Friday, December 21, 2012

Front Page of Wikipedia!

According to Wikipedia, on this day in 1844, The Rochdale Pioneers, opened their first store in Toad Lane Rochdale. You can see it pictured on the front page of Wikipedia, and I am well chuffed that the photograph was taken by me with my Kodak C1013 when I passed through Rochdale while writing my undergraduate dissertation. Yippee!!!!!!

Here zooming in a bit

Perhaps I should add Photography to my LinkedIn profile....

Haven't done as much on wikipedia as I would have hoped, but hopefully now spurred into action.

Happy Solstice one and all and G-d bless wikipedia

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Persistance of Slavery

Another field trip with Garth's Extension Group!  This time to the Wilberforce Museum in Kingston-Upon-Hull to explore the disgusting dirty history of slavery.  And also the heroic efforts not only of the Victorian Do-Gooders to end it but of the oppressed and downtrodden themselves to resist and ultimately end it in one form.    Here we are

Here's Garth at Wilberforce House.

William Wilberforce himself was a Yorkshireman, played cricket for Yorkshire

here's yer man!

So he goes down to Cambridge to become a Bloody Student!

ooops bit of a problem rotating that one

here's some chains, quite possibly used on real slaves....

How did people become slaves?  Fill the form in I suppose.

In today's money Britain made 2.5 trillion pounds.  And we are really really sorry and we have given it all back.  Well maybe not.  Is our economic system fundamentally the same or radically different from one based on slavery?

Just thought I would ask..

Four Hundred years!  Four Hundred Years!

There was much resistance to slavery with colonies of maroons in Jamaica and a successful revolt in Haiti by the Black Jacobins gaining their independence .  Slavery was abolished in the French Empire during the Reign of Terror.  After the terror an expedition was sent to restore slavery to Haiti.  It was defeated.  Well in the Black Jacobins!

Evidently Voodoo played a part, not only as a way of liberation but jolly good fun yaya!

Here is the Voodoo Alter

The Immortal (though sadly now dead) Tom Paine

Slavery persisted after it's abolition, and resistance to the new forms of slavery continued.

And slavery persists...

In different forms...

There can be no Peace without Justice

Proclaim Liberty Throughout The Land! (Leviticus 25:10)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Civic responsibility to protest

Dam!  I was so angry I made a typo.  Oh well.  Today I exercised by perogative as and Independent Elector to vote and my duty as a citizen to protest as vigourously as possible by for the first time spoiling my ballot paper.

Alas this miserable Con-Dem Wheeze will probably run and run.

The Dire Wheeze of Police and Crime Commissioners....

Tomorrow in England and Wales we have elections for the new post of 'Police and Crime Commissioner'.  After much thought I have decided to spoil my paper and support the campaign to do so.  I hope that there is a record number of spoilt papers.

First, it needs to be said that this is at best a dire wheeze.  Improving the Police Service is to be welcomed, as is improved accountability of the Police Service and better links between the Police and Community.  No one has explained to my satisfaction how having a Police and Crime Commissioner does any of this.  At best it is a sideways step.  And a remarkable indication of where the Con-Dem administration's priorities lie.

There is also much to be said against creation of the post of PCC.  The politicisation of the Police Service is a dangerous thing.  Sure Independents can stand but they will be at the disadvantage of not being able to use emblems and the name of their Party.  They will also have to find a 5K deposit.  5K is nothing if you win and gain a juicy salary starting about 80K a year and get deposit back anyway.  It does put off the poorer Political Parties.  And speaking of which, how is an honest independent going to find no strings funding.... so yes, not only is the PCC a potential route into politicisation of the Police Service but also has inbuilt potential for corruption.  All for an unhelpful layer between the Police Service and what remains of the Police Committee and Local Authority (a police panel in West Yorkshire).  Now had the Con-Dems genuinely wished to give the Independent Electors of West Yorkshire a democratic opportunity they could have transferred the Police Service and other County functions back to a County Council......

And yes, the Conservatives in particular seem rather enamoured with personality politics, as shown in recent drive to introduce Executive Mayors to English Cities (a boris in every village).  And replacing elected volunteers with richly paid professional politicians.

Leading again to the issue that the deposit has been set at £5000 but this is for a single candidate (unlike the £4000 for a slate at the European Parliament Elections or £500 for the Westminister deposit) it is much too high. 

So enough.  It is a most dreadful wheeze.  Will whoever is elected be able to stem the cuts in the police service and privatisation that the insane ultra-thatcherite Con-Dem administration has planned?

As an Independent Elector I have 3 choices.  To express a preference, to spoil my paper or to not vote.  Here in West Yorkshire there are Tory, Fib-Dem, Labour and one Independent candidates.

So vote Tory for privatisation and cuts in the police service?  No thank you!  Then there is the Fib Dems.  Ditto.  Or Labour, the Con-Dems in drag.  There is an independent who used to serve in the police service.  I hear that he didn't perform all that well at the hustings saying his priority would be to increase siezure of drugs.  Making a priority of seizing more drugs is not the most sensible of drug policies.  Seizing of all drugs does not mean an end to drug related crime.  For a while it once happened in Glasgow, and Glasgow was entirely free of heroin, but then prescription drugs went missing by the caseload to fill the gap.  I have had a look on his website but alas it does not inspire much confidence. 

So why not stay at home?  In view of how hard the Chartists and Suffragettes fought for the right to vote, not to say my Granddad risking all fighting the Nazis.  This is put rather well by Sarah Hall in The Electric Michaelangelo:-

-Can I start piercing folk?
  -No you bloody can't. Not in my shop. It's gimmicky. It's for people who don't understand the craft.
  Nina tutted loudly and tossed out the remaining inch of leafy tea from her cup into the sink. Cy was reading a book in his room, with his leg up on a stool, waiting for a customer to appear. This was an argument they had had before
  -It's not fair. You wouldn't have to do any of the work. I could be in charge of it.
  -Oh, its always lip from you, isn't it? Never a moment's peace. Does it say Nina Shearer's Tattoo Parlour on that sign up there? Does it?
  Cy smiled and looked up from his book from her.
  -Speaking of, have you been to the polling station yet today, missy? Have you voted?
  -No. They're all a bunch of farts, why should I bother?
  -Listen. I don't care if you never put a single cross in a single box, but you get yourself down to that polling station right now. You've got your voting card?
  -Yes. But why the bloody hell should I go if I am not ticking any boxes? You've gone soft in the head.
  -Well, go and write 'you're all a bunch of great fat farts' across it and hand it in! At least they will know that you have been there and had your say.
  Nina was giving him a look of bemused pity, as if commiserating with his insanity, his obviously retarded condition. Or as if he had suddenly grown another head. And damn it if Cy didn't want to kick her up the backside and give her a hug all at once.
  -All I am saying pet, is that you shouldn't take these things for granted. That's all.  Now off you go.

'The Electric Michaelangelo' by Sarah Hall p 334

So there you have it.  Picture to follow when I have done the deed.  A couple more points.  Spoilt papers have to be counted, but do not count towards turnout, as according to the Electoral Commission, spoilt papers are not counted towards the turnout.  Best express choice for all candidates equally so that there is no clear preference.  Tomorrow will probably be a record low turnout.  A record number of spoilt papers won't make the Con-Dems think again, nothing will.  But we will have made our point.  I spoil my paper as a last resort, tomorrow for the first time.

And what to write.  A witty suggestion was 'A Plod on the Street, not pillocks on a fat wedge'  How indeed does giving a PCC a fat salary improve the police service?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What about the workers! Visit to the Peoples' Museum

With Garth's Extension group it was wonderful to visit the Peoples Museum in Manchester.

Here is me in the foyer

Funny I don't recall Bloody Harold on Spitting Images...

The Peace Movement! A splendid firm!

Workers Unite!

The Co-op!  A splendid firm!!

Abuse of power and rule by a few very rich people.  Things entirely of distant memory.  Well if you read the papers and are completely trapped in the media and commodity spectacle.

And now we have the right to vote what difference does it make?  Votes are not equal under an institutionalised system of ballot rigging and vote stealing that is plurality voting (erroneously called 'First Past The Post')

The Immortal (though sadly now dead) Tom Paine

Wilkes and Liberty!  Anyone drink to that?

Particularly love the story that when Wilkes stood for election in Middlesex, he asked one Independent Elector of the County of Middlesex could he count on his vote.  'I would rather vote for the Devil'  'But with your preferred candidate not standing on this occasion, can I count on your vote?'

There were black Chartists like William Cuffee

Industrial Workers

Tomorrow!  When Labour rules!  So now we know


Self explanatory I suppose

All together now! Raise higher the red banners of the class struggle!

say 'Socialism!'

Something a bit topical. 

Come back David Lloyd-George!  All is forgiven!

The Drink Map of Manky!

Should come in handy when drinking.

I am the man, the very fat man, who waters the workers' beer


here endeth the lesson


so now you know

England Takes Drugz in psychic self defence...

and back to Leeds

As I wasn't allowed flash photography I have decided against any pics that didn't work in museum light.

Well, it would seem that the history of the People has been one of exploitation and struggle against this exploitation.  And a few rich and powerful people who generally clung onto that wealth and power.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Crem Day 18th October 2012

I really need to do a blogging frenzy... Anyway for now... Good to have been able to finally do a crem day, this time a year on from Pamela departing this life. I am particularly grateful to my host Lisa and Pamela's wonderful friends Taffy and Sarah. And special thanks to National Express for rescuing my laptop, which I left on the coach when changing coach at Sheffield. Fan mail to follow guys.... So by the time I got to Mansfield the crem was shut for the day. So thankfully able to get to crem the following morning then back home to feed Ewah.

Had intended to do a memories of Pamela post long ago.  Still haven't even opened a file.  But it's a story that should be told.  A wonderful story.  Hopefully to follow.  Anyway, for now, G-d bless you Pamela, thanks for everything!  Love never comes to an end.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just an Ordinary Redneck Millionaire Creationist Fundamentalist Amerikan Guy

Likesay when I heard that Creationist/Fundamentalist Empire Answers in Genesis were planning a replica ark attached to their Creation 'Museum' with millions in tax breaks in a State short on science Educashun... I thought aha!

Creationists like to say that there are separately created 'kinds' and that evolution didn't happen.  It is intersting that they accept some evolution happens.  When asked to define 'kinds' they fudge.  So if it happens it will be interesting to see how many Kinds (funnily enough the New Jerusalem translation of the Bible says Noah took two of every species, but then the Roman Catholic Church accepts Evolution) go two by two onto the Answers in Genesis Ark.  Likesay this one wants watching.

So with this in mind I found the following post on the Ark site of Answers in Genesis from 'David'

'Im wondering, was Noah a billionaire of his time?

I note it's costing $24 Mil to build a modern-day ark, and there certainly must be a team of construction/trades workers for the task (obviously they don't work for free, and certainly didn't in Noah's day, even if there even WERE non-slave-laborer craftsmen for hire in 2,300 BC!).

And surely the "Home Depots" of his time (as if they existed, LOL!) presumably didn't just give away their tools, tons of lumber and other construction materials (pitch tar, etc).

And what did Noah and his Sons do for physical sustenance for themselves and their families while they devoted their lives to building the Ark?

Hence my question: had Noah amassed the fortune of a King to pull off a construction project that rivaled that of Egyptian pharoah's building of the pyramids (or at least the Titanic ship-building project of more recent times)?'

Well I am happy to accept that Noah was a Regular (Redneck Creationist Fundamentalist Amerikan) Guy who just happened to be a millionaire.  Perhaps he ran a 'creationist ministry' or some other nice little earner.

Here is the reply from 'Stephen'

'Naturally we don't fully know how the ark was built (with labor I mean). It seems reasonable that Noah would have had help.'

Oh yeah?  Who would help someone build an Ark to escape the flood without hitching a lift?

'With a significantly lower population, property could easily be staked off in big chunks. Wouldn't necessarily mean he was wealthy as we would think of it. Perhaps he just had a lot of land. He could have traded land for labor.'

Ok makes sense.  He gets it all back after the flood.  I will let 'Stephen' finish.

'It is also possible that his land would have had a lot of the resources he needed for building the ark. Mining that material could have happened before or after the "sale." Land would have been much richer in the distribution of its resources prior to the flood.

The same would be true of the food that was gathered for their sustenance. The food of the day would have been "greens," nuts and seeds. That's not difficult to store or gather. There is also trade to consider for anything else they might have needed.

All in all, Noah could have easily been an ordinary man of his day just using what was around him.'

well except that he was a millionaire.

Likesay this is one to watch if it does get off the ground.  As it were.  It will certainly be interesting how many 'Kinds' end up on the ark and what gets left out.  Gets a bit tricky with two fully grown diplodici' but then they could indeed have been babies or football sized eggs.  Funny how the bible doesn't mention this.  It is only athiests/sodomites/communists/darwinists/liberals who are not up for doing the most amazing mental somersaults and still not manage to fit it all together.  JAH moves in mysterious ways indeed.

I suspect the question is not are they going to have to cheat to make this replica ark but how much.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creationism 404

I had to laugh. Answers in Guinness is one of the leading creationist rackets in Amerika. They are responsible for the large Creationist 'museum' in Kentucky.

For The Living Dinosaur's excellent take on Ken Ham

Voting for this year's Converted and Prestigious Golden Crocoduck Award closes on the 14th.

It is awarded for the greatest breach of the ninth commandment in pursuance of the Creationist Cause. Ken Ham the not so pious founder of Answers in Guinness is not nominated for this year's award but may well be in the running for next year alongside stiff competition from Harun Yahya. For this year I am thinking Ian Juby. The other front runners being somewhat related Eric Hovind (brainpower can skip two generations) and Megasage007.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Down Pit

Looks like when I upload pics to the blogger they are uploaded backwards. So perhaps a more stream of consciousness post than usual. Possibly the shape of things to come...

Arrived at the National Coal Mining Museum. With Garth's Extension Group on first field trip. Here is a bit of a reminder of that Great Yorkshire Film Brassed Off as Grimethorpe Colliery band were in it as the band as it were.

Here I am with a banner.

I recall seeing some news footage in the last days of the NCB after the final defeat. Raising the flag of the National Coal Board when the pits were nationalised. Like this one.

The Mines rescue van. Just shows how dangerous coal mining can be.

The most famous of Bevin boys was perhaps Jimmy Saville.

who this?

Then the pits closed.

Alas coal mining was not the only dangerous and hazardous industry. But it was one of the most dangerous and hazardous.

History of the rescue van

Evidently rats went down the mines too. The fuckers!

hence it was wise to put your butties in a metal can. Our guide when we went below ground told us that on his first day down pit, the rats had his sandwiches quick as a flash so he went hungry.

We went below ground where there were exhibitions but all electronic equipment was 'contraband' and hence not permitted below ground, so we had to surrender our mobies as well as in my case my camera for safe keeping.

Here is a group photo of Garth's Extension Group.

Just a thought.....

With the coming of the Industrial Revolution coal mining became a vast industry. England ran out of trees to make charcoal and laws were passed to prevent the felling of the remaining forests, because oak was needed for the Royal Navy, which would be handy for a bid for Global Domination. So Abraham Darby I started smelting iron with coke (cooked coal, yes the industrial revolution was coke fueled......) up in Coalbrookdale. And the rest is history.

Generally with the coming of the industrial revolution family units initially continued to work together even in hazardous and dirty trades like coal mining. So women and kidz went down the pit. It seems that men would do hewing of the coal, women transport it and children operate traps.

Here is some winding gear I think.

The National Coal Mining Museum was previously of course a Coal Mine.

When deep mining started limited lighting would be provided by naked candle light, very hazardous.

And when legislation removed women from the mines traction was provided initially by horses, hence pit ponys.

Perhaps I thought I had a bit more to say in this post, perhaps more for the next one.

I recall Ewan McGregor saying of miners that they have an incredible sense of community, working in very tight spaces.

But more perhaps I recall Michelle Shocked singing 'The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore'

Beginning to appreciate the Jean Ritchie Original. Never thought I'd live to love the coal dust.

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