Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Labour History plus a bit of Footie

As readers of this blog will know, the history of the Labour movement is one of my interests as well as any sport in particular Ipswich Town FC and football.

In the past I have featured articles by 'Country Standard' a blog on Rural Socialism and from the same stable I have been recommended 'hayes peoples history' - this blog is focused on the history of the Labour movement in Middlesex but has plenty of interest to those with an interest in left wing history from wherever in the country you live. It also has plenty on military history and the links with the Labour movement (another pet subject of mine)

The article I found a great read was 'Clarion Movement - Football not Cannonballs' about the Clarion Club , more famous for cycling but I now find from this article also had a football team that played matched in Paris and Moscow before the Second World War

The Clarion Cycling club was formed in the 1890's and Tom Groom one of the founders wrote - " The Clarion cyclist is a Socialist utilising his cycle for the combined purposes of pleasure and propaganda"

Monday, 27 December 2010

Football and Rugby remember those who gave their lives for their country

The media - both TV and papers still like to portray Rugby Union as a sport with slightly more class than football. Seeming to forget that both sports are now professional, every time a football ref is harangued by football players the media quickly reminds everyone that it 'would not happen in rugby!'

This image of Rugby Union as a more respectable sport, more patriotic and so on has existed for many years, since the Public Schools dropped football with the accusation that football had been unpatriotic by not stopping fixtures as soon as World War One started. This myth still continues as does the modern myth that football has much to learn from Rugby. What is not often mentioned is 'bloodgate', sponsorship on the England Rugby Union shirt, and Twickenham over priced and aimed at the corporate market.

But it is the role of football in World War One where the myth is totally unjust. It is true that Rugby Union has been better at remembering those who gave their lives for their country, even as recent as this year, Ipswich Rugby FC held a remembrance day at their Humber Doucy Ground and included a wreath laying and matches between the junior sides of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

But Football should also be proud of those who both played football and then went onto play their part in a much more formidable battle.

This year in Longueval, France saw a memorial unveiled to commemorate those footballers who lost their lives in World War One, in particular those of the 17th and 23rd Middlesex Battalions, known as the Footballers' Battalions. The memorial was payed for by contributions by both the PFA and the Football League.
In Edinburgh it is possible within one mile to see that both Rugby Union and Football lost many young men in the service of their country.

At Murrayfield the home of Rugby Union you will find a memorial gate to those who lost their lives in the Great War but currently you have to look a bit harder for a memorial to those who played football and then lost their lives in both World Wars.
As you walk to Murrayfield from the City Centre, you pass the Haymarket, a busy road junction, that is currently part junction/part building site but in the middle of the junction, pinned on the safety fences were a number of poppy wreaths. the reason why is that up to 2008 the Haymarket junction was the location of a Clock Tower that was built in 1922 as memorial to those who had lost their lives in the Great war, but in particular those who had either played for Hearts FC or their supporters. As with the Middlesex Regiment in Scotland a regiment of footballers had been formed, The Sir George McCrae Battalion of the Royal Scots, 11 members of the Hearts Football club joined this regiment on the day it was formed and four of them would not return from France.

Edinburgh is currently re-introducing trams to the city and this meant that the Haymarket junction would have to be redesigned. There was talk of moving the clock to either Tynecastle or to Atholl Crescent, but a public outcry has meant that the Clock will return to the Haymarket, in a new location, outside Ryrie's Bar. On Remembrance Day, wreath laying is held at the site of the Tower and is attended by the Hearts players and their supporters as well as representatives of other clubs.

Every year now we have a number of clubs wear a special poppy shirt, and who will forget the silence-0 followed by applause when the 'Last Post' was played at Portman Road in November before a game by a bugler from the Royal Hospital school. It is right that sport should help remember those are currently serving in the Armed Forces and those who lost their lives, but it also as important to remember those from sport who also paid the ultimate sacrifice and both Football and Rugby Union (plus many other sports) lost many gifted sportsman in both wars.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Artathon - Ipswich and the Olympics 2012

I have been quite critical of the way Ipswich Borough Council (led by the Tories) has seemed to fail to grasp the opportunities that the Olympics in 2012 can offer Ipswich.

Our proximity to Stratford, and direct rail link means we are in a fantastic position to make the most of the Olympics. But at last weeks Scrutiny meeting, my questioning of Cllr Atkins (the Lib Dem lead on Economic Development) showed that we are not ready to make the most economically of our proximity to the Olympic venue.
Sporting wise, we have a number of smaller nations ready to arrive in Ipswich, but again it does seem we did not have the drive to go for one of the larger nations.

It is not all bad news, I am sure that certain Council departments will make the most of 2012, and we will see a number of sporting opportunity's offered to Ipswich residents as part of the games build up and also part of the 'Olympic legacy'. this is even more important now as we see the Condem Government make cuts to the school sports programme and in Ipswich the Condems are looking to close at least one of our sports centres.

This week, I received a pamphlet from the Council, 'Artathon' which combines fitness and culture, a number of walking, running or cycling routes that enable those participating to see up to 47 pieces of public art within the town. This is a fantastic link up between sport, and art. So good that it has been given the 2012 Olympic 'Inspire' mark.

The pamphlet is worth getting hold of, it will not matter how long you have lived in the town but I am sure you will not have seen all 47 pieces before and even those you have seen, you probably are not aware who created the work of art or what inspired them.

The 47 pieces are all over the town, from the football ground, to the town centre, right up to Ravenswood. There is only one piece I know of that could have been added and that is the wall outside the Ipswich Prep school ( a certain Tory blogger, would expect me to say that)in Ivry Street, that features a timeline of the history of the town. So get hold of the booklet and walk or run one of the routes, The map
has five rings linked loosely to the five Olympic rings to tie into London 2012.

So get to see and know more about 'Tam' near Black Horse Lane, most of us may have seen this statue but how many have seen the Foxgrove Band Gates on Foxhall Road?

So well done to Ipswich Borough Council, at least something is being done in the town to enable us all to enjoy the 2012 games being in London.

You can view the 'Artathon' pamphlet here

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

In shock- No Road Crossing patrols for the whole of Suffolk

There is not much I can say at the moment, first of all we still do not know all the facts but secondly I can't believe that any council- never mind what Party would attempt such an act!

Rumour has it that the Tory run Suffolk County Council is now going to get rid of all lollipop Lady/men (Road Crossing patrols) throughout Suffolk!
We lost our lollipop lady at Sidegate School in October and we warned the same thing could happen at other school's in Suffolk. But at no time did I think even the Tories would attempt such a massive cut.

Tracey Grant, Labour activist at the Sidegate Crossing - minus Lollipop lady

It is easy to blame the County Tories, rural thinking, no connection to Ipswich, busy urban roads but one of the senior Tories who has made this decision is not only a Tory Borough Councillor but Judy Terry is our Rushmere Ward Councillor! She even mentioned a comment on an observation she had heard at a meeting at Sidegate school, that 'drivers were now driving more carefully' since the lollipop lady had left, what she forgot to mention at the County Council meeting that there had also been a number of near accidents that may not have occurred if the crossing patrol had been there.

She may think as she has over 3 years left before she is up for election again that this will be forgotten, how mistaken she is.

I and my Labour colleagues will continue to campaign for the reinstatement of not only the Sidegate Crossing Patrol but the retention of all Crossing patrols throughout Suffolk.

In Rushmere I am being assisted by local Labour activist, Tracey Grant in our fight against Tory cuts.

I am sure that most Rushmere residents will support us in this fight to retain the Crossing Patrol's - children's safety should be put before financial savings.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Have Your Say- North East Ipswich Forum - Tuesday December 7th

There is an opportunity this Tuesday for Rushmere residents to question councillors, council officer's and the local police.
The North East Ipswich Forum is being held in Rushmere this month at the Ransomes Sports Club in Sidegate Avenue. The Forum will start at 11am.

Agenda items include, 'The Big Society'. winter gritting and local police priorities.

There will be time for a cup of tea and a chance to chat with local councillors and other residents.

See you there!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Party of opportunity

Party of opportunity

In Ipswich we have known for a long time that the Lib Dems will say anything on the doorstep but then do anything the Tories want just for the chance of power (plus the extra pay as a Portfolio holder). Even during the election campaign in Ipswich I found a number of Lib Dem voters who thought that we were being unfair in our criticism of the local Lib Dem councillors, well now we can see that the Lib Dem MP's were also willing to say anything on the doorstep then once offered the chance of power with the Tories were willing to drop all their policies as they drove away in their ministerial cars. Local Lib Dem Councillors may find it harder this time to persuade voters that they are a party of principle.
A petition by failed Lib Dem parliamentary candidates (104 signing it but no Mark Dyson - failed Lib Dem Ipswich candidate) has now called on Lib Dem MP's to stick to their original pledge on student fees - wonder what notice Clegg, Cable and others will take of them?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

UNITED - against the Tory Suffolk County Council cuts.

As I made my way to Endeavour House in Ipswich this morning I was concerned that the blizzard type conditions would lead to the Rally against the cuts to Suffolk County Council becoming a damp squib. But Jeremy Pembroke, ex banker and now leader of the Tory run Suffolk County Council you do have ability! Ability to inspire people to give up a free Saturday morning, brave the snow and protest about the savage cuts planned by the Tories, yourself and Andrea Hill.

A comment on one of my previous posts, declared that the rally would be hijacked by the SWP and the far left, that never happened, the march was made up of, council workers, their families, Labour Party members, unions (FBU, UNITE, Unison, CWU, NUT and others) and students. The march was well organised and the police not only had no problem marshaling it but were also thanked for their help at the end of the rally. No surprise in one way as we were also campaigning to save their jobs as they also face the Condem cuts.

It was not hijacked by the SWP but it seems that the Suffolk Lib Dems and those from St Margarets in Ipswich have allied themselves with our protest. Now we welcome support from all the community in this campaign to secure the services that Suffolk people deserve. But the Lib Dems have a number of questions to ask themselves, how can they protest against the cuts in Suffolk but be prepared to support Clegg and Cable as they prop up the Tory Government and to make it worse in Ipswich, 3 of their County Councillors are in a coalition with the Tories, and supporting such acts as selling off our bus service. The St Margaret's Lib Dems were even giving out their focus newsletter on the Cornhill from a table that was also collecting signatures to support our campaign against these Tory cuts, but the same Lib Dem's seem to forget that Inga Lockington is a portfolio holder in the Ipswich Condem council. You can't have it both ways. Kathy Pollard the Suffolk Lib Dem leader was heckled at the rally, and I am sure she is being very honest in her support for our campaign but I am afraid that whilst Clegg and Cable in Westminster and Cann, Lockington and Chambers at Grafton House in Ipswich support Tory administrations she will not be taken seriously.

Best part of the day? There were a number - the 'Who ate all the pies? - Jeremy' song from the FBU and the young students from UCS and Northgate who spoke so passionately about the the Condem plans for their futures (something Kathy did not mention in her speech) and on a selfish point, the brilliant turn out from the Ipswich Labour Party, and the opportunity to be photographed with the branch banner, a banner my own father had carried ion the early 70's.

The Labour Party banner today outside the New Wolsey

The banner in the 70's with my late Father, Peter Ross

A great day for the Labour movement in Ipswich - now to build on that consensus of support to put pressure on Gummer, Poulter and the local Condem councillors.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

March and Rally against Tory cuts- Ipswich Saturday 27th November

East of England Member of the European Parliament, Richard Howitt, joined with local Labour Party members to show his support for UNISON's campaign to save Suffolk County Council services from cuts and privatisation.

Members of Ipswich Labour Party have joined with UNISON and Trades Council colleagues to collect signatures against Suffolk County Council's "New Strategic Direction" of cutting jobs and services across the County. Next Saturday (27th November) there will be a march and rally in the town against the cuts, and Ipswich Labour members will be there in force to protect our local public services. Meeting at Endeavour House at 11am followed by a march to the New Wolsey Theatre (rally there at 12).

Please join myself and other Labour activists there - You will recognise us by the Ipswich Labour Party banner!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Military Covenant - Tories break it already

The Tories campaigned during the last election on how they were going to mend the Military Covenant. Britain has a 'duty of care' to its armed forces. This began as an unspoken pact between society and the military, possibly originating as far back as Henry VIII's reign. The pact was formally codified as a 'covenant' in 2000 (by the Labour Government). It is not a law but is reinforced by custom and convention.

The Tories accused the Labour Government of breaking the Covenant and told everyone how they were going to mend it - so what have they done!

Well they have not done much but they have told us what they are going to do - cut pensions to War Widows and injured soldiers - George Osborne the Tory Chancellor has announced the proposed changes, it has even caused the Head of the Armed Forces to say that 'War widows and injured soldiers must be protected against the "worst excesses" of the coalition's cuts to pensions'

I was fortunate to serve alongside and get to know two brave young soldiers who lost their lives in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009 both were married and joined the tour late as they stayed behind in the UK for a few weeks as their young wives were both pregnant. A week after their babies were born they flew out to join us. This Tory Government is now saying if those young widows remarry, they will lose their War Widow pension. If that is not breaking the Military Covenant, I don't know what is: The Covenant states: " British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service."

I was also fortunate to work alongside Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who lost his life on bomb disposal duty, his wife Christina spoke eloquently after his death, and captured the feeling of many families who have lost loved ones. Now Osborne and the Tories want to cut her pension.

It is nothing more than a disgrace!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Ben Gummer - an apology

"Following receipt of a letter from Ben Gummer's agent, I can now let constituents know that Mr Gummer has, by his agent's account got a fully staffed office at IP City Centre on Wherstead Road. Hopefully he will soon have an active website and we can look forward to the day when his twitter account is updated to reflect he is now the MP rather than candidate for Ipswich. If anyone is interested in helping Ben get on top of managing these issues, he is currently advertising for an office manager."

Ben Gummer
@ben4ipswich Ipswich
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich

The fact is that is it may be easy for the 'Evening Star' to find our MP, to ask him questions about the Iceni Project, Andrea Hill's pay (but very few questions about cuts planned by Suffolk County Council) It is far more difficult for Ipswich constituents to get hold of him compared to when Chris Mole was our MP.
With the planned reforms to the welfare state, it is more important than ever that our MP is readily available to constituents - an office that is easy to find, an up to date website plus surgeries where an appointment is not needed but where you can just drop into meet your MP. He could even share a surgery location with the MP for North Ipswich. Over to you Mr Gummer (and agent)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ben Gummer- hiding from the Ipswich public?

Ben Gummer has now been our Ipswich MP for over 6 months and you can find him (if you look hard) a weekly column in the Evening Star, and now each Sunday you can find him riding round the streets of Ipswich (avoiding the numerous potholes) on a charity cycle ride. Well done Ben - But and it is a big but! If you need help- with housing, the law or the numerous other problems that Ipswich residents can have- he is harder to find. Six months and we have a temporary office hidden down by the river, a website that had been dormant since June and even a twitter site that has him as a candidate rather than the MP.

Whilst he is hiding away, the Ipswich Labour Party are still getting many residents call on them requesting help, where we can local Labour Councillors are taking the issues up and when it is an issue that the MP would be best to deal with we are handing them information on how they can contact Ben. But after 6 months it is about time Gummer had an office in the town, dealing with the numerous issues that effect an urban population. Before the election, Ben 'talked, the talk' now lets see him 'walk, the walk'

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Save our Sidegate School Road Crossing Patrol

Today, I joined parents, grandparents , residents and more importantly children outside Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich. We were there to start our campaign to tell the Tory run Suffolk County Council that they are making a mistake in not replacing our Road Crossing Patrol when our current lollipop lady stops at half term.

One of the reasons our current lady is giving up is because the road is so dangerous. Over 170 people signed our petition in just the first 15 minutes.

Tory run Suffolk County Council and 200 grand a year Andrea Hill, you have got a fight on. We will not let our children's safety be put at risk for the sake of just £2,000!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

People of Suffolk - wake up and smell the roses

For those who think the Tories will only make cuts where they really need to, you need to read the comments from a leading Suffolk Tory- Colin Noble, Tory Portfolio Holder for adult and community services has told the EADT that the cuts will be big - his own words are:

“But when people say you are only doing this to save money, they need to wake up and smell the roses. The cuts are coming and they will be big.”

His leader Pembroke said he did not have a clue what cuts are going to be made (said just before he jetted off on holiday)

Well we know one cut - no Road Crossing patrol person outside Sidegate School, well that's 2 grand saved (oh and the few extra quid George Osborne is going to save by buying his own Christmas Tree for Number 11)

Cuts before children's safety - never saw that on a Ben Gummer leaflet!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Childrens safety- cut it!

Just a short note but a full blog post to follow later in the week - just heard that the Tories are not going to replace our Road Crossing Patrol at Sidegate School in November. It looks like when a Crossing patrol man or lady leaves they will not be replaced, no risk assessment to see how dangerous the road is, just cut, cut, cut.
Sidegate Lane is one of the busiest roads in Ipswich,Sidegate is the biggest Primary School in the town, this will just make it more dangerous for pupils and their parents plus snarl the town up with traffic even more.
Children from at least 6 school's (plus at least 3 playschools) use this crossing. How stupid can the Tories get?
Judy Terry out Tory Councilor in the ward is on the County Cabinet who are planning these cuts, so don't let her try and blame others.
Over the next week I will be trying to get as much support from parents as possible and then I will be writing to the County Council.
Please support where you can, in the end we will have no Road Crossing Patrols in Suffolk.
The wages of all the Crossing Patrols in Suffolk will still be less than the Tories pay Andrea Hill, their County Chief Executive!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ipswich Tories still love Thatcher

Not sure David Cameron would be that pleased but only months after he gets into Parliament we have local Tories in Ipswich forgetting all this new green cuddly Tory image and getting back to worshiping Thatcher.

Tonight at the Full Council meeting in Ipswich we had Cllr Pope the Tory Housing portfolio holder informing us that Margaret Thatcher was the saviour of social housing, and to make the evening even more absurd the Lib Dems nodded their heads in agreement and went and voted for his amendment!

Labour was asking for Full Council support in a motion that asked for the Government to secure Tenancy rights for Council House occupants. Instead of support all we got was a 10 minute "Thatcher" worshiping session.

For many of us on the Labour side this was hard to stomach, especially as this morning all councilors received a letter asking us to join Borough Council staff in celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first council house in Ipswich. Tories and Lib Dems could not see the irony in this.

Allenby Road, Ipswich - where our first two council houses were occupied in 1920

But just to show where the Tory loyalties lie we were then informed by the Tory leader how they intended to solve the housing problem in Ipswich - no, they were not going to show great leadership and build on North Ipswich with a master plan, their great idea?? Build on Council House back gardens! You couldn't even make it up, Maggie would be pleased.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The real fight will start after we have elected a new Labour Leader

My ballot papers arrived though the letter box last week but I still haven't filled them in yet.

Like many Labour members, I am still undecided, and as we are told on many occasions, our second preference vote is also very important. Plus we have votes for the NEC and policy forum. So the next few days I have to make my mind up and send the papers in.

But for me I wish it was already over, I had hoped for more from the leadership campaign, I wanted it to inspire more Young members and also for it to be used as a tool to get out and meet the public. Some people have been inspired and the party has seen a rise in it's membership as many have joined to be able to vote in the election. We have had hustings, debates and the candidates have bombarded us with leaflets, e mails, texts and phone calls but I believe we would have gained more in the long run if each candidate had gone out and knocked on doors with members rather than speed from one constituency to another, often visiting over 5 a day, just to meet members rather than the general public

Then to make our job even harder we have Tony Blair and Mandelson with their books! Now I do believe we should be proud of what Tony and Gordon achieved and the two of them along with Campbell and Mandleson have helped make a party that is now far more electable than it was in the 80's, but Blair and Brown have had their time and I now want a new leader now so he can form his strong team and start taking the attack to the Tories and Lib Dems and then activists can get out talking to the public rather than trying to encourage other Labour members to vote for their preferred candidate.

So who am I going to vote for?

Well I believe all of them less Abbott would make better Prime Ministers than Cameron (or Clegg) but I am thinking I should vote for the one who is most electable, the one who non Labour members would most vote for. You may say where are your principles? Why don't I choose the candidate whose policies are the closest to mine. But I do believe that we must choose the man who will ensure that we only have 4 more years of this Tory gang. They have already started to destroy the Education system and in 10 years, the NHS, the Armed Forces, all would be unrecognisable and even worse probably destroyed beyond repair.

So my vote will go to David Miliband, but my second preference? Still have not got a clue, so keep sending those texts and phoning me up because David may have my first choice but the rest of my votes are still up for grabs (Ms Abbott save your money)

So what I am looking forward to is October when we will have a new, young, strong leader with a strong shadow cabinet, then the real fightback and the real work will start.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ipswich Parks - update

I have had a fantastic response from residents in Rushmere Ward Ipswich after I delivered a leaflet asking for residents views on Brunswick Road Park.

The overwhelming view of residents was for the park to remain locked at night but many of us are keen on more flexable timings.

The Ipswich Labour Party has also distributed a similar leaflet around Alexandra and Holywells Park. Rather than being thanked for getting the views of the public, I have been accused by the Lib Dem portfolio holder of scaremongering. It is true that the portfolio holder has preformed a U turn at Full Council and declared that parks will remain closed at night but it was obvious from the last Executive meeting that many of her Tory/Lib Dem colleagues are still keen to make cuts to the Park Service and keep them open 24/7.

Even her fellow Lib Dem councilor from her own ward wants Christchurch Park to remain open his comment at Executive was that his residents had "strange views" and that he would respond to the consultation by stating that the parks should not be locked.

Consultation - well Inga Lockington states that the Parks 'Vision' was only what it says on the tin- a vision not a policy and that the policy would be produced after consultation. But consultation with who? If it was not for Labour and the 'Friends of the Parks' groups no one would have known about the consultation. There are no signs or notices in the three parks I have been in over the last 4 days - Christchurch, Holywells and Brunswick Road. There is not even a mention of the Parks Consultation under 'Consultations' on the Ipswich Borough Council website.

So I ask you all to send in your views on the Parks 'vision' to the council. It is obvious from the Executive that the Portfolio Holder may not be able to deliver on her promise to keep the parks locked at night.

The vision can be found here. and you can comment by sending an E mail to:

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Leiston- "Suffolk's Little Moscow"

Just over 2 weeks ago, Labour had a great victory with Tony Bavington winning the seat of Great Cornard in Suffolk. Some called this the start of a rural fightback by Labour. I for one must admit living in Ipswich, we can see ourselves as a red outpost in a sea of blue, but that has not always been true. Last week I went to Leiston to see Ipswich Town play a pre season friendly, Leiston a small town both close to Sizewll Nuclear Power Station and Aldeburgh (Chelsea on Sea!) but there is more to Leiston that that. It was once known as "Suffolk's Little Moscow". The following post was sent to me last week and appeared first on "Country Standard". The "Standard" was a radical newspaper issued in the rural area's and is now back in production.

The rural community is as much under threat as urban area's, on the day Tony won in Great Cornard the Tories scrapped the Agricultural Wage Board. Funny never heard the 'Countryside Alliance' complaining about that!

Leiston Leader
"Suffolk's Little Moscow"

The final talk was a brilliant collective one by Arthur Leslie Morton, his brother Max, Max's wife Vivienne, and Lee Chadwick,.
They talked of their activities as founder members of the Leiston Communist Party (CP) in the 1930s.

A.L. Morton began with a brief analysis of the 'environmental' factors which were important in the CP's success in the town Leiston was a one-company town

(Garretts) which, pre-1918, had had an international reputation for producing steam traction engines, but because of its failure to modernise had been left behind and then almost closed down during the Depression.

As a classic single-industry town the employer/worker relationship consisted of a blend of paternalism and repression. At first there was a fear of activism but as unemployment grew so dependence on the company decreased.

Organisation of the Left in the town consisted of a benign Labour Party which was old-fashioned and un theoretical, and a core of ultra-Leftists who were the family and friends of the South African Marxist, Bill Andrews. The Communist Party pulled in the Andrews group while still keeping on supportive terms with the Leiston Labour Party.

Summerhill School was helpful in the CP's growth, but as was pointed out, it was essentially a weakness that the party's theoretical development was done by 'outsiders' who came to Summerhill and Leiston from elsewhere,

Decisive in the party's evolution was the arrival of speakers from the 1934 Norwich to London Hunger March. They attracted an audience of over a thousand, and so a Communist Party branch in Leiston was formed.

After A.L. (Leslie) Morton's penetrating analysis, reminiscences flowed freely. There was talk of the monthly Leiston Leader, which at one point had had a Circulation of 500 in a town of 4,000, despite the fact that few had the money to buy it. The paper was first produced in 1936 on a home-made duplicator, when Vivienne Morton and Lee Chadwick would come home from a 12-hour shift in the factory and bring it out together. As they said, "it had very tight deadlines!",

They also discussed how the Leiston Communist Party was involved with the National Unemployed Workers Movement, the Hunger Marches in the 1930's, the Daily Worker, the County Standard, and chalking up meetings (on pavements) and running from the police, and their two 'greatest weapons' - Lee Chadwick's husband's ability as a cartoonist (his political satires boosted Leader sales) and Max Morton's motorbike!

The motorbike proved essential for transporting speakers and newspapers; and party workers to the monthly internal Communist Party meetings in Cambridge - despite its lack of lights, which made the night journeys sound extremely hazardous!

Three final notes of interest were the progressive nature of Methodism on the local political scene, the quality of Communist Party work on the local council (they held well-attended open-air meetings to report on council activities), and the very close relationship between the local Communist Party and the Labour Party, who held a common slate of candidates and block-voted up until the 1950s-much to the annoyance of Transport House (Labour Party headquarters).

November 1981

Paxton Chadwick
Well known artist and Communist, Paxton Chadwick was born on 4th September 1903 at Fallowfield, Manchester. As a child he showed great talent as an artist and went on to attend Manchester Art College in the 1920s.

After leaving art college, he set up as a commercial artist in a studio first in Manchester, then in 1931 to Chelsea in London and from London’s west end to Welwyn Garden City.

Chadwick was then offered a part time post as art teacher at the pioneering and controversial Summerhill School at Leiston in Suffolk.

At Summerhill, he came into to contact with a number of teachers in the Communist Party, notably Vivien Jackson (herself the daughter of a prominent Communist Party writer and printer) Max Morton, Richard Goodman and Cyril Eyre (who had joined the Communist Party at Oxford University in 1933).

In 1934 a contingent of Hunger marchers passed through Leiston, the reception organised primarily by this group led to a crowd of over 1,000 welcoming the hunger marchers into Leiston, rallying outside the traditional public meeting place outside the Post Office Square. Soon after a branch of the National Unemployed Workers Union was formed in the town with offices in Cross Street. Unemployment in Leiston was very high in the 1930's the men dependant on work at Garretts or in Agriculture, Garrett's was completely closed during the early months of 1932 and did not return to full production until rearmament.

This in a town with effectively no history of radicalism or trade unionism. Indeed, for many years following this event Leiston became maybe not quite a “little Moscow” but never the less a beacon for progress in a sea of East Anglian darkness, known throughout the region as “That communist place” according to John Saville “a tribute to the dedication, energy and intelligence of the quite small group of political activist”

The progressive forces being helped by left wing Labour activists such as railwayman Councillor Harry Self of Stowmarket (National Council for Labour Colleges, organiser) who produced a monthly letter in the Leiston Leader , Alec Brown an author, Trevor David ex South wales miner of The National council of Labour Colleges as well as securing the support of non conformist in the town including the Welsh Methodist preacher Tom Morgan (Chairman of Leiston Left Book Club) and a number of local Quakers. In the late 1930's a Leiston Spanish Medical Aid Committee was formed to support the Republican cause in Spain against Franco's fascists and several hundred turn out in November 1937 for the visit of an ambulance on its way to Spain

By 1935 Chadwick had joined the Leiston Communist Party. The local Communist Party threw itself into “Popular Front” work encouraging local left wingers in the Labour party to join with the Communist Party in defeating the well entrenched Conservative majority on the local council. The almost unique unity of the Communist Party and the Labour Party in Leiston was to be a feature for many years to come. The focus for the Leiston popular front work would be the Leiston Leader, the first duplicated edition of which was produced at the Cross Street offices of the Unemployed Workers in January 1936 and sold for half a penny. (rising to one penny in July 1936)

Paxton Chadwick was returned as a Communist Councillor for Leiston in 1938 as the first Communist Councillor in Suffolk (Rural Norfolk also had Communist councillors).

During the war Chadwick was called up into the anti-aircraft arm of the Royal Artillery where he continued to carry out council work and produce a wall newspaper for his unit. Chadwick ended the war as a Captain. As chairman of Leiston council , he introduced a regular “open nights ”where electors could quiz councillors”, secured affordable housing, clean water, fought to abuses in the private rented sector, fought for improved war pensions and led the campaign to save the local Grammar school.

He also gave support to the annual Co-operative fete (Leiston Women's Co-opertative Guild was one of the oldest in the country), Leiston thereafter could always be relied upon to secure a sizable Communist and left Labour vote and it was not uncommon to see Chadwick’s red and white Communist posters in house windows throughout the town.

His second wife was Lee Bosence (Chadwick) also became a Communist councillor, other Communist councillors who stood in Leiston included Daphne Oliver, Sydney Woodroffe, Bill Wellford, Ernest Ling (Ernest ling was the first local engineer to join the Communist Party). (Max Morton, A.L Morton's brother, was a Communist farmer was elected as a communist councillor for Pentlow Parish Council, nr Sudbury) . Even at the height of the cold war and close to military bases the Communist Party was still polling 250-300 votes in Leiston wards

But the Communist Parties electoral work in Leiston was hampered by its size, for example in 1958 council election the Leiston Communist party could rely on just sixteen members of whom five were pensioners.

Help had to be secured by the District Secretary, Neville Carey, from Ipswich and there was only one car (one more than the Labour Party) to help get electors to the polls. Chadwick himself stood for election last in 1960 and only narrowly missing out on being elected.

Paxton Chadwick was a first class artist and produced numerous nature drawings for Penguin books from 1949 until his death. He died in Whitworth hospital, London on 6th September 1961 and his funeral address was given by Communist Party General Secretary, John Gollan.


Lee Chadwick died at her home on Leiston Common on 22 March 2003 aged 93 years. She was born in 1909 in Battersea, London, one of eight children. At the beginning of the First World War her mother took the two youngest children to Whyteleaf in Surrey, which was then a very rural area. The freedom, and the love of wildlife, established in her childhood were to become the driving influences of her life. She graduated in English and Psychology at Bedford College in Regent spark, London. In 1937, after periods of teaching in both France and England she came to work at Summerhill School in Leiston.

Here she met Paxton ‘Chad’ Chadwick, who was teaching art (she joined the Communist Party in 1937). Her stay at Summerhill was curtailed by the outbreak of war, which caused the school to move to Wales.

Lee and Chad did not move and the consequent loss of accommodation prompted them to build a very basic three bedroom house on the common at Leiston.

Building regulations at the time required this to be low enough to be hidden by the gorse. It eventually became their home for the rest of their lives, and, of course, brought Lee into close contact with heathland. When Leiston Common was requisitioned by the MOD, and with Chad away serving in the armed forces, Lee worked for two years in the women’s machine shop at Garrett engineering works. It was with the influx of women workers into Garretts that the factory was unionised in the Transport & General Workers Union, Boilermakers union and the Amalgamated Engineering Union. Richard Garrett the founder being strongly anti union.

Here she joined the TGWU. When the machine shop closed, the Land Army beckoned.

In 1941 Lee Chadwick became Secretary of the Leiston Anglo-Soviet Freindship Committee.

It was not for long though: Lee readily answered the call of the Communist Party to take up the position of Assistant Industrial Organiser, a full-time post in Ipswich. She was the first ever communist elected onto Suffolk County Council. (Lee Chadwick stood as the Communist parliamentary candidate for Eye at the General election of 1950

In 1948 Lee and Chad were allowed to return to their home. They were able to buy two pieces of heath adjacent to their bungalow. They resisted the pressure to cultivate the land for food production, preferring instead to use one part for egg production, and the other for grazing, which preserved its heathland character. Chad worked as a wildlife illustrator for Penguin books.

After Chad died in 1961 Cassell, the publisher, invited Lee to complete the “Pantoscope” series of educational paperbacks he had begun. Her research into aspects of fishing and fruit industries gave her the confidence to begin her own literary career. Subsequently she wrote a number of documentary books embracing a range of topics from the future of agriculture to lighthouses and lightships. Research for these took her from Rome to Cuba and to most of the lighthouses in the British Isles.

In 1975 Lee teamed up with artist Evangeline Dickson and Dobson Books to produce ‘In Search of Heathland’. This had been a personal ambition for many years. Its success is well known; its charm was due to the combination of Lee’s extensive knowledge of the underlying geologies and historical uses of heathland with her own observations of the biological complexities it supports and her passionate feelings for it. Lee joined the SNS in 1969.

She was very much involved with the Suffolk Sandlings Group in its formative years in the 1980’s. Throughout her life Lee was a principled, tenacious and courageous woman , with strong political views. These qualities came to the fore when she acted as Environmental Witness for the opposition at the Sizewell ‘B’ public inquiry, speaking up for heathland where others failed to.

Eric Parsons writes:,
“If I’m entitled to a ha’porth of my own I would feel sure that Lee would like to have left a few words of advice for naturalists and conservationists. She was a very experienced campaigner and many folk used to refer to her for guidance with their own endeavours at campaigning. She would stress the importance of :-

individuals taking conservation directly and actively into Planning Departments, Council Chambers and Courts of Law in a campaigning manner.

not allowing, or expecting, professional conservation organisations to make the pace in conservation campaigns,

having accurate data available in support of any statements made in support of a campaign.

She was a stickler for fact and would go any length to pull in the right people to vet anything she presented in a deposition or publication. ‘In Search Of Heathland’ has got to be an important point of reference for anybody studying sandling heaths and Lee Chadwick was a naturalist who would roll up her sleeves and get on with it herself rather than pontificate from a swivel-chair.”, She leaves a son, Peter.

based on ‘Profile: Lee Chadwick’ written by Eric Parsons for White Admiral 37

Arthur Leslie Morton 1903-1897

Leslie Morton was born on the fourth of July 1903, son of a Yorkshire farmer, who had leased Stanchils farm near Bury St Edmunds. Leslie had one brother Max and a sister Kathleen. While at Cambridge University he joined the University Labour Club. After Cambridge he taught at Steyning Grammar School in Sussex, where to the shock of Governors the teaching staff supported the 1926 General Strike, leading to his dismissal. He then taught at Summerhill before moving to London and joining the Communist Party. He worked on the Daily Worker newspaper as a reporter but left to write "A Peoples History of England" for Victor Gollancz (Left Book Club), he also founded the Communist History Group.

Leslie Morton moved to Leiston with his second wife Vivien becoming involved in the monthly Communist journal the Leiston Leader, helping to write, illustrate and sell it. He was elected as a Communist councillor for Leiston. He taught at Summerhill (as did his sister and brother) and for the local Workers Educational Association. He was a founder member of the William Morris Society. He died in 1987.

Leslie Morton: spoke of his time as editor of the Leiston Leader and his time in the Army during World War Two

"I used at this time, 1945, to write a large part of the material in our local Branch paper, the Leiston Leader, and among other things I wrote an article about the Second Front called 'Grigg Must Go!' (Sir James Grigg was War Minister) - a rather vitriolic article.

One day I was sent for to the Battery Office, and there's a large fat security sergeant-major there, bearing a copy of this article. He said 'Did you write it?' Well, there it was with my name at the bottom, so I said 'Yes, I did.' He said 'Oh, you mustn't do things like this in the Army, you know.' Then he went away and nothing happened for a long time.

Then one day I'm sent for by the Major again and he was really apologetic. He said 'It's nothing to do with me.

I'm instructed to send you on to the Colonel.' Well, the Colonel is equally apologetic. 'It's nothing to do with me. I have instructions that you are to be sent for court-martial.'

So presently a court-martial is assembled. Everyone was sympathetic because Grigg was not popular in the Army at all. It was all very technical because there was no dispute about the facts - there was the article and I had admitted writing it - it was a question of whether it did or did not infringe certain sections of King's Regulations. I had a very nice chap defending me (a solicitor in private life) very friendly, and the upshot was that I was acquitted and everybody was pleased! My immediate officer said 'Well, Morton, you certainly hit old Grigg for six. Personally I agreed with every word of it.'

There was an interesting sequence. About a year later I'd got a bit bored by this time with being an amateur builder's labourer, which is what I'd been doing for the greater part of the war - I decided to apply for a transfer to the Education Corps, for which I had every conceivable qualification. So I go up to London to be interviewed by a Selection Board. They told me 'We think you are very suited for the Education Corps', but they were outraged that attached to my papers was the report of the court-martial. 'This is absolutely disgraceful' they said, 'We shall ignore it, and we shall have no hesitation in recommending you for a transfer to the Education Corps.' But I didn't get it.


1989 Lesiton Leader

The December 1989 issue of Leiston Leader again presents a cross section of local news and events. This extract has interests beyond the Leiston boundaries. Sizewell "C" Dropped It was with quiet satisfaction that campaigners against Sizewell "C" heard that the project was to be dropped, as were plans for a new link road to the A12. This news certainly left many County and District Councillors with egg on their faces. They had steadfastly refused to listen to the views of their constituents, experts and the Sizewell "B" Inquiry Inspector, Sir Frank Layfleld and, In fact, it looked highly un-likely that they would call for a public inquiry on the Issue.

Need for vigilance

The Leiston Leader says that, as managers within the CEGB appear to be on a nuclear fix and are still agitating for a nuclear future,we need to be vigilant. 'Now Is the time to press for the abandonment of Sizewell "B" and the closure of "A".'

In the Newsletter of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, It Is noted: "It Is ironic, because of Mrs Thatcher's dogmatic pursuit of privatising everything in sight, that the truth that nuclear- power-generated electricity is some three times as expensive as other forms of electricity generation, has finally been conceded. "The City saw that too, when It showed that PWR- produced electricity would cost an extra £1,000.000 per day, ie an extra £10,000 million over the station's life: which means that there Is now no possible case for building Sizewell "B". It must be scrapped NOW and our Heritage Coast restored to its previous splendour."

May 1990 edition of the Lesiton Leader, was edition number 488 and contained articles on the Poll Tax, trade union news, May day activity as well as housing issues, building sites, road safety and even the local bard.

Leiston had a Communist councillor in the 1980's and the Leiston Leader was produced into the 1990's.

I understand that Bill Howard a signalman at Saxmunden was the last Communist Councillor in Leiston in the 1980's (he lived at Waterloo Avenue, Leiston.

Paxton Chadwick Close, Leiston is one of the few roads in Britain named after a communist.

Alex Moffatt the great Communist miners leader from Fife was stationed in Leiston for a period during the war

Max Morton farm was used for East Anglia Communist Party weekend schools in the 1950's/60s

The Communist Party was involved in both English Folk revival's and key to this was the Eel's Foot Public House, Eastbridge, where A.L. "Bert" Lloyd Communist and Workers Music Association founder, recorded the now famous BBC radio Folk session on 13th March 1939. The Leiston Communist Party can also claim the credit for this historical event having informed Bert Lloyd of the Folk sessions at Eel's Foot.

"Country Standard" can be found here and the original article here.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Leave Ipswich Park's open?

Cllr Alasdair Ross on his local park - Brunswick Road

Many of you may have heard in the local Ipswich Press recently that the Tory/Lib Dem run Ipswich Borough Council had decided without any consultation with the public, to open all the parks in Ipswich 24 hours a day.

Some Ipswich parks are left open all day already and some cannot be secured but Christchurch Park, Holywells Park and our own Rushnmere park of Brunswick Road are some of those that are currently locked at night.

There was such an outcry led by the Ipswich Labour Party, local residents and the local paper that Inga Lockington the Lib Dem portfolio holder for the Parks, announced at Full Council that she had changed her mind and that the parks will now still stay locked at night.

You may then say why are we still campaigning on this subject. A number of reasons, the statement to the press only mentioned Christchurch and Holywells Park so Brunswick Road and Newbury Road may still be in danger of being left open. Secondly Inga still has to find savings of £600,000, so it is important that a Park Rangers service is still maintained and that we do not just find that they are replaced by members of the 'Big Society'.

If you wish to look at the Council 'Vision' for Parks and open Spaces in Ipswich you can find it here.

It is important that we protect our parks and open spaces, a much loved part of the town by all our community. It is quite hypocritical of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition to take the plaudits as Christchurch Park wins it's third Green Flag award at the same time set out a vision that would have left this park unprotected at night and also seen a big reduction in the Park Ranger service throughout the town.

A number of residents have asked about setting up a 'Friends of Brunswick Road Park' group. If you support such a n idea , please feel Free to contact me:

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Otto Frank - An inspiration to all

The most famous 'bookcase' in the world

I spent last weekend in Amsterdam (as part of a trip to see Ipswich play in Eindhoven) The highlight of the 3 days in this fascinating city was a visit to the Anne Frank House. A book on the city had recommended buying a ticket by the Internet and this saved us queuing for an hour, not only that it enabled us to attend an introductory talk by one of the Dutch guides. this was just what was needed as it enabled us to both understand and enjoy the visit more. Even though we expected the living accommodation to be small the size of the rooms that Anne, her family and friends lived in were still a shock.

The original diary

Once you left the house and entered the rest of the museum there was still plenty to see, the original diary, the various issues of the Anne Frank diary and fascinating video interviews with those who were involved in the hiding of the Frank family.

But I found the most fascinating the role of Otto Frank, how he had already moved from Germany, placed his firm in Dutch ownership and how he had planned the disappearance of his own family. Then what was even more inspiring is how he created the museum, his belief in bringing the youth of the world together and just his determination that the house and the diary are used in a positive way.
There is even a video of his appearance on Blue Peter. He returned to Amsterdam in 1945 and started work back at his firm the next day, and once it was proven that his wife and 2 daughters had died, he then dedicated his life to getting people to understand and tolerate each others cultures and beliefs.
The shop is even set out in a very respectful way and the books and pictures on sale are all thought provoking.
If you get a chance not only visit Amsterdam but spend some time at the Anne Frank Huis.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Armed Forces Day

Today I was very proud to attend an event at Grafton House in Ipswich to launch Armed Forces Day. the actual day is at the end of the week, but councils all over the country raised the Armed Forces Day flag at 10.30am this morning. In Ipswich the Mayor along with veterans raised a flag at the Town Hall and I joined other councillors and council employees as we raised a flag at Grafton House.

I think armed Forces Day is a great idea, as it gives the general public an opportunity to show their support for our Armed Forces. I could never have seen that happening in the early 80's, when myself and other soldiers often felt we were being treated like third class citizens. to be honest the Armed Forces get far more support every day of the year now than we ever got, but it is still good to have a dedicated day on which we can thank every member of our Armed Forces.

Today also marked the loss of the 300th serviceman in Afghanistan, this may lead to even more of a clamour for our withdrawal. I for one think that would be a major mistake, if we left Afghanistan, within weeks the Taliban would take over that country and Pakistan would not last much longer. The situation could lead to another India - Pakistan war. We will lose further soldiers in the conflict but we are doing a good job and we are winning. Last Armed Forces Day I spent in Sangin, in 50 degree heat but I knew then we were there for the right reasons and I still believe that now.

How we marked Armed Forces Day in Sangin in 2009, the only cool place to hold the flag, in the Helmand River

Thursday, 3 June 2010

We can learn from Europe - Transport and housing

I love this country and as Eddie Izzard would say we live in - "Brilliant Britain" but we can still learn plenty from Europe, this weekend I found myself in Vienna and I came away even more determined to campaign for better public transport in Ipswich. Vienna of course is a capital city and I am not planning to campaign for an Ipswich Underground, but there is plenty we could learn from the Viennese, the ticketing system, the signposts, bus lanes, route planning. There is a possibility we may get this quite soon if the proposed investment on public transport in Ipswich is not scrapped by the new Tory Government.

The trouble is that the Tory run Borough Council have run down public transport in Ipswich over the last 5 years, that if we do not get the investment it could see the end of public transport in the town.

We understand that the new Government has to make cuts to reduce the national debt, but if the investment in transport is cut, it will be so shortsighted as it will lead to further traffic congestion and make it even harder to instigate further improvements in Public transport in the future. It will also play into the hands of many Tory Councillors who did not want to see any Public transport at all let alone an improvement in it.

We also could learn from Europe when it comes to building new affordable homes, if you get a chance to visit Vienna, get along to Kegelgasse, a fantastic social housing development built by artist come architect - Friedensreich Hundertwasser, it is hard to describe but it is somewhere that people want to live and also to become part of a community. the sort of development that could have been placed on the Ipswich Waterfront rather than just blocks and blocks of flats, see here for more of Friedensreich Hundertwasse's work

Best hotel in the world?

Never expected this blog to start advertising items or services but I just have to give this hotel a plug.

Hotel Altstadt - Kirchengasse 41, A - 1070, Vienna, Austria

My wife and myself spent the bank holiday weekend in Vienna, (plus a day in Graz to see the England - Japan game) and we really enjoyed the city, the sights, the friendly Viennese and superb beer. But the highlight of the weekend was the Hotel Altstadt and their staff. It is luxury but with also a feel of being in your own home, the superb pieces of art on the wall, the fantastic furniture, modern lighting and on top of that free cake and tea every afternoon at 4!

There was a slight cock up with our reservation, but the friendly staff sorted it out quickly and even gave us a bottle of champagne!

If you get a chance, visit Vienna and there is only one place you can think of staying - Hotel Altstadt - the best hotel in the world.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ipswich housing bubbly finally bursts

The Tory plans for Ipswich of building only flats seem to have come unstuck- maybe now they will agree to build affordable family homes.

The market on the Ipswich Waterfront this Sunday was great, but it was depressing to see the skeleton of yet another block of flats, rising above the market stalls.

Thanks to my Labour colleagues for the picture

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ben Gummer - the saviour of Ipswich

Ben Gummer seems to have been everywhere since he became MP for Ipswich:

He has been all over the town

Ben fills in the Ipswich potholes

He has even found time to pick up litter at the Railway Station, as you can see here

This is one blog you must follow- and I can't believe Ben had his picture taken at the Waterfront market on Sunday and I missed it, seems it was taken right near where I had been standing!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Labour will keep fighting!

Campaigning hard- The 'Smart' thing to do! We worked hard for the Ipswich constituents in the early 90's and we will do the same again now.

Labour will keep fighting in Ipswich, as we have always done. As we now find ourselves back under a Conservative Government ( forget the Lib Dem bit) we find ourselves having to work even harder for our constituents. The Lib Dems in Ipswich had an opportunity to help the people of Ipswich but they decided to continue supporting the minority Conservative group on Ipswich Borough Council. So we find ourselves under a Tory Government, Tory County Council and a Tory/Lib Dem Borough Council.

So what can we do? The answer is work and campaign harder, that is what we have always done in Ipswich and that is why next year Ipswich will find itself back with a Labour Led Council, looking after residents and at the next General Election we will find ourselves back under a Labour Government with Ipswich represented by a Labour MP.

We will be campaigning in Rushmere Ward and all over Ipswich from Monday, the fightback has started.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Gordon - passion

If you are still not sure why you should vote Labour - watch this video

Gordon is the man!

Vote Labour - Brunswick Road resident gets it right!

May 6th - Time to make that decision, at least one Brunswick Road resident has got it right!

We do not want a Tory Government, we do not want a Tory Council in Ipswich and we want another Labour Councillor in Rushmere.

Vote Labour


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Kunnan Terrace - do you know the story behind the name?

Whilst out in Ipswich canvassing this morning, I found myself in Suffolk Road. It bought back many happy memories as both my late mother, my sister and a good friend had all lived in this street. I knew the corner shop had been turned into a flat a few years ago but whilst passing today, I noticed a brick plaque built into the flat wall.

Kunnan Terrace 1947 - 1991, at first I thought it may of been when the shop was there but then remembered it had still been open in this new century.
So what does the plaque mean?
Now I did go to the school with the owner of the shop, one of the Ipswich Singh family, so have a feeling it may be to honour his father the first Singh to own the shop. Is that the true story behind the plaque? If you know different let me know.