Dead Socialist Watch, #313

[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.


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.

Iraqi Employees: fine words, shabby deeds

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?
Continue reading “Iraqi Employees: fine words, shabby deeds”

Dead Socialist Watch, #312

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

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.

Monday Marseillaise Blogging

Haven’t had any of this for a while. Here’s a bit of film from 1907:

David Bordwell writes, of a recent screening:

“There were many early attempts to record synchronous sound, though all too often the accompanying discs have been lost even if the image track survives. The 1907 films contained a few such, but one, La Marseillaise, had its singer’s original voice, remarkably clear and perfectly synchronized. The result was an unusually poignant and vivid sense of a link to a hundred-year-old performance, an immediacy that went beyond what most silent films can convey, wonderful though they might be.