Articles

The Ambridge Socialist: Eddie Grundy alone recognised Philip Moss was dodgy

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2021 by kmflett

Ambridge Socialist

10th January

Time for an Ambridge Truth & Reconciliation Commission

There is of course one person in Ambridge who is not implicated in the Philip Moss modern slavery crisis. Don’t expect the BBC to be bigging this up because it is Eddie Grundy. He perpetually complained that Moss was taking work from him by offering rates that were too cheap. He may not have fathomed that this was because Moss wasn’t paying his workers but he certainly knew he was dodgy.

One person who subsequently realised this and made a point of it in a special on-line service from St Stephens was the local vicar Alan Franks. He suggested that if something was being offered at a suspiciously cheap price, the first thought should be, not that’s cheap, but, why is it so cheap? Sensible advice which it’s a pity the vicar didn’t take himself when employing Moss to repair the Church tower recently.

The vicar has already been exonerated by or God who whoever his relevant Borsetshire representative is but this doesn’t apply to David & Rooth Archer (new barn at Brookfield) Saint Shula (numerous works at the riding stables) and many others in Ambridge.

Since the whole of Ambridge can’t be jailed for complicity with Moss perhaps it is time to schedule some Truth and Reconciliation hearings where villagers explain why it is that they employed Moss and how they plan to make amends for doing so.

Kirsty: DO NOT hitch up with Spread Sheet Roy. Ditch men altogether

The Ambridge Socialist doesn’t of course offer advice on relationships but we do feel that Kirsty should in future abstain from any further attempts at bourgeois marriage and in particular disregard any spreadsheet that Roy Tucker produces on the matter.

Colston Statue: David Archer was right

The Ambridge Socialist is not in the habit of backing David Archer for being right about anything but when he opined that in the light of the Moss affair he could understand why the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol was toppled in the summer of 2020 he did get it right. Cue of course predictable complaints from Tories that the Archers was becoming political. Life is a political issue in 2021.

Articles

Campaigners say people should be able to dress & appear as they want at work after Tribunal shorts finding

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

9th January

Campaigners say people should be able to dress & appear as they want after Tribunal shorts finding

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has reaffirmed one of its fundamental principles that people should be able to dress and appear as they want, including at work.

The move comes after a Tribunal finding in the case of a former employee of Boots Mukid Miah.

The claim refers to a range of issues that related to Mr Miah eventually resigning from his job at Boots Preston Pharma warehouse in 2018/19. The Tribunal decision has only just been made (see Editorial The Times 9th January) partly due to COVID-19 delays.

The Tribunal did not uphold any of Mr Miah’s claims partly because they were out of time and partly because it believed they were unfounded. Claims to Tribunals must, in most cases, be made within 89 days of the last act in the matter complained of.

However the Tribunal did indicate that it would have upheld Mr Miah’s claim that he was discriminated against for wearing shorts had it been in time. Details are at paras 121-128 of this link:

Mr Miah complained that he had been disciplined for wearing three quarter length shorts during the warm summer of 2018 while female employees had not. Boots had subsequently reviewed and changed their policy.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we can see no reason why people should be stopped from wearing shorts at work providing they are appropriately worn and do not cause safety issues. In general it should be up to the individual how they dress and appear. Workplaces have become tolerant in this respect in recent times but there are still Victorian employers around.

Articles

London Socialist Historians seminars: Resistance to the Nazis, Trump, activist movements

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2021 by kmflett

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is preparing for the first presidential debate with former Vice President and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden on September 29th in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

London Socialist Historians seminars

Spring Term 2021

Resistance to the Nazis, Trump & the Christian Right, Memory & Hope in activist movements

Once again socialist history seminars will be via Zoom this term.

Given the amount of on-line events and meetings I’ve stuck to the 3 seminars a term model that worked very successfully in the autumn. That does mean there is a backlog of seminar papers to be presented but we will get round to it!

The link to register and join each seminar will be posted here once the Institute of Historical Research website has been updated

Monday 25th January 5.30pm Merilyn Moos and Steve Cushion, German working class resistance to the Nazis

Link to register for the meeting: https://www.history.ac.uk/events/german-working-class-resistance-nazis

Monday 22nd February 5.30pm John Newsinger, Trump and the Christian Right: A Dark Side of American Exceptionalism

Link to register for the meeting: https://www.history.ac.uk/events/trump-and-christian-right-a-dark-side-american-exceptionalism

Monday 15th March 5.30pm Eibhlín Ní Chléirigh, Asking for the Moon: An investigation of memory and hope in activist movements

Keith Flett, London Socialist Historians Convenor

Check the website: http://londonsocialisthistorians.blogspot.com/

Articles

Trump,Twitter,Nixon & the nuclear codes

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2021 by kmflett

Trump, Twitter, Nixon & the nuclear codes

Donald Trump has been, very belatedly, booted off Facebook and Twitter. People have commented that he still has access to the nuclear codes which given his volatile character is  somewhat worrying.

There is however a bit more to a major capitalist power than that.

Trump was certainly behind what might be considered an attempt at a coup on 6th January. Some of his supporters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington with the aim of stopping the confirmation of Biden as President and hence, one presumes, keeping Trump in office.

Of course any coup attempt that consists of the conspiracy theorists of QAnon and associates is not likely to succeed. It has become clear though that off duty police and soldiers were involved and some police connived at the attempt.

I agree with those however who argue that it will take a lot more than that to disrupt the US political system. Capital can live with Biden for now anyway. The fascists will be back.

The same principle applies to the nuclear codes. Trump has access but he cant himself fire any missiles. Generals have to give the order and soldiers have to do it. We’re not quite in Dr Strangelove territory yet.

Nixon in the late 1960s tried to order a nuclear strike on North Korea when he was drunk one evening. Henry Kissinger may seem like an unlikely pacifist but it is thought he stalled the order until the morning when Nixon had sobered up and was persuaded to think better of it.

“If the president had his way,” Kissinger growled to aides more than once, “there would be a nuclear war each week!” This may not have been an idle jest. The CIA’s top Vietnam specialist, George Carver, reportedly said that in 1969, when the North Koreans shot down a US spy plane, “Nixon became incensed and ordered a tactical nuclear strike… The Joint Chiefs were alerted and asked to recommend targets, but Kissinger got on the phone to them. They agreed not to do anything until Nixon sobered up in the morning.”

https://www.theguardian.com/weekend/story/0,3605,362958,00.html

Articles

David Bowie: We’ve had Five Years

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2021 by kmflett

David: We’ve had Five Years

David Bowie died 5 years ago on 10th January 2016

His song Five Years released in 1972 begins:

Pushing through the market square,

So many mothers sighing

News had just come over,

We had five years left to cry in

News guy wept and told us,

Earth was really dying

Cried so much his face was wet,

Then I knew he was not lying

I’m so old that I got Hunky dory and Ziggy Stardust when they were first released in the early 1970s.

Bowie was an iconoclast in terms of music and ideas so you could certainly never say he was a man of the left in political terms.

Yet the world is often not so simple. There are those whose professed aim is to make the world a better place who achieve little in that respect (sometimes not for want of trying) and there are those who manage to change things a bit even though it was probably wasn’t particularly the main thing they had in mind. Bowie I think is in the second category.

As Tom Robinson tweeted after Bowie’s death, the Ziggy persona and arguably Aladdin Sane too gave hope to a generation of LGBT youth that it was ok to express their sexuality. In 1970s Britain that was something rather significant.

The Thin White Duke of the Heroes period may have been an impressive persona but it was not something that could be lived with on the left. Bowie was looking at fascist ideas and imagery at a time when the genuine fascists of the National Front were a growing force in Britain.

I doubt too many National Fronters saw the videos of Heroes (the German language one in particular is memorable, though hardly for the best of reasons) and certainly the impact was nothing like the remarks of Eric Clapton that led to the founding of Rock Against Racism.

Bowie later donated money to the Anti-Nazi League, a reminder that above all he was playing with ideas and music, experimenting with forms, rather than aiming to make overt political statements.

Aside from noting that Bowie looked better without a beard, perhaps his legacy, aside from great music, is a discussion about whether a musician now could have the wider impact on society he had in various ways in the 1970s, even though, as above, it was probably not something he was striving to have.

His flirtation with fascist ideas and symbolism can’t be ignored but it was one moment in a complex artistic career. Another was that of the early 1970s when he helped to shift the stifling social and sexual relations of post 1945 Britain into a rather better place.

Articles

Boris Johnson & Donald Trump: a history of mutual admiration.

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2021 by kmflett

Boris Johnson & Donald Trump: a history of mutual admiration

Boris Johnson may have condemned Donald Trump today but his Presidency has only 13 days left to run (at best) and Johnson needs to do business with Joe Biden. (Biden may have other ideas)

However Johnson & Trump have formed a mutual admiration society in recent years.

Before Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019 Trump, in a typically unusual intervention said “we have a really good man who’s going to be the prime minister of the UK now, Boris Johnson”.

He went on

“They say ‘Britain Trump’, they call him Britain Trump, and that’s a good thing. They like me over there. That’s what they wanted. That’s what they need’

Meanwhile on 5th September 2020 the Pro Trump (but anti-Johnson) Telegraph reported leaked comments that Johnson had made about Trump when he was Foreign Secretary in Theresa May’s Cabinet in 2017.

Boris Johnson privately told US diplomats that Donald Trump was “making America great again”, according to a cache of official notes taken during high-level UK-US meetings whose details have leaked to The Telegraph.

The Prime Minister is quoted telling the US ambassador to Britain in August 2017, when he was foreign secretary, that Mr Trump was doing “fantastic stuff” on foreign policy issues like China, Syria and North Korea.

Other records show Mr Johnson claimed the US president was becoming “increasingly popular” in Britain in 2017 and spoke warmly about how under his leadership America was “back and engaged in the world”.

Articles

Beard Wearers who stormed Capitol building condemned for bringing hirsute into disrepute

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

7th January

Beard Wearers who stormed US Capitol building condemned for bringing hirsute into disrepute

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has condemned beard wearers who stormed the Capitol building in Washington on 6th January for bringing the hirsute into disrepute.

The campaigners, who promote positive images of the hirsute, say that while beard wearers were a minority amongst those trying to disrupt a legislative session confirming Joe Biden as the next President, they were a significant minority.

Two alt-right to fascist groups in particular appear to have been involved. The crazed conspiracy theorist group QAnon is not particularly associated with beards.

However the all-male Proud Boys are frequently to be seen with beards. Founder Gavin McInnes who was born in Hitchin but resides in the US is a noted beard wearer.

The BLF says that the Proud Boys have worked hard to promote an image which links the alt-right and fascist to facial hair and have got as far as persuading Eric Trump to grow a beard. A key weakness however is that Donald Trump himself remains a hard-line pogonophobe

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, obviously the assault on US democracy on Wednesday was about a lot more than beards. However as a leading organisation of the hirsute we felt it right to speak out and condemn in particular the Proud Boys whose activities we have monitored for a while. They are no friends of the hirsute.

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

Articles

Hackney’s Cock Tavern voted Beard Friendly Pub of the Year

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

7th January

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Hackney’s Cock Tavern voted Beard Friendly Pub of the Year

The Beard Liberation Front has said that a special vote for the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year (The Professionals) has seen Hackney pub, the Cock Tavern, shave the opposition.

Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse, a brewery taproom in Crewe, was second.

The Cock Tavern achieved 57.4% of the vote to 38.9% for Tom’s Tap with over 1,500 votes cast in an on-line poll over 5 days.

It was decided not to run the usual annual vote for the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year at the moment as pubs are closed with COVID-19 restrictions. Rather it will be held in August 2021.

One of the key aims of the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year Award has been to motivate people to visit pubs in one of the quietest times of the year.

Visiting pubs is not currently possible. However in order to publicise the welcoming and community positive aspects of pubs, the BLF determined to run a Beard Friendly Pub of the Year (The Professionals) vote.

The four contenders were pubs who have either won or been runner-up in Beard Friendly Pub of the Year votes in recent years.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, pubs have had a lot of criticism recently, often from people who seem quite unaware of the essential community role they can play. We focused on four of the most beard friendly, and hence welcoming community pubs, in this one-off special vote. Well done to all involved but particularly to the Cock Tavern and Tom’s Tap. They remind us of how important pubs are in our society. No doubt as restrictions ease, people will visit, safely, once again.

Beard Friendly Pub of the Year (The Professionals)

The Bumble Inn, Peterborough

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon

Tom’s Tap & Brewhouse, Crewe

The criteria for the Award include:

Beard Friendly Pub: a pub that welcomes the hirsute and often, when open, has a significant number of hirsute customers, including but certainly not confined to those with modern styles of beards.

Beard Friendly Ambience: a pub that may have fewer hirsute customers but is welcoming to the hirsute with some bearded bar staff and beard friendly beers, plus has a generally relaxed atmosphere for all.

The campaign group says it welcomes diversity in both appearance and drinking. The truly beard friendly pub will have a genuine mix of customers not just a load of old blokes grumbling about life.

Articles

From the Gordon Riot 1780 to Washington 2021. When mobs mobilised by authority wont go home

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2021 by kmflett

The violent attack on the session of US politicians designed to agree the election of Joe Biden as President by assorted groups of fascists and far-rightists has been widely condemned.

The attack was clearly inspired by Donald Trump who addressed the mob before it marched on the Capitol Building.

The aim was certainly to disrupt and send a warning to Biden & Co. that the forces around Trump are not going away. Whether the mob remained in any sense under the control of Trump appears unclear. However its constituent part, conspiracy theorists and fascists, are people he has previously encouraged.

There is a history of mobs put into progress by authority for reactionary purposes getting out of hand as far back as the Gordon Riot in London in 1780.

E.P Thompson wrote about the Gordon Riots of 1780 in central London in the Making of the English Working Class. The rioters were officially sanctioned in the sense that they were raising a reactionary demand to Parliament against Catholic toleration.

Thompson notes: the riots were directed in the first place against Catholic chapels and the houses of wealthy Catholics, then against prominent personalities in authority- including Lord Chief Justice Mansfield and the Archbishop of York.. then against prisons- whose inmates were released- and finally culminated in an attack on the Bank (of England) itself’.

At this point official toleration ended and the army were called out.

The difference between Washington in 2021 and London in 1780 is that the Gordon Rioters, numbers of whom were hung, were between a reactionary mob sanctioned by the Government and a rebellious crowd with its own agenda, those who disrupted the Capitol building, perhaps part mob and part politically conscious crowd, had no progressive element at all.

Articles

Beard Liberation Front says no need to trim beards or take down Xmas decs. until Feb.2nd

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

6th January

Press Release

Contact: Keith Flett 07803 167266

Beard Liberation Front says no need to trim beards or take down Xmas Decs until Feb 2nd

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has strongly urged the hirsute not to trim beards that were worn over Christmas until Candlemas on 2nd February.

While January 6th is a traditional time for Christmas decorations to be taken down and beards trimmed for the New Year the campaigners say that in fact Christian tradition provides for neither to happen until Candlemas on 2nd February.

The Christian tradition built on earlier ones including St Brigid, a festival of light and the coming of Spring.

The campaigners say that February 2nd will be a more appropriate time to trim a full winter organic beard in 2021

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, with many people staying at home in lockdown there is no need now to trim a winter beard during January. Further this is fully in line with tradition when such things didn’t happen until Candlemas.