Friday, 27 June 2014

Britain's worst lifeboat disaster -in Southport

Britain's worst ever lifeboat disaster happened in sight of the Birkdale sand dunes,  twenty-seven lifeboat men from Southport and St Anne's lost their lives in the disaster and their bodies were laid out in what is now the Fisherman's Rest pub, then it was the coach house for the Palace Hotel.

Recently we reported on a performance of 'Cork Jackets and Drills' which tells the story of the 1886 disaster when when a barque named Mexico went aground.

I bring it up again now because I popped into The Atkinson which has some excellent material relating to the disaster as well as producing a card of this picture of the Mexico by Emil Krause Their collection also includes a picture by him of the Southport Lifeboat the Eliza Fernley (after which probably Fernley Rd in Birkdale was named)

It was good to see how in recent days The Atkinson has begun to stock more Southport related things and I understand more is on the way. It is now certainly well worth a visit

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

D66 at SLF conference

Without great fanfares I note a D66 speaker has been added to the agenda at the Social Liberal Forum conference. Lousewies van der Laan has been both at Dutch MP and an MEP. There is a video of her speaking in Denmark about sustainability that can been viewed here Way back in the mid 1970's Radical Youth for Europe, which I then chaired, organised a fringe meeting with D66 . The speakers included Richard Wainwright and Laurens Jan Brinkhorst later to become undersecretary of state of foreign affairs and a minister of agriculture. Furthermore he was the leader of the D66-group in the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament. He was also a minister of economic affairs in a later governemt. Journalists gave him the nickname Brilly the kid. At that time D66 did not belong to Liberal International. A couple of years later we organised a seminar with D66 over induustrial policy. Viv Bingham delivered a keynote speach on employee ownership and industrial democracy.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

history repeating itself?

Way back when we were in a pact with Labour there was a lot of grumbling and even a special Assembly where members vented their frustration. The big issue was that members, by and large, had a different expectation of the Pact to the Leadership. For David Steel it was a vehicle to prove 'partnership in government' worked. The fact of its continued existence was sufficient. Activists wanted results- policy gains: Constitutional reform, employee ownership/profit sharing, repeal of the special powers taken by government in the wake of the IRA campaign, green measure etc. We got precious few. Richard Wainwrights initiative on employee ownership was the most significant.

We are in the same bind today. Clegg wants a coalition to show we are a party of government not protest. Activists see coalition as a means to an end not an end in itself. They want policy gains: Constitutional reform, green measures, employee ownership (and other radical measures of redistribution) stronger civil liberties, green measures, quality public services etc

Thursday, 5 June 2014

the beginning of our observation of the WWI Centenary Anniversary

In every corner of the land people are preparing to mark the outbreak of World War 1 (WWI) on the 28th July. Here in Southport we anticipated the assassination of the Arch Duke by holding a service at Holy Trinity Parish Church

marking the beginning of our observation of the WWI Centenary Anniversary
Voluntary:      Elegy - G. Thalben-Ball
Introit:           For the fallen – D. Guest
Responses:     Reading
Psalm:            47
Office Hymn: I vow to thee my country
Canticles:       Lang in Bb
Anthems:       Greater love – J. Ireland
                      We will remember them - E. Elgar arr.IT
Final Hymn:   Abide with me arr.IT
Voluntary:     Crown Imperial - W. Walton
We are delighted to welcome Professor Ian Tracey, Organist Titulaire of Liverpool Cathedral who will be accompanying this service

The choir sang John Ireland's dramatic setting of Greater Love. I have pinch a clip from Youtube of an unnamed choir performing the same piece (anyone identify the Cathedral?). The treble solo is well worth waiting for.
At the end of the service the organ magnificently thundered out Walton's march Crown Imperial written for George VIth's coronation

But it was the singing of 'I vow to thee my country' sung to Gustav Holst's tune Thaxted that brought to mind an incident which happened during the local election. An elderly lady came into the polling station. She had in her hand a letter we had sent to many women voters. Outside UKIP drove passed blaring out Rule Britannia followed by I vow to thee my Country. The lady scowled and shook her head and said, 'those German composers coming over here and writing hymn tunes, taking work away from our own people' .Were it not for the twinkle in her eye I might have thought she had be taken in by the propaganda of Mr Farage's fans