Sunday, 17 September 2017

GEORGE ORWELL & SOCIALISM

Wakefield Socialist History Group:
Brian Bamford's contribution to the event at the Red Shed
yesterday discussing George Orwell & Socialism 
(a more extensive report on the other four speakers will follow):

BECAUSE the subject of this talk is specifically about Orwell's socialism I ought to say what I won't be dealing with.  Orwell is such a vast subject, and he featured on Radio 4 only this week.
I’ll only be touching on Raymond Williams's differences with regard to Orwell. With regard to the philosophical issues, and what has been called the 'Plato Problem', the 'Chomsky Problem', and the 'Orwell Problem', I do not intend to tackle these unless someone should ask a question relevant to this.

Here I'm going to try to explain how Orwell was transformed into becoming a socialist.
In 2011, I gave some talks in Newcastle, London and Bristol dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War.  About that time at a meeting of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, the historian Professor Preston had described George Orwell’s book 'Homage to Catalonia' by saying: 
'George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is a book which I would rank alongside Spike Milligan's “Adolf Hitler: My part in His Downfall”, another interesting book by a footsoldier who played a small part in a much wider conflict'.
Since then Professor Preston has cheerfully repeated this claim from time to time.  He did it at a lecture at the Imperial War Museum; on 'Start the Week' with Andrew Marr; and on Radio 3 on 'Night Waves'.
At that time in 2011, as an ethnomethodologist, I was keen to show that Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia' was an eye-witness account in the tradition of an ethnography rather than an attempt at historical analysis.
In December 1936, George Orwell left England for Spain, but he was STILL unsure  whether he would participate as a soldier or as a journalist.
Orwell's biographer Michael Shelden in his book 'Orwell - an Authorised Biography' writes:
...[Orwell] doubted whether he had the stamina or the skill to be a good soldier. And because of the chronic weakness of his lungs, he suspected// he would be turned down for health reasons if he tried to enlist. Yet he did not rule out joining one of the Spanish political militias if they could use him.
But he decided that the best way to serve the cause was to observe the war and write about it for the New Statesman or some other English paper that was sympathetic to the Republican government.’
We know now that in the end Orwell opted to join the POUM Militia.  And we know that Orwell kept a journal and wrote notes in the trenches.  It is now on record that this journal was seized by the communist police from his hotel room while he was on the run sleeping on building sites in Barcelona in May 1937.

When I made reference to doing an ethnography in my Bristol talk in 2011, I was invited to explain was an ethnography was.

The definition taken from the Glossary of terms written by Simon Coleman and Bob Simpson is that:
'Ethnography is the recording and analysis of a culture or society usually based on participant-observation and resulting in a written account of a people, a place or an institution.'

Before I go on to consider its limitations and the methodological problems of what Orwell is doing here and perhaps elsewhere, let me say something to my current talk:
Timothy Garton Ash, who reported on the wars in the Balkans described Orwell's book 'Homage to Catalonia' as a gold standard in war reporting, and the journalist Paul Foot in his Guardian review of the book claimed it made him into socialist.

Yet Orwell eludes to the fact that his Spanish experiences and the good fortune to be among Spaniards turned him into a socialist.  Before that he had been described as a Tory anarchist.
About half way through the book, on page 101 of my own Penguin edition, Orwell wrote:
'I had dropped into by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites.'
And he goes on:
'Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly but not all, of working-class origins, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality.'
He speaks of the sense of near perfect equality that he found up there on the Aragon front., and he says he felt he was 'experiencing a foretaste of socialism adding that he found 'ordinary class-divisions had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England.'
He writes that:
'No one was there except for us and the peasants, no one owned anyone else as his master.'

So, up there in the trenches South of the Pyrenees, Orwell concluded that for most people 'socialism means a classless society or it means nothing.'
Orwell also talks about the fashion to deny that socialism had anything to do with equality and he writes;
'In every country in the world a huge tribe of party hacks and sleek little professors are busy "proving" that socialism means no more than planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact.'
Orwell claims that 'the mystique of socialism is equality and it's this idea that attracts ordinary folk to socialism.'

That's what Orwell maintained in the 1930!
So for Orwell it was equality that mattered not left-wing Keynsianism or half-baked Fabianism.

I think it was over this distaste for 'planned state-capitalism' that Orwell and Raymond Williams differed.

So what is wrong with Orwell's book on Spain?

According to Professor Preston in the Guardian this year:
'However, limited to the time and place of Orwell's presence in Spain, Orwell situated on a quiet sector of a quiet front, his book would certainly not be there as a reliable analysis of the broader politics of the war, particularly of its international determinants.'
He clearly, says Preston, 'knew nothing of its origins or of the social crisis behind the Barcelona clashes.'
To grasp the bigger picture 'the broader politics of the war', Preston seems to be saying that to get the analysis right we will have to turn to proper historians who have the benefit of hindsight.
Perhaps the kind of historians like Gabriel Jackson, that Noam Chomsky describes and critiques in his essay 'OBJECTIVITY AND LIBERAL SCHOLARSHIP'.
In that essay, Chomsky argues that what these academic historians like Jackson tend to do is ignore the views of the workers in a struggle such as that in Spain. 

Look at what Professor Preston says about Spike Milligan's book, belittling 'footsoldiers'.  Or where he writes:
'Homage to Catalonia is a book about the Spanish war written from a narrow perspective, by someone who left out much that the professional historian could now encompass, supported as he is, by the enriched body of scholarship which has been published in Spanish, Catalan, and English... since 1996.'
With the greatest respect to Professor Preston and the rest of the community of scholars, I think we should remind ourselves of what Isaiah Berlin had to say and history and the historians.   To remind ourselves that no-one, not even Marx, managed in their powerful attempt to turn history into a science.

As an ethnomethodologist, it seems to me that history often verges on the art of advocacy.  Professor Preston's main gripe is that Orwell's book is the only book most people read about the Spanish war.

Why is Orwell's book so popular?  Why is it so widely read?

In the last few months I have just finished interviewing Joan Christopher about her husband Bill Christopher, who was a socialist and anarcho-syndicalist in the ILP, and she told me that Bill Christopher became politically transformed to socialism while serving in the Second World War.
Similarly, I have just discovered that the philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was writing 'The Tractatus', while fighting in the Austrian army on the Russian front in the First World War experienced a similar transformation.  Before the war Wittgenstein had considered that he was preparing a book on logic, but after his experiences in the war he decided that he had written a book that was fundamentally ethical.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised then, that Orwell describes his transformation following his Spanish encounters thus:
'I was hardly conscious of the changes occurring in my own mind'.
Or where says on page 103 of the Penguin edition:
'I hope I can convey to you the atmosphere of the time.  The good luck of being among Spaniards with their innate decency, there ever present anarchist tinge.'
And when he writes this, unlike the 'sleek professors' and the historians, he's not trying to tell us something, he's not lecturing us as his readers, he's conveying something - he's showing us something of what it was like.  He's giving us a picture!

Orwell's memory broods over 'incidents that might seem too petty to be worth recalling':
'I am in the dug-out at Monte Pocero on the limestone ledge that serves as a bed.'
'I am... struggling to keep my balance and to tug a root of wild rosemary out of the ground.  High overhead meaningless bullets are singing.'

What Orwell is doing is showing us a picture of the underlying nature of the war.
Professor Preston feeds us facts and figures, while Orwell shows us something of the true nature of war.  Hence, 'Homage to Catalonia' is the most widely read book on the Spanish Civil War precisely because of this.
At my talk in Newcastle a lad there claimed that he'd stood where Orwell had stood on guard in Barcelona on guard on the Ramblas just opposite the Cafe Moka.  And he said that he didn't believe Orwell's account because he wouldn't have been able to see the Civil Guards across the street he was supposed to fire at.

Not being able to see everything symbolises the problem of Orwell's limitations.  The limitations of the eye-witness account; the limitation of the foot-soldier.

If we consider Tolstoy's Epilogue to 'War & Peace', we find that it was Napoleon not the foot-soldier who couldn't see the battle from where he was standing.  He couldn't see for all the smoke and dust produced in the battle.  Consequently, Napoleon had to depend on the dispatch riders whose messages were unreliable and useless, because the situation had changed in the time it had taken to reach their Emperor to get his orders.

Yet we find that at the Battle of Borodino, according to Tolstoy,  it was precisely the foot-soldiers and their morale that mattered, rather than the commands of the great man.

Regarding Orwell's lack of prior understanding of the Spanish conflict I want to say something.

I knew Vernon Richards the old editor of FREEDOM, the anarchist newspaper.  Vernon was close to Orwell in the 1930s and 40s, and he told me that Orwell didn't have much background knowledge of Spanish politics or indeed really deep understanding of the nature of the Spanish conflict before he went to Spain.

Orwell was really in the same situation as David in the Ken Loach film 'Land and Freedom'.  David was a bit of a scous bumpkin in the film, and he had to mature during the course of a two-hour film.  Yet precisely by being naive, both David, Orwell and the viewer, can begin eventually to see things as  we shall say, 'anthropologically strange'.  

Martha Gellhorn, who travelled around Spain during the Spanish Civil War reporting on events, shows us the importance of the on the spot account when she says:  'I wrote very fast, as I had to, afraid that I would forget the exact sound, smell, words, gestures, which were special to this moment and this place.'

Philp French in his Observer review of 'Land and Freedom' writes:
'David has a painful lesson that leads from naivety to maturity without making him a cynic.  He retains his belief in the essential decency of working people and their right to control their own destinies, individually and as a community.'

Hence, I believe it was an advantage from the point of view of an anthropological account that George Orwell didn't have any apriori made-up opinions when he first went to Spain.
******

Thursday, 14 September 2017

“Alternative Libertaire”

 by Anna Jeffery

AS the centenary of the Somme and the Soviet have been marked in the media I’ve been struck by how much the role of women has been ignored.  Not so by the French magazine “Alternative Libertaire” whose current issue prominently features the activities of Ukrainian anarchist Maria Nikiforova (1885-1919).

“Banditka Maroussia”
During the Russian revolution Maria proved an irrepressible insurrectionary organiser but at the outbreak of the Great War she backed the Allies, along with Peter Kropotkin, against the overwhelming tide of international anarchist opinion.
What especially interests me about her, as the magazine explicitly recognises is that Nikiforova was, “an anarchist, orator, indomitable fighter, tossed about by the contrary winds which blew in the Russian revolution”.  So much anarchist “history” purports to eschew heroes whilst in reality erecting alternative plaster saints.  Nikiforova is an outstanding revolutionary character with feet of clay who held fast to libertarian principles whilst navigating her way through the treacherous waters of revolutionary warfare.  Sometimes she fought in alliance with the Bolsheviks, sometimes against.

“Bezmotivnii”
The daughter of an army officer, Maria became a revolutionary at the age of 16. Although generally claimed as an anarchist-communist Nikiforova practised the “propaganda of the deed”, committing indiscriminate acts of violence against the rich attributed to the “Bezmotvnii” (Motiveless).
In 1908 Maria was sentenced to 20 years hard labour for murdering a state official but escaped from prison the following year.  For almost a decade she travelled from country to country evading the authorities and in 1913 attended the London Conference of Russian Anarchist-Communists. Returning to Russia in 1917 she organised anarchist militias forces to liberate the Ukraine from all authorities of whatever colour.  Often she fought alongside the forces of the better known anarchist insurrectionary, Nestor Mahkno but even this alliance didn’t always run smooth.

“Joan of Arc of Anarchism”
Nikiforova was twice put on trial by the Bolsheviks but it was the “Whites” that finally did for her. Captured by Deniken’s army in August 1919 she was tried and shot a month later.  With recent access to previously closed Russian files, Maria Nikiforva’s full story is still being unearthed and much remains shrouded in mystery.  Masters of black propaganda the Bolsheviks subsequently disparaged Maria’s politics and even her appearance and sexuality in a systematic and determined campaign to diminish the revolutionary contribution of all but the Party.
The magazine concedes, Maria Nikiforova, “wasn’t the harpy caricatured by Soviet propaganda, she wasn’t the Joan of Arc of Anarchism of her English biographer” yet she emerges an inspiring figure and a reminder of countless un-recorded female activists who struggle alongside more celebrated male comrades.

Anna Jeffery (Especial thanks to my friend Martin Gilbert of Ulverston for drawing my attention to this edition - no. 234, July/August 2017 – of “Alternative Libertaire”)

Bill Christopher: A radical born on Bastille Day

From South Africa to West Yorkshire

Brian Bamford peruses the politics of the 1960s, 

as he talks to Joan Christopher about her husband, Bill

THE early 1960s was a time of great expectations in radical left-wing politics.  There had just been the Campaign to Boycott South African Goods, called by the Anti-Apartheid Movement.  The boycott attracted widespread support from students, trade unions and the Labour, Liberal and the then Communist Party.  The Anti-Apartheid Movement had begun as the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959 to persuade shoppers to boycott apartheid goods.

The Campaign to Boycott South African Goods had been preceded by another single issue social movement the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was founded in 1957 in the wake of widespread fear of nuclear conflict and the effects of nuclear tests.  In the early 1950s, Britain had become the third atomic power, after the USA and the USSR had recently tested an H-bomb.

 Joan and Bill Christopher on holiday in France
Politically this was the atmosphere of the early 1960s, especially in London where Bill and Joan Christopher were to be activist members of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) for most of their adult lives.  However, there were unofficial strikes and industrial struggles going on at that time, and in 1960 Bill had left the I.L.P. to join the Worker's Party [1] formed by Brian Behan [2], when Brian and others had broken away from the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League in 1960.  The Worker’s Party later merged with the Syndicalist Worker’s Federation (SWF).

Later together with the Freedom Press anarcho-syndicalist carpenter Peter Turner, Bill Christopher was to become joint-secretary of the Industrial Sub-committee of Committee of 100 [3], that was a time of great conflict and activity during the national campaign against nuclear weapons and the Bomb.  It was to be out of this Committee of 100 London Industrial Sub-Committee that the industrially based National Rank & File Movement (N.R&F.M)[4], an organisation of militant trade unionists and shop-floor syndicalists, developed and was founded at a conference in London in January 1961.

An article in Freedom newspaper covering this National Rank & File founding conference, of which Bill Christopher was an active member,announced:
 
'This week-end there is to be held in London the first Conference of the newly-formed Rank and File Movement.  Much work has been put into the preparation of this conference by liaison committees; discussion meetings have been going on in London, resolutions and amendments have been drawn up, and it may well be that this event will be a significant one for militants among the industrial workers at least.' 
(FREEDOM: January 28, 1961)


Joan Christopher speaking to N.V. in Todmorden, West Yorkshire

  Introduction to the interview by Brian Bamford

These were the days before Spies for Peace and before my own trip to Spain in February 1963 on behalf of the young libertarians of F.I.J.L in France, before the arrest of Stuart Christie in Madrid in 1964, well before the student sit-ins at the L.S.E. in 1967 and before the French events in 1968 and the 'Donovan Report' into the trade unions .  Back then I and my then compañera, Joan Matthews, who were staying with the S.W.F. national secretary Ken Hawkes at his home on Parliament Hill, attended this London national rank and file conference of perhaps 200 workers and activists; we were both employed at that time at the same engineering firm in the North West. At this conference we were sat in front of the Freedom Press anarchists Colin Ward, Philip Sanson and his compañera.  It was the first time that I’d met people like

Bill Christopher, Brian Behan, Ken Weller of Solidarity, and Peter Turner of Freedom Press, with whom I became a close friend for the rest of his life.  

In a pamphlet authored by Bill Christopher entitled 'SMASH THE WAGE FREEZE!' (1960s), and published by the Syndicalist Worker's Federation, Bill wrote:

'It is obvious that today only a Labour Government would dare to implement a wage-freeze policy and arm it with heavy penalties for non-implementation...  The opening attack on workers' wages and conditions came with George Brown's Joint Statement of Intent on Productivity, Prices and Incomes.... shop stewards wishing to improve wages and / or conditions in their plant, are subject to the penalties of the Act.  The officials of their respective unions can also be penalised.'
 
The intention of the then Labour government here would be to discourage unofficial strikes, that is strikes not supported and financed by the trade unions: in the 1950s and early 1960s unofficial strikes represented about 90% of all the industrial action taking place.  Historically shop stewards were intended to be simply 'union card checkers', in the 1896 rule book of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, that later became A.U.E.W., this was stated to be the sole role of the steward.  Yet, after the Second World War the shop steward had become a key figure on the shop-floor.  Bill Christopher during his involvement with the S.W.F. and in his writings as an industrial editor on Freedom, was anxious to extend the responsibilities of the shop stewards as was the rest of us involved in the National Rank & File Movement.

*******

Political Journey - wartime South Africa to West Yorkshire



Bill Christopher in the North of England

Bill Christopher was born on Bastille Day in July 1924, and died in January 1993.

Brian Bamford's Joan Christopher interview on Bill Christopher:
Began April 2015 and was finally completed in July 2017.

Brian Bamford: When did you and Bill first move up to Todmorden?

Joan Christopher: We came here in July 1986. I was born an Essex girl in a town called Woodford in 1928, but my family moved to Walthamstow from around 1930.

Brian:  How did you find living up here?

Joan:  We didn't know how things were going to work out. Of course, we had been up to visit Aileen and Bob (daughter and son in-law) several times. But I soon learned to drive after coming up and I began to go to college to do A-level art. Some dear friends of ours Eric and Joan Preston (in the Independent Labour Party) lived in Leeds

Brian:  Has Todmorden changed much since you came?

Joan:  There has not been a great deal of change. There is more of a hint of tourism – a bit like (nearby) Hebden Bridge, and it's more gentrified now. We use to meet people who had not been out of Todmorden all their lives.

Brian:  How does life up here compare with London?

Joan:  Bill use to reminisce about about London. He didn't seem to settle down as much as me. For me I’ve liked living up here and I find ‘Tod.’ people very friendly – I like somewhere a bit rural and countryfied.

Brian:  How did you meet Bill?

Joan:  I use to work with Bill's sister, Jean; sewing. I started working when I was 14-years-old at a dress-making factory cutting, finishing and re-drawing from the pattern book on Hudson Street, Walthamstow for about 4 months.   I then worked at Cannels Ltd dress-making. It was through his sister Jean that I met Bill and we first went out at Xmas 1942. Jean use to say Bill only liked me because I liked playing monopoly.  He had asked me to go to the pictures a week before he went into the RAF.   Bill was a volunteer and didn’t wait to be called-up, nor was he influenced by his mates at the time into his decision to join up.   At that time he was at first doing air-training in St. Johns Wood.
Later he was based in South Africa training to be a navigator, and didn't come home until 1944. After that he was in the Army in India until 1947.
While he was in India during the troubles there; that is during the Bombay riots, I remember him saying that he shot into the air,.rather risk hitting anyone.
He didn't talk much about South Africa! It was the war that influenced his later political views as well as his later (post war) experience in India (in the Army).  When he went to the war he had been a Christian and as a boy he wanted to be a missionary in the Church of England. My Mum too had been a strong believer before she met my Dad.
After he left the Army, Bill (Christopher) went back to working in the print (industry) in the 1940s up to the 1970s.  He was an Imperial Father of Chapel (Works Convenor) at the Daily Mail in NATSOPA and Sogat. After he left school he worked flat-bed printing on 'The Queen' magazine, which was a glossy.  He was doing White Chapel preparation though his grandfather had been a copy-taker.   He left the Daily Mail, went on to Teacher’s Training College, and later began teaching in the early 1970s.  He taught at Leyton County High School for Boys.  Bill was a member of the NUT (National Union of Teachers).   Bill came into teaching as a mature student and ended up teaching sociology as part of his teacher’s training certificate.

Brian:  Why did you both come up North?

Joan:   In July 1985, he decided to retire, because Bill didn't have a degree and he assumed that he wouldn't get a job in a 6th form College or High School. He was 61 (Bill was born in July 1924). We already had a daughter living in Cornholme in Todmorden. Our daughter, Aileen, has lived in the North longer than down in London. She originally lived in Cornholme, Todmorden, but is now over the border in Burnley.
When we got here Bill studied for a Master's degree (entitled) 'The women's role in the factories in World War II'. An oral history involving (research) doing interviews with workers (who had) worked in the mills and factories in the Tod(morden) area (in the War). It was a dissertation for his MA (Master's Degree), and I typed it up for him on a Word. Processor. He started studying for a Phd shortly before he died.

Brian:  What do you reckon of today's politicians?

Joan:  You can see that I am a Labour supporter (a Labour Party poster is in the window). Both me and Bill voted Labour in the 1945 and 1951 general elections: although I haven't got a lot of faith in any of them. Because they make promises and then can't deliver. I look on Labour as being the lesser evil. I always vote, because people died to get the vote. The trouble is that big business has more control, although you do get the odd MP who does a good job.

Brian:  But you were both in the Independent Labour Party (ILP)?


Joan:  (The I.L.P. merged with the Labour Party in 1975) when the I.L.P. stopped being the Independent Labour Party and became the 'Independent Labour Publications'.
Bob Galliers (Bill's son-in-law) intervene here to say that Bill had always been a syndicalist or anarcho-syndicalist, and that they (Bill and Joan) had been raided by the police in 1963 after the revelations in the Spies for Peace documents.
Joan Christopher then continued:
In the mid-1960s Bill wrote and edited industrial and labour reports for the Freedom newspaper with Peter Turner, who was a carpenter in the building trade.
I wrote for Freedom (the anarchist weekly newspaper) a piece about that raid after the 'Spies for Peace' [5] incident at Aldermaston at Easter in 1964. (At that time this 'subversive' document was being widely circulated by anarchists, independent socialists and pacifists and) at a Conference of the I.L.P. in Yorkshire [probably Scarborough] everyone were asked to reproduce the 'Spies for Peace' leaflet.  (At that time) Eric Preston, Bill’s friend in the I.L.P., was being followed by the police as he moved 'Spies for Peace' leaflets and other materials from Leeds to London, but when he his copies in the Left Luggage, the police moved in and took them. The organisation 'Solidarity'* (nothing to do with the current Solidarity Federation) started the 'Spies for Peace' campaign. (Bob then intervened to say the journalist Natasha Walter published a book on the 'Spies for Peace'): (her father was, Nicolas Walter the well-known anarchist writer, and the only member of the 'Spies for Peace' to go public on this matter).
We also duplicated a rank and file newsletter the ‘Seaman’s Voice’ in Cumberland Road, and as I recall one of the seamen ended-up stapling his own finger, but he was still enough of a gentleman to avoid swearing in front of a woman, although I’m sure that he wanted to.
Bill unsuccessfully fought the Walthamstow parliamentary seat (at different times) for both the ILP and CND.. He was a member of the (anarcho-syndicalist) Syndicalist Worker's Federation (SWF) and produced both 'Worker's Voice' (then the paper of the Worker's Party) and 'World Labour News'. Earlier in 1959, we were both involved in the 'Worker's Party'* with Brian Behan* (the brother of the play-write Brendan Behan and musician Dominic), but Brian was very mercurial.
Bill rejoined the I.L.P. around 1980ish, and the 'Friends of the ILP' are now part of the Labour Party.

Brian:  What did you do in the Miner’s Strike?

Joan:  We supported the miners! 
We had an ‘I.L.P. Miner’s Support Group’ through which we channelled our support. We were awarded a Miner’s Lamp for our efforts. I’ve still got that lamp here at the bottom of the stairs.

Brian:   I believe that William Morris was born in Walthamstow?

Joan.:  Yes, in the 1930s the house were he was born was turned into a clinic, and when I was a kid, I attended the clinic for treatment in about 1935.

Brian:  Many of those anarchists and syndicalists in London in the 1960s, I remember as having a wide variety of other interests as well as politics. Over the years from the 1960s I often stayed in London on the Peabody Estate behind Chelsea Town Hall on Kings Road with Bill’s old mate, the joiner Peter Turner and his then wife Gladys, and we often would talk about you and Bill. Peter loved cinema, the arts and above all music. As I recall from talking to Peter, he Bill and Jack Stevenson were all very enthusiastic about Jazz – I think Jack and Bill had disputes over their tastes in Jazz?

Joan:  Yes, we all had a passion for Jazz! But at first I was into the Classics, and Bill was into Jazz. When we were living on Cumberland Road we made it open-plan, and, on Jack Stevenson’s advice bought a Pye Black Box. We liked Bruck, Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Oscar Peterson. But it was through Jack Stevenson we came to know the track by Jack Teagarden ‘Tribute to Sydney Bechet’ (Joan at this point started to hum the tune). ‘I want that played at my funeral’, she said.

Brian:  Did you know many other people at Freedom besides Pete Turner? People like Vernon Richards, Colin Ward and Philip Sanson?

Joan:    Indeed, we were close to quite a few people at Freedom Press, and would go over for lunch on the odd Sunday to Philip Sansom and his partner’s house. We knew Tom Cowan and his Italian wife Gabrella. He was in the building trade. We were also close to Ken Hawkes, a sports journalist on the Reynolds News and the anacho-syndicalist editor of World Labour News – the journal of the Syndicalist Worker’s Federation (SWF) in the 1960s. Brian Behan, the brother of the play-write Brendan Behan, was another good friend who we knew Brian was a bit eccentric, he lived in a pre-fab with his wife and use to wear bicycle clips, and we asked him about this he turned his pockets out and showed us the holes. The bike-clips were there to catch the coins in.  His wife later went into teaching.  Brian was a carpenter in the building trade who was blacklisted and ended-up at university. I’m still in touch with Dave Picket who took over the S.W.F., when Ken Hawkes, who lived on Parliament Hill in Hampstead, left to go to work for the BBC.


Brian:  Thank you for that Joan, and please express my thanks to Aileen and Bob for all their help in producing this short rendering of the life of Bill Christopher.
******

[1] The Worker's Party was a breakaway from the Socialist Labour League in summer 1960.

[2] Brian Behan, the brother of the Irish play-write Brendan Behan, founded a short-lived 'Workers Party', which published Worker's Voice and was active in support of the Seaman's Strike.
In 1964, Behan wrote his first piece on his family life, With Breast Expanded. Forced to give up building work due to an arm injury, he moved to live on a boat in Shoreham-by-Sea and studied history and English at Sussex University. He then studied teaching, before in 1973 becoming a lecturer in media studies at the London College of Printing.[3] In 1972, he contested in a swearing match at the British Museum, to mark the republication of Robert Graves' Lars Porsena.[2]
[3] The Committee of 100 was set up after a difference in CND about the use of civil disobedience as a political weapon between Canon Collins and the philosopher Bertrand Russell,

[4] The National Rank & File Movement. Affiliates of SWF; the Worker’s Party; the ILP; Commonwealth; London Anarchists; Socialism Re-affirmed (publication Agitator - later Solidarity).
[5] The ‘Spies for Peace’ was a clandestine group of individuals including we now know the Freedom Press anarchist, Nicolas Walter, later admitted involvement: His Wikipeadia entry states: ‘Walter was a member of Spies for Peace, the only member to be publicly identified, only after his death. In March 1963, it broke into Regional Seat of Government No. 6
(RSG-6), copied documents relating to the Government's plans in the event of nuclear war and distributed 3,000 leaflets revealing their contents.’
In his book ‘Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow’ the historian David Goodway wrote:
The Spies for Peace were essentially this group (Solidarity), locating and entering the Regional Seat of Government (RSG) at Warren Pow, Berkshire, and circulating the pamphlet, Danger! Official Secret: RSG-6.
[6] ‘Solidarity' publication of the Socialism Re-affirmed Group edited by Christopher Pallis and Ken Weller, was originally entitled the 'The Agitator' until 1961.


GEORGE ORWELL & SOCIALISM

Saturday 16th, September, 1p.m. at the RED SHED, 
Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.
Invites you to
GEORGE ORWELL & SOCIALISM
Speakers:
Brian Bamford*:
(Secretary of Tameside TUC & Secretary of Unite Bury Commercial NW 353 Branch).
Alan Stewart:
(Convenor of  Wakefield Socialist Hisoty Group).
Robin Stocks:
(Author of 'Hidden Heros of Easter Week')

FREE ADMISION.
FREE LIGHT BUFFET
ALL WELCOME. 
*****
 Les Hurst of the George Orwell Society, and Quentin Kopp (the son of George Kopp, George Orwell's POUM commander in Spain) will be attending the GEORGE ORWELL AND SOCIALISM event at the Red Shed. 

Comrades,
*  Brian Bamford (Sec of Tameside TUC and Sec of Bury Unite Commercial Branch) will be one of several speakers at the GEORGE ORWELL AND SOCIALISM event at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 on Saturday 16th September.   The event starts at 1pm.
The area Brian will be covering in his talk is outlined below.
Fraternally
Alan Stewart
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group





Prof. Preston and George Orwell: The varieties of historical investigation and experience
A couple of years ago, at a gathering of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, Professor Paul Preston, describing George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, said: ‘It is not a bad book but the trouble is, it is the only book many people read on the Spanish Civil War’ or words to that effect. Pro. Preston suggested that ‘Homage to Catalonia’ was a book written about the Spanish War from the narrow perspective of someone who had only spent six or seven months involved in the conflict on a quiet front in the North of Spain – Aragon & Catalonia – and, that it left out much which the professional historian could now encompass supported, as he is, by the enriched ‘body of scholarship which has been published in Spanish, Catalan, English … since 1996’ (see Preface to Preston’s The Spanish Civil War [2006]). Is a modern history, written in a library by a professional historian such as that of Professor Preston’s, to be preferred to a first-hand account of the conflict written almost in the heat of battle, or shortly afterwards? Will not the professional historian and scholar’s account be more objective than that written by the former combatant and novelist? Is not the one clearly superior to the other? If not, how do we judge and value these differing contributions?
Brian Bamford is an ethno-methodologist/sociologist, who formerly worked as a maintenance electrician. He is at present Secretary of Tameside Trade Union Council and Secretary of Bury Unite the Union. He helped to edit the Tameside TUC booklet on the 75th Anniversary of the Spanish Civil War [3rd Edition],...

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

War of the Words: Guardian vs Mail

ON June 22nd, this year, Dominic Ponsford writing in the PRESS GAZETTE remarked that 'The Daily Mail has launched its most savage ever editorial attack on long-time critic The Guardian accusing it of “fake news” and being a “purveyor of hatred”.'
Mr. Ponsford claimed at that time that:
'Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre appears to have been spurred into action by a Guardian cartoon which depicted the van which attacked mosque worshippers at Finsbury Park with the words: “Read Sun and the Daily Mail” on the side of it.'
 It seems that the Guardian had run a few stories in which it had compared the Daily Mail to an 'open sewer' and a reader’s letter which said it was an 'organ of hate speech'.

The Mail editor Paul Dacre responded that it wouldn’t matter if The Guardian’s 'infantile lies' were confined to the pages of a 'little-read dying paper'.
'But in this age of social media, they are spread and amplified through the great distorting echo-chamber of the internet, where the mob really does rule…'


In May, The Observer, from the same stable as the Guardian, had run a piece by the journalist Tim Adams in which he asked 'Is this the most dangerous man in Britain?' in an headline over a photo of Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre. 
Mr Adams claimed that 'Paul Dacre had never had much time for what he christened Cameron’s “chumocracy”.'
Tim Adams describes the intensity of Dacre's work ethic thus: 

'Each weekday evening between about seven and 10pm he leaves his office to sit on the paper’s back bench and remorselessly rehash that day’s offering, all the while delivering what staff call “the vagina monologues”, heated critical assessments of his journalist’s efforts, with scattershot use of his favourite word, “cunt”.  Though the Mail’s website, with its sidebar of celebrity shame, is the most visited news site in the world,  Dacre has little interest in technology.  He edits with a blunt pencil, often apparently with enough vitriol to shred his page proofs.'

Meanwhile, the current issue of Private Eye's 'Street of Shame' column describes how the great dictator Dacre seeks to deliver a 'style guide' to his paper's sub-editors on how to use the English language 'to ensure that [his] readers will perceive the world the way editor Paul Dacre prefers to see it...'.  The Eye asks 'DO YOU SPEAK DACRE?'.

It's a woman's world!

by Les May
THERE was an interesting juxtaposition of articles in the ‘i’ newspaper this morning.   On the left hand side of page 19 was a piece headed ‘Women to direct every show of RSC summer season’.  On the right was a piece headed ‘Fatberg found in London sewers a total monster’.

Gushingly we were told ‘The Royal Shakespeare Company’s entire summer 2018 season will be directed by women, with strong parts cast for women of a variety of ages’.  And ‘… artistic director Gregory Doran said he would not follow the example of Michelle Terry the new boss of Shakespeare’s Globe, who has committed to to gender blind casting between men and women’.
Ooh goody!  Women of the world rejoice!  It will lift the hearts of the women who clean the toilets at the RSC to see how well their more fortunate ‘sistas’ are doing for themselves.

The ‘fatberg’ found in an east London sewer is twice the length of the pitch at Wembley, is rock hard, weighs 130 tons and will be shifted by eight workers using high-pressure hoses in nine hour shifts. For some reason the article did not mention whether Thames Water operate a ‘gender blind’ policy in recruiting sewer workers.
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Birmingham Bin Strike Latest

THE Birmingham bin strike has eight days more to run in theory, yet the unions are balloting for yet more action.
Rubbish is piling up on the city streets and has been since the strike began eary in the summer, but the current strike - which finished off Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy - expires on September 21 .
However, a ballot for more action is expected to complete on September 18 - and union leaders have previously threatened strikes could go into next year.
Meanwhile, union Unite is due in the High Court tomorrow seeking an injunction against the 113 redundancies handed out by Birmingham City Council on September 1.
The staff affected are currently on three months notice from that date - meaning they lose their jobs at the end of November.  Unite's legal action is aimed at blocking those redundancies.
The union is arguing it made a deal with the city council through ACAS and it should be bound by that.
Unite’s bin workers are currently striking for a total of three hours a day. Workers are also returning to the depot for all lunch and tea breaks in line with Birmingham Council’s hygiene policy.
Unite is currently re-balloting its member for further strike action, as required by anti-trade union laws, the ballot will close on September 18. If as expected Unite’s members renew their strike mandate the industrial action will continue until the New Year.
Unite’s bin workers are currently striking for a total of three hours a day.  Workers are also returning to the depot for all lunch and tea breaks in line with Birmingham Council’s hygiene policy.
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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Banned but not Gagged!

Health campaigner - Paul Broadhurst

A local pensioner and health campaigner from Dukinfield, in Greater Manchester, has received an invitation to a 'community open day' at 'Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust', despite being banned from entering hospital premises since November 2016.

Last September, Paul Broadhurst, received a letter from Weightmans solicitors of Liverpool- who act on behalf of Tameside Hospital - advising him that he was banned from entering any Trust premises unless his attendance was for a medical emergency or a pre-arranged medical appointment.

In October 2016, Mr. Broadhurst, who suffers from a serious heart condition, was escorted off the hospital premises by security staff while accompanying his wife who was attending the hospital for emergency medical treatment. He was told by hospital security staff that he'd been 'ASBO'd' and would have to leave the premises immediately. The CEO, of Tameside Hospital, Karen James, subsequently apologised for the way Mr Broadhurst and his wife had been treated, but the ban was not lifted. The letter form Weightmans solicitors, warned him:

"If you attend for any other purpose then you would be trespassing and action could be taken to remove you from the site and/or legal action could be brought against you."

To justify their actions in excluding Mr Broadhurst, the hospital alleges that he had called for the resignation of Paul Connellan, the Chairman of the hospital Board, and had disrupted meetings and intimidated staff. While Mr Broadhurst acknowledges that he's called on Connellan to resign, he says that many of the allegations made against him by the hospital are malicious, defamatory and unsubstantiated.  He says that in spite of seeking specific details about the nature of any complaints that have been made against him, neither the hospital or their solicitors, have been able to provide him with any "hard evidence." He also points out that his membership of the hospital Trust, has never been rescinded, although he cannot attend hospital meetings because of the ban.

It has often been cited in official reports on Tameside Hospital that hospital staff frequently feel bullied and harassed, not by Mr Broadhurst, but by Tameside Hospital management. Even though the hospital as a policy of "if in doubt speak out", many hospital staff have indicated in these reports that they feel at risk if they speak out about their concerns. Mr Broadhurst, alleges that one public governor from Droylsden, was forced to resign in February 2016, after raising concerns about "NHS Improvements." In his own particular case, he feels that the ban imposed by Tameside Hospital, is a crude attempt to silence him and to stop him asking awkward and critical questions and attending hospital meetings.

Tameside Hospital is massively in debt and this is a major reason why it was recently announced that Shire Hill Hospital in Glossop, is to close. The hospital are also planning to cut 246 beds at Tameside Hospital by 2020. Although the official spiel from the hospital is couched in terms of 'improving services' and 'reconfiguration', the financial considerations are inescapable. In 2010, the official regulator 'Monitor', declared the hospital to be "Clinically and financially unsustainable." In 2015/16 compensation claims hit £9m and we understand that five hospital board members, have recently "jumped ship."

Last year, the Trust balance sheet showed a deficit of £14 million plus a loan from the NHS for hospital improvements (including the new Darnton Unit at the Hospital) of £55 million. By  the end of the current financial year the estimated deficit will be £24 million and the loan will have risen to £78 million. At the declared interest rate of 3.6%, the repayments on the loan alone, will be at least £2.8 million per year.

At the Annual General Meeting of the Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (TGCCG), held at Dukinfield Town Hall on 26 July,  Mr Broadhurst - who was the only member of the public to attend the meeting - asked if the debt of the Trust would affect the ability of the TGCCG when funding or setting up with other service providers for the needs of the community. Kathy Rose, the Chief Financial Officer for TGCCG replied that this would have no bearing on money that the TGCCG allocates, as the hospital deal was directly with NHS Improvements. We understand that Paul Connellan, the Chairman of the Board at Tameside Hospital, who was at the meeting, declined to comment.

While Paul Broadhurst may have been banned from attending meetings at Tameside Hospital, it doesn't appear that the hospital have managed to gag him. He can now be found most weeks at the hospital car park, with placard and T-shirt proudly proclaiming, "THE TRUST THAT HIDES THE TRUTH!"

We understand that after receiving the invitation to attend the Tameside Hospital AGM and the "Open Day", Mr Broadhurst sent an email to the hospital on 23rd August, asking if his ban had been lifted. At the time of writing, we gather that the hospital have yet to respond.

Monday, 11 September 2017

MPs demand blacklisting mastermind be stripped of Big Ben public contract!


Book Review - by Derek Pattison
Blacklisted: The Full Story The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists
Author: Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain
This is the second edition of Blacklisted with the full story to date including the 
historic High Court victory and new revelations. Now with photographs.
* Buy print version:
 New Internationalist
The Old Music Hall
106-108 Cowley Rd
Oxford, OX4 1JE  UK
01865 403345

IT’s now over two-years ago since I first reviewed ‘Blacklisted – The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists’ by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain.  This new, second edition, ‘The Full Story’, deals with two major developments in the 18-months since the first edition of ‘Blacklisted’ was published.   One is the outcome of proceedings in the High Court against the so-called MacFarlanes Defendants and the other, is the ‘Pitchford Public Inquiry’, which is investigating undercover policing.  During the High Court proceedings, further evidence of blacklisting was disclosed and some of this has now been used in this book.

For people who are unfamiliar with this story of blacklisting of workers in the construction industry, which involved collusion between the state and the construction industry, it is perhaps necessary to say something about how this grossly illegal operation was discovered and exposed.

On 11 May 2016, in the High Court, in London, a public apology was made and an agreed joint statement was read out on behalf of a group of major British construction companies including – Balfour Beatty companies, Carillion, Costain, Kier Ltd, Laing companies, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Skanska UK, Vinci and Taylor Woodrow, and various individual defendants including, Cullum McAlpine, Danny O’Sullivan, David Cochrane and Stephen Quant. 

All these companies and individuals, known as the ‘MacFarlanes Defendants’ were apologising for having set up a secret and unlawful ‘Vetting Operation’ and database, also known as a ‘Blacklist’, to vet particular workers applying for jobs in the construction industry. 

We now know that the in-house lawyer for Laing O’Rourke, Paul Field, resigned his job on 9 March 2009 shortly after the discovery of the blacklist describing the operation as ‘Orwellian’ and ‘third-rate McCarthyism’.  In a witness statement, Field said that “he found the idea that people were denied work simply because they had joined a safety committee ‘repugnant’.

A large number of construction workers, in a group litigation, who were members of the trade unions UCATT, GMB, or clients of the law firm, Guney, Clark & Ryan, brought claims against them for “breach of confidence, misuse of private information, defamation, conspiracy and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.” 

Although liability had been initially denied by the Defendants, they admitted to having set up a secret scheme for vetting construction workers who were seeking employment in the industry between the early 1970s and 2009.  The secret operation went under the name of the ‘Services Group’, which was part of the notorious ‘Economic League’ and later, it became known as the “The Consulting Association.”   The database included details on individuals such as:


“Names, dates of birth, addresses, NI numbers, trade, employers’ names, alleged employment history, suspected political affiliations or sympathies or perceived militancy, trade union affiliation and activities, and complaints about health-and-safety or breaches of employment rights. "

This database was seized following a raid on the offices of The Consulting Association (TCA) in February 2009, by officers working for the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Over 3,000 files were confiscated which included details of construction workers and other individuals, including academics, lawyers, politicians and environmental activists.  These files represented only around 5 to 10 per cent of the information held by TCA at their office in Droitwich, Worcestershire.  In July 2009, the ‘data controller’, Ian Kerr, was fined £5,000 by Knutsford Crown Court, for operating an illegal database.  Kerr’s fine and legal costs were all paid by the construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine, who had set up this blacklisting operation. 

We now know that British Telecom (BT) had provided details about the location of Kerr’s address, only after being threatened with legal action by the ICO.  The ICO had previously raided the offices of Hayden Young – part of the Balfour Beatty group - in Watford in August 2008 and had obtained a fax number. When, following the raid at the offices of TCA,  Kerr’s wife, Mary Kerr, had asked why her husband had not been tipped off about the raid at Hayden Young, six months previously, she received a solicitor’s letter asking her to desist in her questioning. 

In a witness statement that was submitted to the High Court by Gerry Harvey, HR director for Balfour Beatty and a TCA contact for the firm, he disclosed that both he and his colleague, Armar Johnston – another TCA contact at Balfour Beatty – had been ordered not to disclose details of the raid at Hayden Young to Ian Kerr, by the Group Human Resources Director, Paul Raby, because he feared legal repercussions.  Both Harvey and Johnston were told to have no further involvement with TCA.

Gail Cartmail, a trade union officer with Unite the Union, told MPs at a Select Committee of the House of Commons that Gerry Harvey “has form on blacklisting.”   Despite being a TCA contact at Balfour Beatty, Harvey wrote to an Employment Tribunal in 2008, denying there was a ‘blacklist’ and suggested that the litigant, Colin Trousdale, was “paranoid.” Never the less, on the first page of Trousdale’s blacklisting TCA file, it was noted: “Trousdale is taking us to the Tribunal.”  Outside the offices of Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), in Glasgow, Trousdale told protestors: “Being a trade union member is not a crime: perjury is.”


An email found on Gerry Harvey’s laptop (exhibit in High Court), from Elaine Gallagher of Balfour Kilpatrick, dated 16/3/2009, a month after the ICO raid on TCA, says: “The email includes attached list of workers recorded as Not Required or code 11 ‘do not employ’ and an internal database kept by Balfour Beatty.” In his witness statement, Harvey went on to name:  

“Andrew Alison, Michael Shortall, Colin Trousdale, Danny Regan, Steve Acheson, Graham Bowker, Tony Jones, Sean Keaveney, Robert McKechan and Howard Nolan, as workers who appear on the internal database as unsuitable for employment.  “They are also all blacklisted by TCA for their union activities… Harvey does reassure the court that ‘regardless of the Consulting Association checking service neither I nor my staff would have employed Acheson, Bowker or  Jones, given their very high profile’.”  
(Exhibit for High Court – see also “Boys on the Blacklist” by Derek Pattison and Brian Bamford).

Despite three separate instructions to retain potentially relevant documents in March 2009, March 2013 and April 2013, Dinah Rose QC, told the High Court in January 2016, that the defendants were responsible for the deliberate destruction, non-provision and concealment of evidence.

“We can show that the defendants have destroyed documents systematically from the date of the ICO raid onwards in an effort to conceal their guilt.”

In a note of a telephone conversation he’d had with David Cochrane, Chairman of TCA at the time of the raid, Kerr records that he was instructed to: “Ring everyone, cease trading, close down. We don’t exist anymore, destroy data, stop processing.”

Although a multi-million pound compensation settlement was shared between 771 workers - Unite £10.5m, UCATT, £8.9m, GMB £5.4m and GC Ryan £6.6m, with costs paid by the companies estimated at between £75m and £250m, many blacklisted construction workers do not feel that they ever received justice.  There was no trial and none of the construction bosses was ever put in the dock or cross-examined.  To this day, not one of the construction bosses or so-called HR professionals who engaged in a prolonged period of illegal activity in running a secret blacklisting operation, have ever been prosecuted  for their squalid activities.  The only person to be prosecuted was Ian Kerr, who told the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in November 2012 – “I took the flak so they wouldn’t be drawn into all of this. They would remain hidden if you like…”  Nor has there been much appetite on the part of the Conservative government, for a public inquiry into this matter.  Many of these construction companies are major financial backers of the Tory Party.  Only five blacklist cases ever reached a full employment tribunal and only three won their claims.  Most cases were dismissed as being ‘out-of-time’ or on the grounds of employment status such as agency workers.

Likewise, many people who found themselves ‘blacklisted’, remain convinced that blacklisting is still going on. Since the TCA raid in February 2009, there has been evidence of blacklisting taking place at Crossrail and the Olympics and workers like the electrician Dan Collins, continue to get sacked for raising concerns about health and safety. In December 2016, Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, re-opened the file on the construction industry stating that she feared that the 'malpractice' (blacklisting) was still taking place. She said her staff and been put on a 'watching brief.'

In July 2015, the Home Secretary announced the terms of the ‘Pitchford Inquiry’ into undercover policing and the ‘Blacklist Support Group’ (BSG), have been given ‘core participant’ status.   In March 2012, David Clancy, investigation’s manager for the ICO and a former police officer, told The Observer that some of the information held in the TCA files could only have come from the police or security services. The police watchdog, the IPCC, have already told the BSG that Special Branch had “routinely provided information about prospective employees” and that, “It is likely that all Special Branches were involved in providing information that kept certain individuals out of work.”  This was denied by the police inquiry ‘Operation Herne’, who said there was no such evidence.

In October 2014, John McDonnell MP, named detective chief inspector Gordon Mills, head of police liaison at the ‘National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit’ (NECTU), as a senior officer who had given a power point presentation at a meeting of TCA held in Oxford in 2008.  Although Mills admitted his attendance and presentation, he said it was a ‘misunderstanding’ and that he hadn’t realized it was a meeting of TCA.  Following a newspaper article in the ‘London Evening Standard’, Mills: 


“sent letters via his lawyers, Slater and Gordon, who represent the Police Federation, threatening to sue McDonnell, the Guardian, the GMB union (*) and two small websites, Union Solidarity International and Northern Voices. None of those who received threatening letters apologized for linking DCI Mills with the blacklisting meeting or paid him any money. All legal actions subsequently ran out of time.”

If Mr. Kerr was the monkey behind the Consulting Association, then, Cullum McAlpine was the organ grinder.   The Association was run under his leadership and guidance to “provide a blacklisting service” (Scottish Affairs Select Committee – Blacklisting in Employment, sixth report). In January 2016, Dinah Rose QC told the High Court:
“Cullum McAlpine is a very senior, very important man. It is very important that he should not be seen to have got away with what was clearly a protracted period of unlawful activity which it is plain that Mr. Cochrane was seeking to cover up.”

This is why some MPs and blacklisted construction workers are now demanding that Sir Robert McAlpine be stripped of the £29m four year prestigious refurbishment contract of the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben. Shadow minister for labour, Jack Dromey, said: 


“There has to be consequences for historic blacklisting, it is scandal that the iconic Big Ben contract has been given to that company (Sir Robert McAlpine).” 

(*) Editors note: since publishing this book review we have been made aware of the following:

'In August 2017, GMB posted a clarification on their website stating that union "did not intend to suggest that Mr Mills was directly responsible for the Consulting Association's blacklisting" accepting that "he was not knowingly involved in" information passing between the police and the Consulting Association used to blacklist workers'. http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/newsroom/gordon-mills-crocodile-tears.html