Tag Archives: Richard Fuller Bedford MP

1945! Myths and Spirits…

15 Jul

I’m spending far too much time these days whizzing back and forth up and down the A1 and other roads hence blogs are infrequent at present but here’s a borrowed one from the Anarchist Federation website which is well worth a visit! The Labour government of 1945 is often regarded as ushering in the “New Jerusalem” the NHS, social housing, education and more. Notwithstanding that successive governments of both kinds (and those fuckwitted Lib Dems) have unraveled much of what has been heralded, the simple reason for what was delivered by the 1945 administration was shaped by two wars and the recognition of revolutionary undertones! Enjoy!

 

The Myth of 1945

“We must give them reforms or they will give us revolution” – Quintin Hogg, Tory politician in 1943

A whole raft of personalities from Tony Benn to Ed Miliband to Jeremy Corbyn to Ken Loach with his film The Spirit of ’45 have praised the Labour Government of 1945. Of course along with the voting in of that government came the nationalisation of the railways, the mines, Bank of England, electricity and gas, and British Airways as well as the establishment of the National Health Service.

Spirit-470x260

Labour swept to power in 1945 with a majority of 145. After five years of war, many did not want to put up with a class ridden society which meant poverty and shortages for many. But the nationalisation that was carried out, bringing roughly 20% of the economy under State control (the Post Office had always been in State ownership, as had the National Grid), was something that was seen by sections of the ruling class as being essential for reconstruction after the war. In fact in France, the government of General De Gaulle (hardly a socialist in any sense of the word) had nationalised far more of the economy, including most banks and insurance companies, the Renault car company, gas and electricity, mines, Air France.

In terms of the big programme of social insurance brought in by Labour in 1945, we need to look back at the Beveridge Report drafted by the liberal economist William Beveridge in 1942. This report had pioneered the idea of a vast national insurance system, the “cradle to the grave” welfare state.

In fact Churchill, as leader of the Conservatives, was quite prepared to implement this if he had not been defeated in 1945. When it came to healthcare, all three main parties – Conservatives, Labour and Liberals – all had pledged to introduce a National Health Service in their manifestos!

The reforms brought in in 1945 were geared to firstly helping Britain reconstruct after the War and secondly head off any revolutionary movement by offering a package of reforms. The ruling class was fearful of another round of revolutions after World War Two after it had witnessed a similar scenario after World War One.

By 1948 an austerity package and wage freeze was introduced because of the economic crisis that had started the previous year. Sport was banned during the week because Labour believed that it encouraged absenteeism. Unemployment shot up from 400,000 to 1.5 million.

In 1951 Labour re-introduced charges for false teeth and glasses which up till then had been free under the NHS.

Within 6 days of coming to power Labour sent troops into the Surrey Docks in London to break a strike. Three months later Labour again sent troops in to break a national docks strike. They did this again in 1948. In 1950 Labour used the Navy to break a gas workers strike and had some strikers arrested and charged. Labour also used the courts against striking miners in 1947. In fact throughout its term of office Labour repeatedly acted against workers with the key target of keeping wages down.

In foreign policy Labour strove to preserve the British Empire and indeed that of other Empires, helping the Dutch in Indonesia for example. They intervened militarily in Egypt in 1951, threatened Iran in 1951 over oil interests (sound familiar?) shot down demonstrators and used napalm in Greece. They went back on their commitment to the end of military conscription, eagerly keeping it in place.

Labour re-established relations with the Franco dictatorship in 1951, bombed Indian villages in 1946, and applied vicious repressive measures in Kenya and Malaya.

The 1945-51 Labour Government was not a Golden Age. Far from it. The reforms that were passed, and that indeed made working people’s lives a little easier, would have been given just as readily by the Tories or Liberals. They were given because Britain needed to be rebuilt after the War and to head off unrest. To this day however, there are still those who continue to push the idea of a Labour government acting as a pioneering socialist administration.

Losers All!

10 May

And welcome back to Bedford Bypass! We have been very busy…Actually we haven’t. Just slouching about, watching the odd film and nipping back and forth to various bits of Norfolk. Truth is a malaise set in as soon as the election bandwagon started to make its presence felt. Big names slinking unannounced into town for hush hush photo opportunities to selected guests with the voting public finding out that so and so has been in town! It was in short a mind numbing seven weeks!

Against the odds (most local Conservatives had written off his chances) Richard Fuller retained his seat and the ever so dreary and tediously boring Patrick Hall (Labour) is still unemployed after five years in the wilderness! Here’s Patrick with fellow loser Ed Balls at some Bedford event to rally the troops not that it did him any good.

Ed and Dickhead! Patrick Hall met Ed Balls

Ed and Dickhead! Patrick Hall met Ed Balls

I did get a missive from Mahmud Henry Rogers who was the wannabe MP sacrificial lamb from the Lib Dems. He wanted to correct something that I didn’t say as he suggested that I’d suggested that he’d suggested he had dropped his opposition to tuition fees so I reproduce his comment here :

“You are mistaken. I said in the debate that I had forgiven Nick Clegg for making a mistake, which the Deputy Prime Minister admitted he had done. I did not say I had changed my mind on Tuition Fees.I remain against tuition fees, as I have always been”

The real gist of what I said was that Mahmud came across as a bit of a crawler of high degree although his wonderful ability to forgive Cleggy was heart warming and brought tears to my eyes, almost as Paul O Grady and the puppies! Mind you doling out pardons to turncoats didn’t do Mr Rogers any good. Or Clegg for that matter! Better luck next time Mahmud! Piss off Nick Clegg!

Bye bye Mahmud Henry Rogers!

Bye bye Mahmud Henry Rogers!

On the local council front Independent Doug (lights out) McMurdo retained his council seat despite being convicted of twatting representatives of his wards local youth! I like that, very amusing! All the carpet baggers on huge expenses retained their seats and it looks like the Lib Dem Mayor will once again team up with local Labour to run the show but at least this time they will have something very much in common, both parties got a good kicking from the electorate! But does that really matter when a Labour councillor keeps her seat and gets £21,000 plus £13,000 extra for being chair of the local fire service committee!

Meanwhile apart from a a few new faces nothings really changed, Labour will rebuild and the pendulum will start ticking back. Some grinning gooning charismatic type will lead them to victory and the whole sorry process starts again, the government will always win!

 

 

Mahmud Henry Rogers: Twat of the week!

10 Mar

Top notch scintalating edge of your chair action in Bedford as five of our wannabe MPs come together for a sort of low value brand “Question Time”. Complete and total fuckwit of all time award goes to the Liberal Democrat Mahmud Henry Rogers (unshaven with the yellow tie) who came out with the following two statements

“Mr Rogers admitted he had come to change his mind on the issue of student tuition fees, following the Lib Dems’ famous dropping of their stance against the policy in coalition negotiations following the 2010 general election. He had also changed from someone who had carried a placard against fees to one who had “grown to forgive Nick Clegg.” Good job or he wouldn’t have got the nomination! Creeping spineless gobshite!

The Famous Five!

The Famous Five!

It gets better… Mr Rogers had also experienced a change of heart on the issue of Bedford’s directly elected mayor.  “Liberals are suspicious of concentrations of power but this has worked well,” he said.  In case you don’t know the current mayor is a Liberal Democrat and if Mahmud upsets the Mayor you never know what might not happen.

Now read that again. Go on! Start at the “Mr Rogers admitted”  bit Now go and heave up your beans in the nearest bucket! What a pile of heavily soiled pungent nappies! An arsehole visible from space!

The panellists were also asked what they would do if they had their time in education again. Dr Foley from the Green Party thought about it for three hours said he would study computers and social responsibility; Mr Fuller said “physics” but added that he had been “rubbish” at it. You get the idea they are just having a giggle don’t you!

Mr Hall said he would go into engineering while Mr Henry said law and statistics interested him. We must chat about this over a pint Henry as you sound like a real good night out!

I would have thought given that they either want to get on or stay on the gravy train they would have said politics.

The bloke from UKIP didn’t seem to say much of any real interest. Mind you neither did the others but when it comes to spouting sewage and bile the Liberal Democrat was light years ahead of everyone else!

Regarding Henry

9 Feb
Probably the best publicity he's had for some time!

Probably the best publicity he’s had for some time!

You might have picked up on my conspiracy theory (of sorts) which suggests that the Bedford Lib Dems are just going to go through the motions as far as the Bedford and Kempston Parliamentary seat is concerned. It’s a two horse race between Labour and Conservatives, a dullard and a freeloader and the Lib Dem strategy would appear to be to concentrate on their power base of ensuring the Lib Dem Mayor is returned plus his coterie of councillors. The Labour group are behaving themselves and not lifting a finger that might upset the Mayor thus ensuring that they retain the ability to influence policy and bag rather tasty expenses.

I was wondering as to the Lib Dems candidate for the 2015 general election and when they’d get round to choosing the sap, I must have either blinked, been watching telly or otherwise distracted as it seems they chose some fresh faced typical laboratory cloned chap called Mahmud Henry Rogers about five months back but as far as can tell they’ve been keeping him under wraps since and his single utterance has been to “campaign” (i.e. in a press release)  against the closure of A&E up at the hospital along with all the other MP hopefuls plus a talk with the local CND Group. Wow!.

What is also noticeable is that whilst we have had the odd low key Lib Dem MP popping by for the photo opportunity we haven’t as yet had any big names. The insipid Clegg himself has visited in previous years but as his popularity is on a par with Somali pirates I would imagine his telephone calls asking to be invited to Bedford are being ignored.

Anyway here’s Mahmud Henry Rogers doing what Lib Dems do best and posing for a photo! If anyone spots him lurking around trying to get his pic taken anywhere else please let us know!

Bedford Councillors show us the way forward!

5 Feb

Up the top of the High St old buildings are being tarted up to restore their heritage. Around St Paul’s Sq the Old Shire Hall is receiving a similar spruce and they have just discovered that there is a much older wooden framed structure beneath a later exterior although the folk at Albion Archaeology and many others  knew about this some years back. Meanwhile an application has gone in to demolish the Tavistock Café near where Tavistock Street meets Roff Avenue. 8789779

Now you can’t just knock a building down and replace it without asking permission and circumstances dictate if it’ll be a yes or a no. Such trivial matters like listed building status can get in the way and councils employ experts to offer advice to bone headed councillors who have no particular expertise other than spouting rubbish most of the time and promises when the time comes to renew their place on the gravy train.

Officers recommended that the Tavistock Café application be refused on the basis of it conflicting with numerous council policies and the vague nature of how it would impact on the listed early 19th houses next door which without knowing the exact date puts it on the cusp between the Georgian and Victorian period with all the construction features of the former!

Cllr Will Hunt. Foremost expert on listed buildings!

Cllr Will Hunt. Foremost expert on listed buildings!

Now the Georgian Society is probably going to be interested in this nugget as despite the recommendation for refusal councillors opted to allow it with one of our fine noble community spirits Cllr Will Hunt saying  “The building next door may be old but it’s of no architectural merit”.

Now with urban architecture we are on a subject that I’m very familiar with and Cllr Hunt really is talking through his Hugh Janus here as Listed Status depends on not only architectural quality but general historical background and associations and then its position as part of a composite area. The Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool is relatively recent but is Listed as Grade 2* so while age is material it doesn’t follow that something has to be old and falling down to receive a grading. Tavistock Street is part of a conservation area and Hunt has just shown himself to be a total ignoramus of spectacular quality but like the Old Shire Hall a lot of us knew this some years back!

A Real Muppet

A Real Muppet

Je Suis un Bypass

13 Jan

I haven’t really felt up to writing. There’s some reasonably funny stuff been half sketched out but given events in Paris last week things seemed trivial. We visit Paris quite regularly, most years in fact. We are quite comfortable there but like most cities you need a rough knowledge of how the city fits together and a dash of common sense. Police sirens puncture the air all through the day and I guess as they are quite different to UK sirens you tend to notice them a bit more!

But last weeks events left a hole in my ability to imagine. I’m not making any connection with Charlie Hebdo, I had heard of it and scanned through the odd copy mostly as a result of its printing of the Danish cartoons. I don’t understand religion and I certainly struggle with the whole concept of fundementalism, that point where everything you think, breath and do is based on texts from a thousand plus years ago!

The new edition of Charlie Hebdo will it seems carry on the tradition of having a go at those that need it and apart from a new cover of the Prophet if indeed he looked like that they are pointing out that many of those doing the Je Suis thing have never bought a copy and whose political views might be diametrically opposed to the contents!

It's pretty good this marching business what ho!

It’s pretty good this marching business what ho!

Here’s the line up of world leaders wandering round Paris and at the front of the march just so you don’t forget who’s the boss, Cameron is towards the end of the line and I couldn’t get an importable copy of the image with him in. Agadoo springs to mind, or that New York song with high kicks.What a complete load of despots and hypocrites the lot of them. Benyamin Netanyahoo (sic) is there next to the man with the hat, don’t mention the Israeli bombing of Gaza which also saw 17 journalists killed, Tunisia, Turkey drone drone drone! There’s some nameless bloke that seems to be trying to cop a feel of the equally nameless woman at the side, after all it is Paris! And in a week or so it’ll will be mostly forgotten apart from by those directly affected. Then something else will happen! Maybe in Nigeria where we can tut and turn over or maybe closer to home where we can connect to the horror and vicissitude of it all and you know what? I can see it getting a whole lot worse.

Anyway now that the mental block has been shoved aside myself and my increasingly small circle of chums (one has cleared off to Norwich) will be scribbling ideas down as of now!

Man in the Shadows

21 Nov

It looks like the Conservatives round Bedford are struggling to find the enthusiasm to engage with the great unwashed even though they aren’t on the current Mayor’s cabinet and therefore not on the payroll. The chap with the turban is Jas Parmar and he’s the Conservative Mayoral candidate for next year scrap. Despite my extremely jaundiced view of and hostility towards Cameron and his cut-throats Jas is actually very affable. But he’s not going to get anywhere if all he can do to generate publicity is grin in the background when a total donkey like Boris Johnson calls into Bedford.

Bystander Jas just in the picture

Bystander Jas just in the picture

The bloke in the middle is current MP Richard Fuller who’s probably going to lose to be replaced by the embarrassingly dull Labour candidate Patrick Hall. Maybe?  Richard looks set to return to his full time business in the financial industry. Something he will find easy as despite being an MP he’s carried on working his socks off for huge sums of money despite being an MP.

Talking of which despite the town and surroundings being littered with closed down pubs and no end of evidence that the breweries are shafting their tenant landlords both Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt MP who cover much of North Bedfordshire voted against a recent bill that having been passed will prevent breweries over charging for cheap lager.

Photo-shop presents wonderful opportunities!

Photo-shop presents wonderful opportunities!

The comical thing about Bedford is that there are two tory MPs yet a Lib Dem Mayor. Labour may win the Bedford seat but will struggle to make a dent against the Lib Dem Mayor, an increasingly likely option given that they don’t have a candidate. Jas Parmar should in theory stand some chance of giving the current Mayor sleepless nights but given his track record up to now…well! All three sides have succumbed to mind rotting apathy.

Look! I’m not taking sides, I don’t care who wins but I want to see them work for it. It’s good to watch a bun fight from the wings and it’s also somewhat funny watching them squirm and screw things up so the next six months or so should be far better than the crap served up on telly.

Penny, Dullard Patrick and some anonymous MP at Bedford Station.

Penny, Dullard Patrick and some anonymous MP at Bedford Station.

Can You Help Identify this Burglar!

22 Oct

Yes folk we are teaming up with Bedfordshire Police and the piss poor Times and Citizen newspaper where we stole…lifted…nicked…purloined the photo from to see if anyone can help identify this burglar. Take a good hard look, maybe the clothes, the hairstyle, anything. If you do then let us know and you may win an award from Crimestoppers. Equally you may win an award from the Royal Institute for the Blind! Or asked to join the X Men as you’ve obviously got something going for you that we haven’t!

I think it's the right way up!

I think it’s the right way up!

The Bedford Diary..In Which Debs Traverses the Length of Tavistock St!

20 Oct

Tavistock Street doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations. During Tudor times, the butchers did their slaughtering in Butcher Row or the Shambles (roughly where St Pauls Square is now). They were told to clear away the “inwards and entrails” daily, but it was only taken as far as Offal Lane – the old name for Tavistock Street. Cynics would say that it’s been downhill ever since.   You sometimes hear people say that it is “letting the side down” – like a child caught picking its nose at a wedding – but Bedford isn’t exactly top drawer in the first place. Still our local leaders crave respectability – a sign of insecurity?

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Leading north from the town centre, Tavistock Street is on the A6, therefore the first part of Bedford that a lot of visitors get to see. Maybe that’s why the local dignitaries are worried about the impression it gives – never mind that locals like me are happy with it just as it is, thank you very much. A conservation area, Tavistock Street has many interesting early Victorian buildings, mixed with infill of varying degrees of sympathy with the older stock.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Starting at the town end, on the left we see the high wall of the northern boundary of Bedford Prison. Outsiders are often shocked to hear that Bedford has a fully-functioning category B prison in its centre, but the locals hardly give it a thought. When the site was chosen for the first prison building over 200 years ago, this was on the edge of the town – and like everywhere else, the population grew, the town expanded and the prison was swallowed up.  Famous inmates include James Hanratty, and for all you fans of Big Brother (I know you’re out there) Jade Goody’s father. On the other side, tucked behind much older buildings, a 1970’s multi-storey car park widely derided as a white elephant since it was built. Situated just that little bit too far from the shops, in the days when all on-road parking was free; it has never been well used so is regarded as a money loser. The area immediately to the north was demolished in the early 1970’s. Comprising streets of two up two downs thrown up in the mid-19th century without foundations, these houses were not missed. Older readers might remember the scene in Some Mothers do ‘ave em, when Frank moves house, shuts the door for the last time and the house collapses in on itself. That was reportedly filmed there.  

Further up, a YMCA built a few years ago to replace a defunct petrol station. Another reason to view Tavistock Street with suspicion – it’s full of young people, and as we all know young people are always up to no good. Does any other country fear and dislike its young people as much as the British? Just a thought.

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The main reason for the less than salubrious reputation is because it houses the towns one sex, I mean “Private” shop. On the ground floor of a fine three story terrace, on the corner of a square whose houses would fetch millions in London; it strikes an incongruous note. Time was, you could always rely on seeing a man scurrying out, head down and with a parcel under his arm. The internet has put paid to all that – I can’t remember the last time I saw someone entering or leaving the building, but still it limps on. For a short time there was another sex shop across the road, much larger and with a bold fascia that left the onlooker with no doubt as to what lay inside. A sign boasted that the premises had a discrete rear entrance for the faint-hearted, but it wasn’t enough to save it. Finally, the sauna and massage parlour above a fried chicken take away. From the decrepit state of the window frames, it looks like it’s not exactly making money hand over fist either.

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry...

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry…

This ex-sex shop is now an Indian restaurant, the other industry Tavistock Street is well known for.   Rusholme in Manchester is well known for its curry mile, and Tavistock Street in Bedford could be said to have its very own curry quarter mile. Doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, but a marketing opportunity has been missed there.

One of the local councillors is quite sniffy about the area, recently stating that the signs above the convenience stores and Indian restaurants are “garish”, implying that they needed toning down. Of course they are, they’re supposed to be – they’re trying to attract customers. What did she want, a tasteful makeover with National Trust colours? Another example of the tendency these days to want everything gentrified, tidied up, dare I say looking middle class.

Near the top is a forgotten about side street I sometimes wander along when I feel like trying to recreate the past – Tavistock place. Now mainly used to access a health centre car park and old peoples’ flats, it has a handful of modest recent low-rise housing, Victorian lock-ups and an interesting old terrace of five houses, which have back doors but no front doors. I once tried to have a good look through the window of the one without net curtains as discretely as possible and got yelled at, which serves me right I suppose. Tavistock Place was also the site of Bedford’s last doss house, closed in the mid 1950’s.

We've become so lazy we are re-using old photo's from two years back!

We’ve become so lazy we are re-using old photo’s from two years back!

Tavistock Street has many thriving businesses, some of which have been there for decades, not bad going for an area supposed to be poor and dangerous, full of the young and ethnic minorities and crime and people who keep irregular hours. I’ve walked down it at least twice a day for the last eighteen years, and see a completely different place to the one referred to by the scaremongers in trembling tones. Where else would you see the last workman’s café in Bedford (first picture) next door to a large Georgian house containing a solicitor, then two elderly cottages? Hands off, I say!

 

Editors chance to add something so I feel as if I’ve contributed something!

 

And another piece of Bedford’s past revealed thanks to Debs who is very often Out and About! By the way Jade Goody’s dad walked out of Bedford Prison unlike James Hanratty who was carried out having been dead close on four years. After being hanged (April 1962) he was interred near the wall, dug up a few years later as they wanted to start an allotment then taken to his Aunt’s grave near Watford.  Despite sufficient evidence that a Peter Alphon was the real dastardly A6 villain shoddily stored DNA evidence that wouldn’t be admissible today has to date prevented Hanratty from being pardoned. For further light entertaining reading, nice with a cuppa and Hob Nobs* try “Who Killed Hanratty” by Paul Foot!

 

*other biscuits may available.

 

If Symptoms Persist……

15 Oct

Take with food! Look I haven’t been well. Really bad cold. Sniffling and wheezing, where does it all come from I ask. Been to the chemist. Usual third degree as they know I take insulin so they won’t sell me Lep Sips though you can get them from the paper shop down the road no questions asked. Actually I don’t “take “ insulin, I inject it with a very natty pen thing into my thigh so when the opportunity arises in polite company I can say with zeal that I can see the positive side of injecting drugs. Contains Paracetemol. I’ve been looking at the Borough Council website and …ta da! There’s a meeting of the Rural Affairs Committee coming up and I guarantee it will be a hoot! Seriously, you wouldn’t want to miss it. The last one in April went on for ten minutes.

AH yes Mr Bypass you are looking much better!

AH yes Mr Bypass you are looking much better!

A full ten minutes. Do not take with any other Paracetemol based product. Ten staggering minutes of hot topics to entertain the throng that consisted of just three people, Dave the Mayor, Cllr Muttley Royden and CllrDoug McMurdo (and some council bod taking notes who must have had a real sore arm by the end of the night. Do not repeat the dose within four hours. This next meeting may be even thinner on the ground as Cllr Doug has had to vacate his position of note while he defends himself on charges of whacking some youth up in rural Sharnbrook but being honest that could have really enlivened the Rural Affiars meeting. May cause drowsiness. I once thought it would be funny if the Rural Affaiirs Committee was exactly that…a detailed list of who was rumoured to be humping who in the country park at night and whether dubious Borough Council staff members were using council purchased surveillance equipment to film proceeding, you may know who I mean. But no…this coming meeting will be looking grant requests..in fact it seems to a shorter agenda than the April one which in case I didn’t tell you lasted all of ten minutes. If symptoms persist please consult your doctor. The January meeting lasted for ten minutes as well. Pass that bottle of Night Nurse Debs! ….Please!