A beautiful song – with a beautiful sentiment 😉 – from Drever, McCusker, Woomble

I’m always reflective the day after Beltane (and I don’t think it’s just the hangover) so I’m posting a song by Martin Simpson which is particularly special to me…

As of tomorrow I’m booking myself in for a Digital Detox.

And to enjoy life in the slow lane I’ll be kicking back to The Unthanks…

Why not join me?

Instead of wasting you life in front of a computer screen why not learn that instrument you always wanted to play? Or kiss the next person who makes you smile? Life is short. Enjoy it.

Stay sexy.

See you soon 😉

This Saturday there will be a protest against the BNP in Morley, Yorkshire. This is an important event, as Folk Against Fascism say…

Nick Griffin believes Morley & Outwood is the BNP’s top target in Yorkshire. And for good reason. BNP member Chris Beverley is already a councillor in the area — and in the 2008 local elections, the BNP polled more votes than any other party.

Morley & Outwood Day of Action

Saturday, 17 April, 2010,10:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Unity Hall, 2 Commercial Street, Morley, LS27 8HY

The proposed Digital Economy Bill is nothing more than a form of collective punishment that will disproportionately effect the poorer sections of society – which unfortunately includes me! This legislation goes against many of the core values on which our justice system was founded – innocent until proven guilty anybody? In reality it is designed to protect the interests of large multi-national monopolies who have been fleecing people for years; now the big boys would like to use our government to protect – and expand – their ill-gotten gains. Anyone who professes a love for liberty should take a stand against this travesty of justice – before they decide to make pirates of us all!

It was legendary priest turned pirate, Caraccioli, who observed:

‘that every Man was born free, and had as much right to what would support him, as to the air he respired… that the vast difference betwixt man and man, the one wallowing in luxury, and the other in the most pinching necessity, was owing only to avarice and ambition on the one hand, and a pusillanimous subjection on the other … ambition creeping in by degrees, the stronger family set upon and enslaved the weaker; and this additional strength over-run a third, by every conquest gathering force to make others, and this was the first foundation of monarchy.’

Nowadays our government has become such that it protects the strong at the expense of the weak – it has abandoned the principles of liberty and justice to appease those latter-day monarchs, the corporations and the bankers.  Once again the only reasonable course of action for those of us who possess a freeborn heart is piracy! – or at least a bit of Wi-Fi sharing 😉

'The Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem'
by Matteo di Giovanni

Nowadays it seems as if our children are either being targeted by marketing men or demonised by the media, but we once celebrated them on at least one day of the year.

I’m not a Christian, but I do have a soft spot for the holidays, traditions and rituals which used to make the English year so much more interesting. I can’t help feeling that we would help both our community and our sanity if we slowed down and observed some of the old customs – especially when they offer a marked change to our everyday expectations.

Childermas, also known as’ Cross Day’ or ‘Holy Innocents Day’, commemorates the time when, according to the Bible, King Herod ordered the massacre of all children under the age of two in Bethlehem in an attempt to thwart the prophecies surrounding the infant Jesus. Matthew 2:16-18…

When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

The tragic nature of this event, commemorated in England on December 28th, led to the belief that the day itself was unlucky; so much so that the day on which Childermas fell would be regarded as unlucky throughout the year – with Childermas falling on the dreaded back-to-work Monday this year a lot of people will sympathise with this belief. It was said that anything started on this day would be doomed to failure. A popular saying for failed ventures was “It must have been begun on Cross Day!”

But Childermas was also a time to celebrate children and childhood. And it is for this reason that I believe we should revive the custom.

On December 28th children were given a degree of freedom that was denied them the rest of the year. They were allowed to play in churches and were not allowed to be chastised by anyone (Daily Mail* readers may think that this is a normal state of affairs for children in the 21st Century, but Western children live in a culture which is so physically and psychologically restricting that it’s no wonder that some of them go off the rails – maybe they need to be allowed to be children rather than consumers?). Giving our children free rein on at least one day of the year would not only help them develop a healthy taste for liberty, it would remind us of the freedom that we ourselves have lost.

Spend a day letting your children call the shots and I guarantee that you will have a day to remember. Their pace of life is as hectic as our own, but it is far more human – where our day is ‘filled’, there’s is ‘fulfilled’ 🙂

As his finest biographer, Richard Ingrams observed, ‘William Cobbett urged parents to make their childrens lives as ‘pleasant as you possibly can’:

I have always admired the sentiment of ROUSSEAU upon this subject. ‘The boy dies, perhaps at the age of ten or twelve. Of what use, then, all the restraints, all the privations, all the pain you have inflicted upon him? He falls, and leaves your mind to brood over the possibility of you having abridged a life so dear to you.’ I do not recollect the very words; but the passage made a deep impression upon my mind, just at the time, too, when I was about to become a father … I was resolved to forego all the means of making money, all the means of making a living in any thing like fashion, all the means of obtaining fame or distinction, to give up everything, to become a common labourer, rather than make my children lead a life of restraint and rebuke.’

If we, for but one day, can match Cobbet’s resolve, then we may well do our children the greatest service any parent can hope for, we may instil in them an independence that so many of us will never get to enjoy.

HAPPY CHILDERMAS!

*The Daily Mail is a bitter and vitriolic daily British newspaper which is so authoritarian in its philosophy that it once described the leader of the black-shirted British Union of Fascists (BUF – how homoerotic is that?), Oswald Mosley, as “a leader of genius”.

A traditional song with significance for St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day (26th December) beautifully performed by Chumbawamba

Taken from the very excellent ‘English Rebel Songs 1381-1984‘.

For various reasons (largely work related 😦 ) this blog has been pretty quiet recently. But after re-reading Paul Kingsnorth’s ‘What England Means to Me’ post I have been reminded of the reasons why I created this blog in the first place. I cannot be the only person to LOVE ENGLAND, HATE FASCISM, so from now on I shall endeavour to try harder – i.e. post more blogs and actively fight for the English Libertarian cause. In the meantime here’s Paul’s excellent post…

What England Means to Me

Paul Kingsnorth

A few years back, I found myself in a narrow valley on the border between England and Wales. There are some landscapes – fewer as time passes – in which it seems that time has, if not exactly stood still, then been hijacked by some outside force for its own ends. There are some landscapes in which you can sense the ancient heart of the place in the air. This was one of them.

It was a landscape of scattered hill farms, high moors, hedge-lined holloways and winding brooks. Save for the odd industrial shed tacked on to a farmyard, or barbed wire fence, there was little of contemporary England about it. There were few cars. And everywhere, there were textures.

The textures of this valley became more and more noticeable as I walked its length. I took out my camera and began to photograph them at close quarters. Robbed of their wider context they look, when printed, like abstractions. The jigsaw bark of an old tree; white air bubbles on the surface of a blue pond; another tree’s bark, glossy this time and mottled; green moss on a purple gravestone; tree roots snaking through the dust; the parallel lines of a corrugated iron roof.

A legion of textures, colours, surfaces, pictures, crowding in on one another; the patchy, unplanned, diversity of place. This is what England means to me. Place, above all, is what makes my England. A small nation, shaped by humans for millennia, has no place which does not bear the mark of that shaping. Contemporary England is a patina; a palimpsest of historical eras, of times, of peoples. Everywhere there is colour, culture, history.

But England means something else, too. England means the rise of capital; the birthplace of the industrial revolution. England means enclosure, and empire. England invented much of the modern world, and what it invented is now destroying it. England is eating itself.

Look around you. Where are those textures? What is happening to them? Where I live, the texture of place is rapidly being overrun by the corporate non-places which our economic progress apparently requires of us: the malls, the motorways, the clone stores; the faceless ragbag of globalised, plasticised corporate clutter which allows us to “grow” and “compete” and remain players in a global economy which is spiralling out of control. It is an economy which eats up colour and character and spits our conglomeration and control. In the Brave New World of flexible labour markets, 24-hour consumerism and £5 air tickets, belonging to a place and having any feeling for it is a serious stumbling block on the road to the future.

But what England also means to me is the spirit of its people: a spirit which has at its heart a contradiction. One the one hand the English are – frustratingly – some of the most obedient people on Earth. Their pubs can be sold off for executive flats, their landscapes ripped apart by motorways, their folk culture scorned, their community gathering points shut down in the name of Health and Safety, their high streets scoured out by Tesco – and most of them will just shrug their shoulders, moan about the government and head for the out-of-town shopping centre. Sometimes, the English could do with being a bit more – well, French.

And yet there is another English spirit too, which arouses in me hope rather than despair. It is the spirit which marches to save Post Offices; which ties itself to bulldozers to save beauty spots from destruction; which saves its local pub and fights yet another shopping mall development in its historic towns. It is, perhaps, the spirit channelled by Gerrard Winstanley, John Ball, John Clare, William Morris – and William Cobbett, who railed two hundreds years ago against “The Thing”. The Thing is still with us. It’s bigger now, and greedier and it eats texture, patina, place and peculiarity for breakfast. But maybe – just maybe – England is beginning to wake up. I hope so.

Paul Kingsnorth’s book Real England is published by Portobello. www.realengland.co.uk

Important news for beer lovers…

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Pub Revolution are…

…a growing army of Tenants and Leaseholders who have quite frankly had enough of the constant bullying and blatant theft of the Pubcos. United we stand and divided we fall, at the current rate of 53 a week and rising. Waiting for the outcome of all the government enquiries and ludicrous spin will be too late for us all. We have decided it’s time to take control of our own destiny, become empowered and take our trade back for ourselves before this great British institution becomes a thing of the past. The stark reality is that our cash is all that is enabling the bullying Pubcos to survive. If they didn’t have OUR money they wouldn’t exist. Let’s do it. Let’s have a PUB REVOLUTION and finish them off! Join us now, if we can get mass support up and down the country then on a date TBA, we will all stop paying them rent and buying tied products – all at the same time. It will:

a) cut off their cash flow sending them under
b) enable us to reduce our prices for the consumer across the board getting them back into our pubs
c) allow us to pay our bills
d) enable us to earn a living again
e) we can pay a FAIR rent to the administrators
f) give us the cash to carry out essential repairs that the Pubcos should be doing, but aren’t
g) give us freedom of product choice, great for the consumer and small brewer. Even the big boys will get a better price from us!
h) even the machine operators will be better off-they won’t have to pay the Pubcos royalty fees.
i) No more trumped up invoices for rating appeals
j) No more emergency delivery charges
k) No more Brulines gestapo
L) and no more useless BRMs

The list is endless. Please feel free to add to it!

What can they do? Take us all to court? Not without our money they can’t, besides, it takes on average 3 months to get ONE leaseholder into court for none payment so imagine how long it would take to get 10 thousand into court. They wouldn’t survive one month if we all stopped paying! How long would we stop payment for? As long as it takes!

Pledge your support now and let’s take control of OUR trade, OUR livelihoods and OUR lives.

Once we’ve taken care of Publican Enemy Number1, addressing all the other issues that have created the perfect storm will be a whole lot easier!
Sign up and pledge your support now, bring on the PUB REVOLUTION NOW!

If, like me, you have a passion for real ale, then you owe it to yourself to try and help to turn back the tide of pub-closures which has been brought about largely by the greed of Pubcos. Join Pub Revolution today!

For more information visit the PUB REVOLUTION Facebook page or email ukmassbeercott@aol.com

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After a rather long wait the Folk Against Fascism (FAF) website is now up and running and I’m pleased to tell you that it’s even better than expected 🙂

Apart from news and information there’s a nice selection of tunes and a blog, which is currently being written by Jon Boden of (among many, many other things) Bellowhead fame. Boden sends a very poignant message in this post where he talks about the late, great Peter Bellamy and the problem of politics in folk music…

Politics should only become an issue when political groups attempt to annexe traditional folk music/song/dance/custom to their own political agenda and attempt to restrict participation on the basis of background, politics, colour etc. This is currently the case with the BNP, and resisting that attempt is where Folk Against Fascism comes in.