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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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handlamp
Senior Member


1100 Posts
Posted - 11/03/2010 : 16:05
Richard, not wrong, whilst HB did some spade work, the whole caboodle would not have come to light, and the details that we saw would not have been disclosed, without the Telegraph's persistence,.


TedGo to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 11/03/2010 : 16:39
Frank, it's you who can't stick to the point. Read the original post again and try to understand it. My views on how the welfare state operates are nothing to do with what I said. I was warning against retrograde steps which will nibble away at the fundemental principles. I believe that danger exists. You have simply done your usual trick when confronted with something you don't like, you have thrown a smokescreen up.

 Belle, I like it. Personally I'd like to see more women in government and the civil service, enough to tip the balance towards less hide-bound bureacracy and away from the old boy system which still permeates government. I often wonder what would have happened if John Smith hadn't died....  Ah well.

As for Thatcher. Some things she did were needed but she was the tool of forces she didn't understand. There was a cabal of ultra right wing 'thinkers' behind the Mad Monk whose name I always forget and they had only one thing in mind, relaxing all controls over capital. Remember what the first thing she did when she came in? Removed all controls on the movement of money in and out of the country. Then she made the biggest mistake of all, she squandered the windfall of North Sea oil revenues on creating a pool of unemployment to rein in the workers wage demands and the unions. Her legacy lives on in the long term unemployed she created and Thatcher's children who never got a job. And no, I'm not going to respond to any attacks. I'll wait for the verdict of history.

Can anyone remember Wedgie Benn arguing for ring-fencing North Sea oil revenues and investing them in the infrastructure? I can and often think what a waste it was that we didn't invest the money wisely.

I saw the programme about Heather and it all chimed with what I was told at the time by a friend who knows about these things. His version was that the Telegraph stepped in and stole the story while the papers H was talking to were still worrying about the possible legal consequences. The Telegraph made the decision quicker and went for it. Good job they did too but I do feel sorry for the lass who did all the spadework and exposed herself to high risk. She should be recognised.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Bruff
Regular Member


479 Posts
Posted - 11/03/2010 : 16:44
You seriously believe that?  That the Telegraph is the shining light here and not Heather Brooke?  That what she did was 'spade work' and by implication, the real ground-breaking stuff was done by the paper?  That she would have done nothing with the information?

She risked all in the courts, not the paper(s).  She won the court case, not the paper(s).  She spent years pursuing it, not the paper(s).  A strange definition of persistence.

I get angry about this, because there will be a load of folk who think the Telegraph (it could have been any paper), broke the story and is to be commended.  Oh they did, true.  But they dumped right on the woman who without whose efforts, there would have been no story at all.

Richard Broughton


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/03/2010 : 06:32
Sorry, I have given the wrong impression Richard. You are right, she should get the credit. What I meant was that it was a good job that the Telegraph broke the log jam and went public. Their treatment of the lady was completely wrong and I don't condone it. If anything, the real blame lies with the editors who didn't support her. The history of journalism is littered with stories like hers, little fish in a big pond full of sharks. Look at the fate of many whistleblowers who do brave and useful things and yet they still get it in the neck. I always think about albino crows getting mobbed by the others, as soon as you stick your head above the parapet you are a target. It ain't fair!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 12/03/2010 : 10:15
You never said a truer word Stanley, as a persitant parepet peeper, I am always getting it in the neck...or more accurately in the forehead!


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 12/03/2010 : 12:44
There was a lot on the Today programme this morning about children `self-harming' and the number of children living on the streets. Someone on the programme said "The mental health of our children is in decline", which prompted the immediate response from Mrs Tiz "Then it's time to start switching off televisions and computers and start talking to people".


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/03/2010 : 14:35
Exactly and from her mouth to God's ear. I have never been able to understand the school of thought which says that kids know the difference between reality and screen violence. Have you seen the general tenor of the computer games and the prevalence of shoot em up movies? They are like sponges and they take it all in wherever it comes from. I heard the report about self harm as well, we've had some experience inside the family and what isn't mentioned is that parents are so conditioned to believe that they influence everything that happens to their children that they are stricken with guilt when something goes wrong even with an 18 year old lass. I can tell you it's very destructive all round. As for the images on U Tube and such, a bit more editing needed but that costs money and after all that's what they are in there to do, make money out of the content. Oneguy is an oasis of peace.....


Stanley Challenger Graham




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handlamp
Senior Member


1100 Posts
Posted - 12/03/2010 : 15:33
Richard, surely you admit that without The Telegraph all that would have been released would have been heavily censored material which would not have disclosed half of what was going on. Also from my unbiased stand I think their disclosures were very balanced and not particularly weighted against your lads and lasses as you seem to suggest.  

Edited by - handlamp on 12/03/2010 9:26:37 PM


TedGo to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/03/2010 : 06:41
Ted, I tend to agree. Publication was good because it initiated action. The consequences for the lady are deeply regrettable and I'm sorry for her but she swims in a very murky pond.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 16/03/2010 : 06:27
I see the motoring organisations are forecasting £5.40 per gallon very shortly even though oil price is down, consequence of a weakening pound? Trouble building up here I'm afraid, the world is looking for a credible exit plan from the crisis and we are paralysed by the election. Not a good prospect, petrol won't be the only casualty.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/03/2010 : 07:44
I'm watching the attack on the Pope about the fact that when he was The Pope's Rottweiller he refused to prosecute a Cardinal in America who was dying and had confessed to a serious career of sexually abusing deaf children in his care.

I'm not surprised by the way the church tried to keep the matter quiet by swearing complainants to secrecy and took no action that could damage their image. What interests me is the clash between this proven attack on Ratzinger and the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. This is the elephant in the room and nobody is mentioning it. It is one of the basic tenents of Rome that butresses their  total control over the clergy and congregation. It may be time for a rethink and this is not welcome.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 20/04/2010 : 07:49

TIME FOR A CHANGE

General elections can be exciting times and lead to long-term changes in the way society is governed but as I get older the partisan approach of politicians fighting for power sadden me. I’m old enough to be able to remember when elections were fought on principle and whoever gained power put their principles into effect. The 1945 election which produced the Atlee government is a good example. It was fought on the basis of improving the lot of the vast majority of people and did just that.

The common thread that runs through all three major party’s campaigns at the moment is the need for ‘change’. The question we need to examine is what they mean. For New Labour it is a hollow word, it’s very hard for a party that has been in power for 13 years to call for change, they had the opportunity to improve society and blew it. For the Tories it means vote for us so we can get back to power and run the country better than Labour, they too had their chance but managed the country so badly that they were thrown out in 1997. On the other hand, there is a possibility of change if there is a strong Liberal vote this time. I don’t see this as a Liberal government but the creation of a balancing force inside politics which will change our political structure.

I saw this possibility some time ago when I wrote that the expenses scandal on top of the erosion of cabinet government over the last forty years might lead to a shift in the tectonic plates of politics and result in real change and improvement in the parliamentary process. We have seen the awful results of too much power being held in a party leader’s hands without the checks and balances of democratic government. It reached a peak with Blair and his sofa government when they used their control over the system to take us into a disastrous war in Iraq, blindly supporting a US government with a neo-conservative agenda.

Underlying all this is the erosion of the power of public opinion. We are increasingly helpless in the face of erosion of civil liberties, autocratic government legislation and a financial system running out of control. There is only one way this can be reversed and this is a closer balance between the parties in Parliament. This will restore the power of the back-benchers and the Parliamentary committees, increase the need for cohesive, responsible cabinet government and make the interests of the voters important to the politicians.

Cameron and Brown have a common problem. They have no concept of managing a balanced system, they can only operate in a quasi-presidential role with no written constitution to provide checks and balances. For this they need clear majorities. They both know this but daren’t address it directly, their only defence is to attack each other using political smoke and mirrors to confuse the electorate. Notice how they swing between emotive topics like control of borders, health, education, the power of the EU, anything to avoid the basic problem, true representative government.

On the whole I am optimistic. The factor that the major parties have left out of their planning is the basic common sense of the voters. The reaction of the polls to Nick Clegg in Manchester didn’t prove that the Liberals were once again a candidate for government, what it showed was that given equal exposure a clearer choice emerged and given that clearer choice the balance of opinion shifted towards balance. This is the basic tendency I saw three years ago and it is still there. We may be seeing a long awaited change in the way we are governed. I hope so because one thing is certain, over the last thirty years we have proved that ultimate power leads to corruption. It is indeed time for a change but not the one that the Tories and New Labour will welcome.

SCG/20 April 2010


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/05/2010 : 08:13
I'm working hard on the job of preparing the Stanley's View articles for publication so that I can put copies in the local libraries and I came across this piece this morning. In view of the 'debate' on 'What grabbed your attention' it might be a useful indication of where I come from and what my attitudes are to history. (Or as Frank would have it, 'nostalgia'.

IT MUST BE SOMETHING TO DO WITH MY GENES.


I’m going to get a bit introspective with you this week. I’m still working hard on the Barlick research and one of the things that you have to get right if you’re going to write about history is to be quite certain what is driving you to do it so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and what I have come up with is a short whinge about my problems with authority, class and incompetence.

My mother’s family name is Challenger and she was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire. I came across the family name when I was looking into the history of Chartism in the north of England and found a reference to a man called Challenger who was arrested for ‘seditious riot’ in Ashton-under-Lyne. This is an unusual name to crop up by coincidence in the area where I knew my mother’s family originated from, I like his style, so I’ve adopted him!

My father was an Australian who fought with the Anzacs at Gallipoli. I remember two things in particular from his account of what happened there, the first was his amazement at the stunning incompetence of the British officers who guided them to the invasion beaches and managed to deposit them at the bottom of a steep cliff which they had to scale under fire over a period of two days losing many men in the process. The second was the fact that the retreat was so much better organised than the invasion that ‘Johnny Turk’ didn’t realise they had left until the timed charges went off blowing up their abandoned ammunition dumps and stores. When they arrived in England after the evacuation they were billeted in tented camps on Salisbury Plain and had a miserable time of it. They were paraded for inspection by King George V who rode round the vast parade ground on his horse looking, so father said, bored with the whole thing. The Aussies ‘counted him out’, one of their favourite methods of expressing contempt, and nobody took issue with them.

This refreshingly clear sight of authority wasn’t confined to the lower ranks. Later in the war the British Army General Staff enquired of the General leading the Anzacs at to why they hadn’t shot anyone for desertion or cowardice. The reply came back that he thought the Germans were killing enough of their men without them joining in. We, the British, shot over 300 of our own men.

My first encounter with the officer class was in 1954 when I was invited to join the Queen’s employ for two years in the 22nd of Foot, the Cheshire Regiment. First a man of the cloth told me it was alright to murder the enemy because God was on our side and then an officer called Lieutenant Scurfield put me on a charge for demurring when instructed to dig a channel uphill to drain water out of a gunpit.

These are small matters but I cite them to give an idea of what my experience of authority is and how my attitudes might have been influenced. It might be my genes!

Let's march forward a few years to the decade starting in 1940. I was a reasonably well-built but nondescript child who wore glasses because of terrible short sight and came from a family which, though technically ‘skilled working class’, was very short of money. I won a scholarship to Stockport Grammar School and was thrown in with boys who were better dressed and more confident than myself and I was quite severely bullied. I got some very good School Certificate results and against the advice of my teachers, left school and went to work in farming for two reasons, first I knew my family would be relieved of the strain of supporting me and secondly, I was fed up with school and the stresses it put on me.

As far as I can make out, if I had been pressed at this point to voice what my overwhelming feeling about myself was it would have been one of inferiority. This would have been true for the year I spent away from home working on the farm and was certainly the case when I entered the army for my National Service in 1954. Two years later I had achieved the rank of full corporal and was being pressed by my superiors to sign on for more service. If I did I was promised the rank of sergeant immediately and promotion to colour sergeant within twelve months. I didn’t fall for this offer but took the point that this was a fairly clear demonstration of what the army’s opinion was of me. The offer didn’t remove my feelings of inferiority which were still there deep inside me but it certainly laid the seed of a doubt about my own assessment.

Forty years later with several small successes to my credit and very little feeling of inferiority beyond a becoming modesty, I attempt to identify where the change occurred. At what point did I shake the demon of inferiority off my back? My motives for examining this question are complex. There is within me the need to know the answers but I have an even more pressing problem in that I want to be as certain as I can be how my attitudes shade my view of the history I am researching. I have no problem with the subjectivity that this implies, from what I can see, the nearer one gets to objectivity the more boring the result becomes, I want to allow my interpretation to be coloured by my opinions, it is my view, they are my passions, I want to tell it my way. At the same time, I want to ensure that these influences are as pure as they can be and in order to do this I need to be as sure as possible that I clearly understand the passions which drive me.

Looking back at what I have always been convinced was an inferiority complex in my early days, I begin to have doubts. This is not to say that feelings of inferiority weren’t part of the picture, I am certain they were. However, I suspect the fog of easily identified inferiority covered deeper and more significant insecurities. Remember that this was a period of total war, being bombed, sheltering in holes in the ground all night, widespread destruction all around us and more death than anyone should have to cope with at that age, this clear evidence convinced us we were in mortal danger and that we had no control over our fate.

My stage of thinking now is that it is this issue of lack of control which is the key, not only to my reactions at that time but to the forces that govern my attitudes to history now. Rather, it is the insight into the consequences of lack of control that informs my view of the condition of the working classes who were the bedrock of the system which I investigate. My objective is to give these people a voice, to clearly identify their role and achievements and to write in such a way that they can identify themselves, enjoy the experience and perhaps realise that there was more control within their reach than they suspected at the time.

I think I have identified some of the wider themes in the domination of the ‘lower classes’ by their ‘superiors’. There was no need for debate under a feudal system, the Chain of Being was unbreakable, the rich man was in his castle and the poor man was at his gate, they even wrote a hymn about it. As time went on the necessity for social control fostered the determination of the financially advantaged classes to maintain a tight grip on the workers. The weapons that were used were economic control by low wages and organised religion backed by a strong property law. The need for industrial discipline in order to make the factory system work reinforced all these mechanisms and it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that two forces emerged which were eventually, to break some of the chains that held the workers down. The first was the realisation by the establishment that the status quo was actually weakening and killing the workers, this was brought to prominence by the fact that so many conscripts for the Crimean and African Wars were physically sub-standard. This started debate and gradual improvement.

The next discontinuity was the First World War. As the battlefields of Flanders devoured the flowers of a generation even people like Winston Churchill, in his post as First Lord of the Admiralty, were beginning to ask questions that would have been unthinkable fifty years before, "What would happen if they refused to fight?" The reaction was a sort of embarrassed bonhomie, read W E Johns' Biggles books for a wonderful example of this. The recognition was dawning that these common people were indispensable and actually kept the world turning! How could they be incorporated into the wider scheme of things without turning their heads? The answer seems to have been to treat them more kindly but almost as figures of fun. I watched a programme on TV last night about the Raj and was struck by the way that the essential men, the engineers and administrators were allowed to get their toes on the bottom rungs of the ladder but carefully manipulated to make sure they stayed there.

The Great War was a turning point for many of the ‘superior class’. They came home with questions in their minds about the social order and these were reinforced by tidings of violent revolution in Russia. It took a world economic depression to convince the establishment that all was well and the lower classes were in their place. Business could carry on as before, the excesses of the twenties and thirties could co-exist with the lowest living standards in the civilised world for the under classes.

Beneath all this froth, solid movements were starting to gather momentum in the minds of the thinking classes. There was a gradual onset of recognition, not simply of the potential power of the lower classes but of their utility in society and the just nature of their claim to have more of the fruits of their labours. The Second World War advanced progress and there was a movement which knew that the mistakes of the inter-war period could not be allowed to be repeated.

We made a good start after the war but somewhere in the consumer boom that ensued we have lost our way. I’m not capable of analysing this at this point. The only thing I am certain of is that there is a wider financial gap now between those who have control of their lives and those who have none. A report issued in April 2001 shows that not only is the gap increasing at around 2% per annum, but the rate of increase itself is growing. The criterion for a 'good life' now is even clearer than it was a hundred years ago, it is quite simply the ownership of capital and the ability to consume. I am also aware, as I get older, that there are other categories who must be counted amongst those with no control, the aged, the infirm and the disabled.

So, the conclusion I have come to is that I can't change the world but, in a small way, at the local level, I can try to give the workers of Barnoldswick a voice. I can chronicle their achievements and solid worth and perhaps help them regain the dignity which for many was lost by oppression. I shall not be afraid to allow myself to be subjective as long as I am sure that I am being honest. Whatever this does for anyone else, it will satisfy me because by giving the good people of Barlick their voice I assert my own and regain a measure of control.


It must be something to do with my genes.


14 April 2001 
 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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gearce
Regular Member


941 Posts
Posted - 15/05/2010 : 07:17
... in 1954 when I was invited to join the Queen’s employ for two years in the 22nd of Foot, the Cheshire Regiment
Stanley ...... Just curious

Did you spend all of your Army service in the 22nd of Foot, the Cheshire Regiment?



LANG MEY YER LUM REEK

There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all  
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 16/05/2010 : 05:58
Yes, except for about four months when I was seconded to the 1st Bat. The Black Watch at Wavell Barracks in Spandau to teach them the 17pdr A-Tank gun. I was still Cheshires though.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
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