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!