Archive for February, 2008

Dead Socialist Watch, #313

February 29th, 2008

[The DSW is unfazed by 29 February.]

Dorothy Jewson, socialist and feminist; from the Jewson sawmill family, Dorothy became a socialist while studying classics at Girton College, Cambridge. After a short spell as a teacher, she returned to Norwich to be active in the WSPU and she published The Destitute of Norwich and how they Live: a Report into the Administration of out Relief (1912), and during the First World War she managed a training centre for unemployed girls. She became an organizer for the National Federation of Women Workers in London in 1916, and was elected Labour MP for Norwich in 1923 — her maiden speech was on the extension of voting rights to younger women — though was defeated in 1924, 1929 and 1931. She served on lots of committees in the 1920s and 1930s, for the ILP as well as on the county council, and was a partisan of family allowances and easier access to birth control. A pacifist, in later years she joined the Quakers. Born in Norwich 17 August 1884, died, also in Norwich, 29 February 1964.

“But the truth is that the birth of Kosovo is also a profound testament of the failure of the nation state form in Europe to accommodate ethnic diversity.”

February 28th, 2008

My old friend Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in the Indian Express, over here.

(The Michael Mann article he mentions is over here.)

TV

February 27th, 2008

We have a TV at home, which isn’t switched on very often. I watch the Tour de France in July on Eurosport, Doctor Who in the late Spring on BBC1, football matches when there’s a World Cup or European Championship on, the Eurovision Song Contest each year in May, the Six Nations and other rugby internationals, a general election every four years or so, and I used to watch Test Match cricket until that disappeared off to Sky Sports, which we don’t get. And that’s about it. Now I read that the BBC on Saturday put on a surprising number of programmes that I do want to watch, and as a result is apologising to the viewing public at large. Bah!

(As it happens I wasn’t at home to watch, anyway, and missed most of it, except for the second half of Ireland v Scotland in a pub in St Andrews.)

P.S. Oh, and I watched the finals of both Strictly Come Dancing and the X-Factor just before Christmas. So that’s a little bit more TV to add to the annual viewing cycle.

The United States (According to Country Music Lyrics)

February 27th, 2008

map1.jpg

[from, thanks NB]

Monday Marseillaise Blogging (Special Tuesday Edition)

February 26th, 2008

Here’s the French football team and the better part of a hundred thousand fans singing the Marseillaise before the start of the 1998 World Cup Final. (Starts at 5 minutes in; jump forwards to 5.48 or so for Jacques Chirac in full-throated song.)

Iraqi Employees: fine words, shabby deeds

February 26th, 2008

The indefatigable Dan Hardie writes:

Do you like reading fine words? Here is the Prime Minister on the subject of Iraqi ex-employees of the British Government, speaking in the House of Commons on October 9th, 2007:

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of our civilian and locally employed staff in Iraq, many of whom have worked in extremely difficult circumstances, exposing themselves and their families to danger. I am pleased therefore to announce today a new policy which more fully recognises the contribution made by our local Iraqi staff, who work for our armed forces and civilian missions in what we know are uniquely difficult circumstances.”

Fine words. What about deeds?
(more…)

“The bear loves, licks, and forms her young; but bears are not philosophers.”

February 26th, 2008

Edmund Burke on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in the Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791).

Autoimmune Schadenfreude

February 26th, 2008

The knitty professor, a dear friend and former flatmate, on autoimmune Schadenfreude.

DSW, #72

February 24th, 2008

Tommy Douglas, leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the New Democratic Party, and the founding father of Medicare; born 20 October, 1904, died 24 February 1986.

Dead Socialist Watch, #312

February 22nd, 2008

Elizabeth Wright Macauley, actress, feminist and Owenite socialist. After twenty years as an actress, going “from one low-paid and badly reviewed theatrical production to another” [ODNB], she joined the Owenite co-operative socialists, their emphasis on gender equality being “well suited to Macauley’s insubordinate temperament” [ditto]. “Women have too long been considered as playthings, or as slaves”, she said in 1832, “but I hope the time is at hand, when we shall hold a more honourable rank in the scale of creation”. The ODNB also reports the useful information that she gave acting lessons to a group of French Saint-Simonians visiting London in the early 1830s, which sound fun. Born in York around 1785, she died, also in York, 22 February 1837.

East Coast Line

February 22nd, 2008

I’m currently sitting on a train just north of York, heading for Scotland, and pleasantly surprised to have a working internet connection. And this post is partly to see whether I can post to the Stoa from the comfort of seat 53 in coach B of the 1030 from King’s Cross, but also to record that the train was held up for 15 minutes between Doncaster and York because someone mistook the flushing toilet for the train being on fire.

DSW, #263

February 22nd, 2008

Annie Barnes, née Cappuccio, socialist and suffragist. Involved in suffragette activities in East London from 1912 (on one occasion scattering leaflets from the Monument in London), she joined the Labour Party in 1919 and served on Stepney Council 1934-7 and 1941-9.  Born c.1887, probably in Stepney, died in East Ham, 22 February 1982.

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