International Women’s Day – 2017

C6aU6gDXQAEYVNOA tweet from Nottingham Library Services to tell us of Nottingham City’s first woman Councillor – Caroline Harper, whose obituary in the Nottingham Evening Post has been found from the online newspaper archive.
The tweet – ‘“Nottingham’s Pioneer Woman” who died in 1937: first female City Cllr, first female , first female Magistrate
I know the current residents of the house in Lucknow Avenue and they report –
“Surprisingly, we had not heard of the lady.
“An earlier resident here was the popular Town Clerk from 1912 to 1937 Sir William John Board OBE and his family; and

I have some info on him (was he known as Bill Board?).
“He died in 1946 and Lady Board in 1947, both aged 77.
“The City Engineer Brown, whose works included the Victoria Embankment and Wilford Bridge, lived next door.”
More anon.

Meanwhile, should not leave this topic without mentioning the first woman leader of the city council – Betty Higgins.

The Dilettante Society published an article on Nottingham suffragette Helen Watts via Left Lion.

17202721_954766740280_5698338505358977230_nMeanwhile, Gedling Borough Councillor Roxanne Ellis was part of a launch of a quilt commemorating the 598 women killed between 2009 and 2015, which was unveiled at the Houses of Parliament.
(From memory), one of the victims was from my home village, Hanwoodbank (in Salop).

O.J. – another documentary

Another telling of the O.J.Simpson story, this time a documentary that explains the society of Los Angeles that led to the hard beliefs that probably led to Simpson being found not guilty of the murder of his ex-wife and a waiter.

However, as juror no.2 points out, the police and the prosecution messed things up – failing to keep the murder scene uncontaminated; taking a suspect’s blood to the murder scene; asking Simpson to try the glove on in court; using a (apparently previous) racist police officer as a detective.
Seven and a half hours telling the story more fully than I’ve seen elsewhere.
O.J.: Made in America” is available on BBC tv i-player.
A complement to the terrific 2016 tv drama series (yeah, where are the dramas about inncocent black people being found guilty?)

Fences and house rules

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A decent father, raising a second son with clear ideas of permissions with responsibilities, caring for his war-wounded brother, making his way as dustbin worker, denied glory as a baseball player cos of racial prejudice, shares bonhomie with his mate and his wife in the backyard.
As the film develops, this  initial upbeat presentation falls apart in the lights of stories from his past, betrayals of his wife and set-tos with his second son.
Some great lines leading to a conclusion whereby his second son even thinks he won’t attend the father’s funeral, cos it’s clear some of the house rules had been wrong.
And yet he’s turned around when his mother explains the good that was done.
And if parents’ rules are a part of growing up, then so is working out what was right and what was wrong.
Wiki page.

Denial: the verdict

“Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately denial-irving-loses-ruling-ab0745hmisrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism…[4][65] therefore the defence of justification succeeds…[5] It follows that there must be judgment for the Defendants.[66]
The court case verdict is so important.
The solicitor says it plain: the defendants’ book has stood the test.
And the Fascist’s credibility as historian is destroyed.  He is a racist and anti-Semite, he is a holocaust-denier – the judge found so.

Coverage of the case on TV that night kinda gave Irving a chance to repeat the stuff he’d been found wrong on, and emphasised why Lipstatd and Penguin Ltd.’s took the stance they did – put Irving on trial, not the author, and not the survivors of Auschwitz.

Denial” the movie is great.
Congratulations to all involved.
Says what holocaust denial is.
Shows Auschwitz as is now, in a compelling  and moving way.
Shows the defendants being knowledgeable, determined and effective.
Says you must be accountable for what you say and not all opinion carries the same weight.

There were risks – reducing 32 days of a trial to 32(ish) minutes of screen time (e.g. didn’t understand why the judge was exploring new questions during a defence’s summing up).
But the film is a triumph.

I’d been waiting for this film to be shown – because in 1980, I joined a number of people who shouted David Irving down when he came to Birmingham University’s Guild of Students, invited by the Debating Society.  He spoke, but he wasn’t heard.  A kinda colleague, Labour, with great English skills, put out a leaflet equating those of us who’d shouted as Animal Farm’s pigs who’d learned to walk with two legs.  (My previous attempts to use Guild Council to cast doubts on the reasons for his invite from the Debating Society had been ruled out of order – I was only an associate member(!))  Yet a big message from the film was to point out the problems of debating with such re-writers of history.  They didn’t deserve such a platform.  I feel the film vindicated those of us who said – these are not the kind of people to debate with.

holocaust-deniers-movie-scene1-ab0315h
And the hallmarks of holocaust denial –
1. the killings were not systematic;
2. the numbers were exaggerated;
3. Auschwitz wasn’t built for extermination;
4. the holocaust is a myth.

And in a subsequent development, Deborah Lipstadt has developed ideas of soft-core holocaust denial – worth reading.

Angela Eagle speaking at the Mechanics Institute

Angela Eagle 16807142_10154349410761305_779024179208081850_n.jpgTelling people stories of her life, and stories of liberation.
Confident, knowledgable and making people feel good about what we can achieve (or achieve again).

New Labour achieved a lot in government, especially on equalities.
Conservatives opposed it, then Cameron decided to change to appear modern.

There is now a backlash against progress made –
– Trump on abortion and gay marriage;
– Putin – legalizing domestic violence.
The sarcasm is back.
Let’s look after everybody properly.

Elsewhere, homosexuality is illegal in 100 countries, and maybe we can do more with the Commonwealth.

Write up and share the history of progress and liberation, as part of the defence against the backlash.

One observation from the floor – the lack of progress for women as leaders in local government.

Note, Angela said the consequences of child abuse in the past has not been fully appreciated – kinda pertinent in the light of the second episode of BBCtv & ITV studios’ “The Moorside”.

Holocaust Memorial Day civic service of commemoration – 2017

You need social courage”   …. from HMD’s video   … worth 3 minutes of your time –

A ceremony held a The Council House – this year much more about the genocide of the Jews during WWII.  A shame Donald Trump couldn’t join in.
Instead – chaos at US airports over actions geared more to prejudice than effective action against terrorism; Mo Farah likely to be excluded from training in the USA; legal officers having to suspend aspects of a Presidential order cos of lack of process; a fire attack on a mosque in Texas.

Paddy Tipping – a descendant of the Huguenots who came to Britain centuries ago to avoid persecution by the then Catholic church – spoke on current concerns :
about heightened prejudice against Muslims; contrast that with how well all our kids get on at schools; hate crime remains an issue, even if it’s calmed down since after the Referendum.