Barry Donlan says freedom democracy and fairness

Rough notes of Barry Donlan’s contribution to the rally at the re-dedication of the Memorial to the Notts Volunteers for the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War.
It was brilliant live, and even though I’ve photographed his notes, typed out, they don’t carry the magic of the spech of the morning.

1. Nottinghamshire has a long history of fighting for what is right – freedom, democracy, fairness.
2. 868, Burgred of Mercia, Alfred of Wessex faced down the Vikings near what is now the castle, along The Meadows.
3. Our own Robin Hood. Today would be tackling the Banker’s bonuses and N Post would report a banker found with an aroow in his back and an empty wallet.
4. Our own civil war, formally started by King Charles I raising his Royal Standard at Castle Hill in Nottingham in 1642.
Ideas of that age – the King is Godly, divine right of Kings, with the elite defending the existing status.
1629; Charles I dissolved Parliamnet. Denzil Holles MP. [Not clear on Nottingham link cited.] Pushed Speaker back into the Chair. This House shall sit until it is pleased to rise.
One of 5 MPs Charles sought to arrest in 1642 – when told – to say no to the King is to say no to God.
Nottingham fought for Parliament; Newark fought for the King.
Col. Hutchinson was the Governor ofthe Cstle, shot at from the top of St.Nic’s Church. Signed the Royal death warrant, along with Col. Henry Ireton and Col. Francis Hacker.
King executed as an enemy of the people.
[Some teasing remarks about Baby George and more challenging remarks about his grandad who hasn’t understood the nature of his position.]
Stepping forward to Spain when the enemy were Fascist, drawn from the aristcracy, upper class and the church.
Primo de Riviera, son of previous dictator, founder of the Falange demands – “The so called elections of 1936 be anulled as they conflict with the historic destiny of Spain.”
Feb 13 1939: Franco’s “law of political responsibility” back dated to 1934; cited support for the Republic as “excessive possitivity”.
Consequences of appeasement – Fascism overruns most of Europe.
Nottingham May 8/9 1941. Precisley four years before VE Day. 90 Nazi bombers reach Nottingham. 200 bombs. 4000 incendaries.
West Bridgford – 34 houses destroyed, 900 damaged.
Nottingham. 200 houses destroyed with a further 250 knocked down. 4000 houses damaged.
160 dead. 488 wounded. Some wrongly identified. By May 19, coroner ruled not to try cos overwhelmed.
If we’d backed International Brigades, could have avoided Second World War and the Holocaust.
Salute Robin Hood’s […]
No Pasaran!

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Re-dedication of Spanish Civil War Memorial

Congratulations to all involved in organising the re-dedication of Spanish Civil War Memorial.
Much is said about the shame of those who took the memorial down, but the quality width and depth of the event true meaning to what this was about.
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That in Spain, working people came together for a more just, more equal country, and elected a new government, a Popular Front. And military powers, from home and abroad, organised to use their power to evict that government, in the interests of the rich and in the interests of religious organisations who had once had more influence. And their leaders used new ideas derived from Hitler and Mussolini to give an ideological resolve to their mission. But people from across the world gave up so much of what they had to join an alternative, additional military force – the International Brigades – to right that wrong. And some of those were from Nottingham and Notts. And if other political leaders had drawn more from their inspiration and their resolve against fascism, and heeded the warnings about the bombing of civilians from the air, then the Second World War might have been avoided and the lives lost the night that West Bridgford, The Meadows and Nottingham was bombed, might have been saved.
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So congratulations to Notts Labour Councillors and to Cllr Alan Rhodes for putting the memorial back for those Notts. volunteers and for doing it with such style and elan, so that we can focus on the true message.
County Hall is a special place, and proximate to the greatest commemoration to those who fell whilst serving for freedom in this land – the Peace Memorial on Victoria Embankment.
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County Hall is a special place, and as a seat of democracy is a proper place for those who risked so much in the cause of freedom, when others either wouldn’t heed them or feel they could make such a sacrifice.

I wrote on this previously in May –
BTW, a few years back, there was an exhibition at The Council House – Antifacistas

Respect the volunteers who fought for freedom in Spain

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It is truly disappointing that yesterday, the Leader of the Nottinghamshire Conservatives again invited us to choose between celebrating British members of the International Brigade, and British servicemen who have lost their lives in service of our government, and even with Lee Rigby, the off-duty soldier killed last week in Woolwich.
Across the river is the Peace Memorial on Victoria Embankment, where we meet every November to commemorate those who served and those who fell.
The memorial to the International Brigade does not compete, cannot compete, has never tried to compete with such a significant building.
The argument actually comes down to the board that explains a very impressive metal plaque. The metal is helped by the explanation.
I was a Nottinghamshire County Councillor when the memorial to those from Britain who volunteered to fight for the republic in Spain in 1936 was installed. There was real pride amongst the veterans who were there that day.
A shame Nottinghamshire Conservatives have behaved the way they have.