the summer.

On April 5th the London Evening Standard ran a story that Smith might be set for an English County. However the process appears very problematic:

By contrast it is not expected that Smith joining a village team would cause concern. Ambridge has the advantage for Smith that their matches, frequently shambolic affairs, are often reported by the BBC

Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett said, Steve Smith as the ‘professional’ for Ambridge CC in 2018 would be an interesting proposition. He wouldn’t have to worry overmuch about the odd bit of gamesmanship either.

Who should Ambridge CC’s professional be in 2018? Steve Smith, Geoffrey Boycott?? Vote here

Shula & Alastair: still boring for Britain

This week Alastair wants to know when Shula stopped loving him. She cant remember. That seems reasonable, her mind was probably on who was mucking out at the stables at the time. Alastair has moved out to his father’s house but unfortunately it is still in Ambridge. Yawn…

In other news

Jazzer has updated his CV

Neil is advertising for jobs with pigs

Pat has offered Olwen a bed

Brian has returned home drunk



Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell 2018: beard friendly

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 by kmflett

Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell 2018: beard friendly

There are just a few beers which appear seasonally that are especially awaited, and Beavertown’s Bloody ‘Ell a 7.2% blood orange IPA is certainly one.

The 2018 release was a few weeks later than sometimes. The beer has been produced each year since 2013 relying on the blood orange crop to produce actual juice, not concentrate, for the beer:

Although I live in Tottenham a few minutes walk from the Beavertown tap room in fact I sampled Bloody ‘Ell 2018 in Small Bar Cardiff (where I also live, not in the bar obviously, but nearby) which was certainly a rather more relaxed location than the taproom on Saturday afternoon.

I’ve commented on social media about the development of Nick Dwyer’s Bloody ‘Ell bottle and now can designs which is impressive. But the key issue is what the beer is like.

Having sampled several halves I’d say it has a more pronounced blood orange taste than 2017 which conversely means the IPA related hop flavours are a bit lower in the mix. But if you are promoting a Blood Orange IPA the bottom line is that it tastes distinctively of them.

As for how beard friendly it is, this, of course, is related to a complex formula. Unlike an imperial stout the beard is not marinated in Bloody ‘Ell. Rather it is about how the beer inspires thoughts and ideas that motivate the stroking of the beard. Here 2018 Bloody ‘Ell scored highly.




From Suez 1956 to Syria 2018 & Tory Premiers from Eden to May

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 by kmflett

At the end of October 1956 Britain joined France and Israel in an attack on Egypt after it had nationalised the Suez Canal. The attack was sanctioned by neither the UN or Parliament. On this occasion it was not backed by the US either which then had a right-wing leadership of a slightly stable nature than currently.

Tory Prime Minister Anthony Eden certainly had a fair degree of public support for his action but the Labour Party under right-wing leader Gaitskell called Law not War rallies. There was some strike action as workers walked out in protest at Eden’s action.

The military adventure in Suez ended in failure in days and Eden’s Premiership didnt last much longer. On 9th January 1957 he resigned on health grounds, although he actually lived into old age and died in 1977. He has been rated as one of the weakest Prime Ministers of the Twentieth Century.

Theresa May who has backed military action in Syria without UN or Parliamentary support, (although in 2018 the adventure is US led) has far less public backing than Eden had for war. Aside from being an early contender for the worse Prime Minister of the Twenty-First Century (there is time yet unfortunately for others) one wonders if she will manage to beat Eden’s 70 day tenure in No.10 Downing St after going into an illegal military action.


Six years of @beavertownbeer Bloody ‘Ell

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2018 by kmflett

Thanks to Small Bar Cardiff (one of the launch venues for Bloody ‘Ell 2018) for making me check how many years Beavertown’s blood orange IPA, Bloody ‘Ell has been seasonally brewed. The answer seems to be six. The earliest entries on that definitive guide to Beer, the Universe…. Rate Beer are 2013. Checking my own blog I find that I listed Bloody ‘Ell as one of the beers of 2013 (its quite an interesting list in retrospect, posted below).

When it was first produced it was I think more or less unique. Now there are other blood orange beers around but none I suspect to beat Bloody ‘Ell (all right I live in Tottenham).

It is released later in the year this year to make sure, as I understand it, that it is extra beard friendly. I’ll report further

My beers of 2013

Tiny Rebel: Ardbeg imperial stout I like imperial stout and I like Ardbeg whisky. This beer matured in an Ardbeg barrel was to my taste superb although I know not everyone agreed..

Weird Beard: Little Things That Kill A reminder and a great one that really good tasty beer does not have to be a strong beer

Beavertown: Bloody ‘Ell Blood Oranges, ipa. Unforgettable

Wild etc: Shnoodlepip a taste explosion and one that works wonderfully. Not a twig in miles

Thornbridge: Raspberry imperial stout the strongest beer here [over 10%] and a reminder that sour-ish raspberries and stout can make a beautiful beer.

Magic Rock: Salty Kiss there were several versions of this. I tried them all and can’t now recall which I liked best, but it was surely the beer of summer 2013


How the press depicted William Cuffay, the black leader of London Chartism in 1848

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2018 by kmflett

This week marks the 170th anniversary of the Chartist rally for the vote in 10th April 1848.

The organiser of that rally and indeed of London Chartism in the Year of Revolutions was William Cuffay, a black tailor.

Cuffay was not a political leader of Chartism nationally, although he may have played a key role in London, but he was certainly the person who was responsible for making things happen.

Ahead of 10th April the Chartist Assembly of 49 delegates meeting in London, concerned that the Government would try to prevent the Kennington rally, agreed to send a deputation to the Home Office to reassure the Home Secretary that nothing beyond peaceful protest was planned.

Cuffay alone voted against on the grounds that as the organiser he was determined that the rally went ahead whatever the Government’s view was

Then as it now would racism played a key part in how the media depicted Cuffay. The caricature above is from Punch. The context is explained below:

In 1848 particularly Cuffay was lampooned in print, in newspapers like the Times, and the Observer, in magazines like Punch and the London Illustrated News. While he was in Newgate Gaol awaiting transportation Punch carried The Three Christmas Waits a lampooning poem by William Makepeace Thackeray. A book titled The Political Life of Cornelius Cuffey, Esq., Patriot, &c, &c., was on sale for half a guinea. It consisted of a poem that was lavishly illustrated with hand-coloured lithographed plates protected by tissue guards, and claimed  to have been “Printed for Sale at the Bazaar in Aid of the Governesses’ Benevolent Institution”. This organisation was an invention of Punch in 1846.



The start of the English & Welsh First Class County Cricket season… in 1968

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2018 by kmflett

The start of the English and Welsh First Class County Cricket season.. in 1968

Friday 13th April is the start of the County Cricket season. The weather predictably is not great. The refrain of shortage of spectators and lack of money will no doubt be heard. In addition plans to mess around with the structure of domestic cricket remain firmly in place despite considerable controversy. The general focus is around how to get more people to watch and hence how to get more money into the game at local levels.

While researching quite different matters recently I came across a piece in the Daily Telegraph about the start of the County cricket season, 50 years ago, in 1968. Strangely it seemed rather familiar.

1968 was a year when the Australians visited but the piece started by noting the ‘enduring problems of making ends meet’. It goes on to mention ‘reduced gates and falling membership’ in many Counties and questions how County Cricket continued to survive.

According Wilf Wooller of Glamorgan ‘cricket has been tottering on the edge of bankruptcy for 90 years’, although that may be less of a problem for that particular County in 2018 it seems.

The article ponders how clubs like Gloucestershire which ‘has had little success in recent years’ survive. The answer in 1968 was partly through indulgent bank managers but mainly through the work of supporter’s clubs.

However the Telegraph reports that ‘County Secretaries hope that the Sunday League due to start in 1969 will inject greater interest’. Meanwhile Michael Turner of Leicestershire thought that financial stability would only come when the ‘valuable acreages’ around the grounds were developed for multi-purpose activities that took place year round.

50 years on there are some enduring themes here and supporters are still keeping the Counties going. The interesting thing is that in the main they are not same ones as those in 1968 but new generations. How did that happen? Perhaps someone should investigate




Historians say ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech cant be ignored but should not be amplified by the BBC

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2018 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

Press Release 12th April

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Historians say ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech can’t be ignored but should not be amplified by the BBC


The London Socialist Historians Group who organise the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London has said that the decision of the BBC to broadcast the entirety of Enoch Powell’s racist Rivers of Blood Speech in Radio 4’s Archive Hour on Saturday is an error of Editorial judgement.

No complete recording of the speech exists, so it will be read by an actor in segments with critical comment in each section.

Powell was sacked as a Shadow Minister for the speech and never recovered his standing in the Conservative Party.

The historians say that the speech is an important part of British history and should certainly be recalled 50 years on. The question is how it is appropriate to do so. There is no reason why it should not be available in appropriate archives and libraries, together with any other related documentation, for researchers and other interested parties to review. However at the same time, amplifying Powell’s sentiments on Radio 4, is highly questionable.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett, said Powell’s speech and indeed the march by a minority of London dockers in support of it are important parts of the history of 1968 in Britain but very much countervailing ones to the general mood of the year. The BBC seems to have largely overlooked the anti-Vietnam war demonstration in Grosvenor Square on 17th March 1968 and it remains to be seen what they will make of the Hornsey College of Art student occupation in May 1968. Powell’s speech is part of the narrative, but only part of it. To amplify it on its own on Radio 4 is at best unfortunate.


The Guardian Editorial (14th April) is broadly in the right place here. Certainly review and analyse Powell’s speech 50 years on but DONT recreate it in a form that previously didnt exist and DONT big it up. My view remains that both remain an error of Editorial judgement.