Tuesday 29 March 2011

Update on the situation in Libya

I received an e-mail from on Saturday from Deputy Leader Clegg who is sounding a bit too much "Churchillian" for my liking.

Subject:   Update on the situation in Libya
From:   "Nick Clegg MP" <LIBDEMSFEDERAL@emarketing.etelligent.uk.com>
Date:   Sat, March 19, 2011 2:28 am
To:   chrishl@chrishobbs.com

Dear friend,

As you will have seen in the news our coalition government has successfully led
efforts in the UN Security Council to agree a ‘no-fly zone’ across Libya.

Colonel Gaddafi’s treatment of his own people has been brutal, savage and wholly
unacceptable. We have worked with Libya’s regional neighbours, especially the Arab
League, and countries across the globe, to secure a resolution in UN Security
Council. This resolution will allow us to act lawfully in deploying our forces to
up-hold a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya.

The Prime Minister gave a statement yesterday, which you can read here
http://www.etelligent.uk.com/etelligent/mp-getURL.asp?SOID=545&CC=LIBDEMSFEDERAL&CID=163319&CEMAIL=chrishl@chrishobbs.com&LID=4413&SEID=2056&T=0&FRM=2 And on Monday we will have a full debate in the House of Commons, followed by a vote. In addition we will be publishing a summary of the legal advice of the Attorney-General. That is the right approach. This is a coalition government that will act decisively to protect innocent lives and uphold universal human rights. But one which will do so working with, not against, international law and the international community. Best wishes, Nick Clegg MP Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

But apart from the tone of this mail, what worries me most is that he calls "Gaddafi’s treatment of his own people has been brutal, savage and wholly unacceptable". Well you can say that about half the countries in this world of ours, but it seems that only Libya warrants the attentions of the Coalition - I wonder why?
And also I don't know where he gets this notion that his "government that will act decisively to protect innocent lives and uphold universal human rights". Judging by the repeated actions of his government, the protection and security of its citizens,and their human rights come a poor second to the demands of pursuing draconian economic policies that succor the rich and wealthy,and punish the poor and dispossessed. It is a shame that I can't get a UN resolution to impose a "no-bluster zone" on the outpourings of this coalition government of ours. I am sure it would be welcomed by all shades of opinion, both at home and abroad 

Friday 25 March 2011


The Conservatives are not alone in the field of announcements and promises. In the interests of balance (and apologies once again for the poster) I have attached on from 1997 and the NEW Labour Party. This announcement by Tony Blair is also rich in vision and promise - "to build a nation with pride in itself, rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, confident in political change"
Thirteen years later I think we can safely say that paradise has definitely been put on hold. - those who are looking for jam tomorrow are getting perturbed In many respects you could argue that New Labour achieved the opposite of what it set out to do - a bitterly divided and corrupt nation, economic meltdown, social injustice and a stagnant political system that is long past its sell-by date. But that is the nature of life, you set out with good intentions but someone/something always comes along and scuppers it - in my case I had the double whammy of Thatcher and Blair. 

Sheffield loses another of her sturdy citizens

I came across this obituary the other month dated 23rd July 1895 for a Mr John Watts, What struck me was the language employed by the writer
"Sheffield loses another of her sturdy citizens - men who by their enterprise, integrity and business aptitude have helped to build up the prosperity of the city and the character of its inhabitants. Mr Watts was a typical Sheffielder. He had a generous hand and a kindly heart, and his genial personality and hospitality were known to many"  .
The language bears a strong resemblance to that being uttered by members of the Coalition government, In fact their "growth strategy" is based around enterprise, integrity and business acumen, The only problem is that this type of person has been on the "endangered species" for many years. In fact you can argue he is heading for extinction. (as is the "typical Sheffielder" mentioned in the article).
According to the writer, it was people like John Watts who helped to build the prosperity of the city and the character of its inhabitants.but these are just a few of the incidents that were taking place in Sheffield towards the end of John's life

If this is prosperity the writer talks about I would want no part of it - late nineteenth century Britain for the majority of people was a living hell where squalor, poverty, disease and cruelty were commonplace. I hope that the current Coalition government are not hankering for a return to the good old days! .

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Too Much Sun is Bad For You

At these times of national crisis, when the Coalition government is doing all that it can to promote the security and prosperity of its people, it comes as a bit of a surprise to find out that this is not the first time a  Coalition has grappled with the vagaries of "the dismal science". I came across the following poster for the Conservative party in 1929 which pointed towards a new world for those who had suffered so much in the Great War and the ensuing depression of the 1920's

Of course these ideals, principles and policices that were proudly announced by the Conservative Party proved to be just that, announcements. In fact, the Conservative led Coalition or "National" governments of the 1930's did just about the opposite of what they announced in 1929. War. The 'Giant Evils' of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness which William Bevridge alluded to in 1942 report enjoyed full reign in the 1930's, evils which the national government of the time positively encouraged with its narrow and insular outlook. Their justification for the policies they pursued was that there was no alternative after the financial crash of 1929.

The current coalition are also making a series of announcements similar to those uttered in 1929 but their policies and principles are more or less in line with those of the National governemts of the 1930's - I wonder if history will repeat itself. mm...

Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Liberal Democrats at Play

I have just received an e-mail this morning that has really "hacked me off". Not satisfied with burdening this country with a bunch of reactionaries, the Liberal Democrats seem to be utilizing the very public services they are decimating, to promote the policies of a Tory government that just cannot be trusted

The mail is 
" The Liberal Democrats’ conference runs in Sheffield from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 March 2011 and may affect your journey to the University and back home.
An area around the City Hall will be fenced off and there will be extra police officers within the city centre. Planned protests may take place near the conference venue.(probably Ringinglow Moors if SYPD have there way)
Public transport
Buses will be diverted to avoid the city centre (Pinstone Street/Leopold Street) on all three days.  Full details are on the Travel South Yorkshire website www.travelsouthyorkshire.com and on notices displayed on bus stops. The Traveline number is 01709 515151.
Road closures
Some roads in the immediate vicinity of the City Hall and Barker’s Pool area will be closed in the day time on all three days (7am to 7pm but
times may vary). Further temporary closures may be made.
Parking restrictions
A number of on street parking bays will be out of use. Please check signage as this will be enforced. There will be no parking throughout the weekend on Surrey Street, Trippet Lane and Carver Street.
Hackney Cabs
During the day time, the taxi rank in Barkers Pool will be relocated to the bus stops on Pinstone Street.
More details are available at
(http://www.southyorks.police.uk/news/08032011/5023/public-information-for-sheffield-residents-for-11-13-march) and www.sheffield.gov.uk
Live updates will also be on the South Yorkshire Police Facebook page, on Twitter @syptweet and on local radio stations.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

2011 Census - More Misery from the ONSS

On the same day as I read about Sgt John Broadley, I received from the Office of National Statistics a large booklet to complete for inclusion in the UK's 2011 Census.
Whilst researching my family history and articles on my website, I have made extensive use of the C19th UK Census's. In fact they have proved invaluable.
I worked as an Assitant Census Officer on the 1991 Census and it proved to be a fascinating insight into the fag-end of "Thatchers Brave New World". Certainly an eye-opening experience!
I do not have any real objection to completeing the current form, but I was greatly disheartened to see that the ONS once again could not resist threats and coercion against people who have genuine objections to divulging information

"The fine for not completing and returning a 2011 Census questionnaire is up to £1,000.You may also have to pay costs.
The amount of the fine for not completing the 2011 Census questionnaire will be determined in each individual case by the magistrate. The fine is subject to level 3 on the standard scale under the Criminal Justice Act.
Any revision to the Criminal Justice Act could change the fine for an offence under the Census Act 1920" 

The "freedom fighters" of our coalition government appear to be rather "tardy" in revoking this crass pece of legislation. In the absence of any meaningful action on the part of the coalition , the only course of action left open to people who object to the 2011 Census questions is to take a leaf out of the Con-Lib manifesto and LIE!!!

John Duncan Broadley - WW2 grave in England

This weekend I was contacted by a TV documentary maker who is proposing to produce a documentary on the 1944 Amiens Prison raid by RAF Mosquito's led by Group Captain P.C. 'Pick' Pickard, DSO, DFC, CzMC  
His navigator "Bill" Broadley accompanied "Pick" on the raid, and as it was a few months since I had looked at the article I though I would check and see if I could find any addirional information.

Sadly I did not, but did come across the following letter from the  OTAGO DAILY TIMES that concerned a Sgt. John Duncan Broadley who was from New Zealand
WW2 grave in England
Thursday, 30 Jul 2009 - OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Hello, I am writing from a small village in rural Suffolk, England.
In our churchyard we have a number of WW2 Commonwealth graves. One is of a Sgt.
John Duncan Broadley. He served with the New Zealand Air Force and was killed on 29/09/1941 aged 23.
I believe he came from the Dunedin area. I am wondering if there are any relatives or
friends that would like me to send them some photos of the grave, I would be more than
happy to do so.
I often put flowers on his grave, as I feel sorry that he is so far from home and has
no-one to look after him.
Regards, Sally Higgins
On a very rainy summers day in Ringshall, Suffolk, England.
I can be contacted on my e- mail address - dsln.higgins4@tesco.net

A few details related to the above newspaper story.
28-29th September 1941
99 Squadron - Wellington IC Z8869 LN- Op: Frankfurt
Took off 1911 hrs from RAF Waterbeach. Collided with a line of trees and exploded and
crashed 0055 hrs at Stone Farm Great Finborough, 2 miles south west of Stowmarket,

Sgt. J S F. Watt +
Sgt. J D. Broadley RNZAF +
Sgt. J W. Humphrey RCAF +
Sgt. H. Martin +
Sgt. J K. Whitfield +
Sgt. D. Richardson +
BCL Vol.2 - W R. Chorley.
Frankfurt 28-29 September 1941
30 Hampdens and 14 Wellingtons. 1 Hampden and 1 Wellington lost. 5 aircraft crashed
in England.
Source: Bomber Command War Diaries - Middlebrook / Everitt

Cemetery: Ringshall (St. Catherine) Churchyard, Suffolk, England
Rank: Sergeant (Pilot)
Official Number: 403937
Unit: 99 (RAF) Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force
Nationality: New Zealand
Details: 29th September 1941 Age 23 Son of George and Alice Manwell Broadley; husband of Agnes J Broadley of Port Chalmers Otago New Zealand Row?B

And so after some 70 years people still care, and honour those who lost their lives in the war against nazism.

There is a photo of John's grave in St. Catherine's Churchyard on-line but the people who host the photo have decided to watermark it with a copyright logo, and charge people a excessive fee for a non-watermarked copy. 

I will leave my comments on their actions unrecorded, but they are in a marked contrast to my admiration for Sally Higgins 

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Sheffield Man marries Doris Day after Swearing

I came across an entry in the FreeBMD index which is like thousands of others

Marriages Sep 1928 quarter Hayes William E married a Miss Day  Sheffield Volume 9c Page 1256

On the face of it a straightforward marriage but prior to the Marriage Mr Hayes encountered a bit of trouble. The Guardian dated 20th September 1928 reported that Mr Hayes was prone to giving false oaths so that he could marry Doris Day!!!

84 Years in the same house

From The Sun dated Tuesday 22nd February 2011

I'm not an avid reader of The Sun but my son does read it despite my warnings about what may befall him if he believes half the tripe that they publish. Anyway like it or not The Sun is the UK's biggest selling daily newspaper which speaks volumes for the newspaper industry in particular, and British society as a whole.

But once in awhile, they publish a report that I find fascinating and thought provoking. And Freda O'Briens life in Thornhill, West Yorkshire is certainly that! 

The text is as follows
"PROUD Freda O'Brien's home is where her heart is - after living in the same house for 84 YEARS.

Freda fell in love with the three-bed council semi as a seven-year-old, when she first
moved in with her parents.Now aged 91, she has stayed there ever since through eight decades of huge change including four monarchs, several wars and the rise and decline of industries.

And the widowed mum-of-two said: "It's a happy home. I've never wanted to live anywhere else."

The house has modern windows and doors but retains many original features including cupboards and a wooden clothes airer on a pulley. Freda first came to the semi in Thornhill, West Yorks, in 1927 with her parents, brother and three sisters

The family had never had electricity or an indoor toilet before.Freda said: "It was luxury. We couldn't stop switching the lights on and running the hot water!" She left school at 14 and went to work six days a week in a woollen mill, earning the equivalent of 57p.

In 1944 she wed Danny O'Brien and the couple set up home with her parents. Their daughters Margaret, 58, and Catherine, 57, were raised in the house and Freda  and Danny bought it from the council in the 1980s. Danny died in 1994 but Freda still does her own cooking and cleaning and gets out regularly.

While she has been there England have won the World Cup, man has stood on the Moon and the internet has arrived. But asked the biggest change in her street, Freda replied: "The number of cars. When
we moved in, nobody had one."