‘International’ or bust

BylineNewIs there one road to socialist democracy or are there many which fuse, meld together? Roland asks — but he can’t get to sleep

IS THERE a ‘British road to socialism’? It would seem to be a poignant question at this moment in time. You see I’ve already set myself up for an ideological quagmire; or ‘swamp’ as we used to call it various parts of Leicestershire. Do you see where I’m going? Perhaps not, just yet.

Let’s suppose, just for a moment, there was an ‘English parliament’. It would be ‘hell-on-earth’. Why? No-one in England speaks the same version of ‘English’ as those ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’. And … In case you hadn’t noticed I have revealed my own prejudices: despite being only half British/English I was brought up in the East Midlands and retain an often fond (although occasionally derogatory) sentimentality for the geographic (sod the demographics for this moment) region. “I ain’t like you up there; and I ain’t like you south of Watford.” I am, of course, more like my French ‘birth-mother’. That is to say I’m quite prepared to belch and fart in boring political meetings.

And that is it. Only, it’s clearly not! Minutes after you’ve extricated yourself from a hospital bed, (‘Jesu’, that often hurt; I wasn’t sure where I was …) you get a call from your proverbial ‘line manager’ to tell you (“YES YOU!”) need to be in ….

I’m already on my way. Why? Another time babes — another post!

Anyway … Where was I? Ah, yes: is there a ‘British road to socialism’? The WINNING answer is NO! but the ‘yes’, of course, didactically speaking, only lost holistically, because it was a pile of stinking SHITE!

Actually, the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Why? Stay and read on.

There was an ‘acquaintance’ of mine who once said: “We civilised those Indians!” “Did we?”, I replied. “You are talking about ‘injuns’ who were building architecturally magnificent palaces and temples {who for? Class and caste — another time …) when ‘anglo-saxons’ were still living in mud huts?” “I’m sure they were very nice “mud huts”.”

I’m sure they were. My point is this: Britain, or British Isles (no ‘United Kingdom’ please; we’re not too keen on unelected dodgy aristocrats as ‘head-of-state’ around here) has several histories.


There is the ‘main-stream’ version, preferred by former Education Secretary now ‘leader of the Commons’, Michael Gove, (if any visitors/readers want an explanation as to how the British/UK parliament works … GO TAKE A HIKE! Basically, it doesn’t. What else do you need to know?) and their preferred version of historical events is this: BRITAIN DONE GOOD! Sote voce “Leave out the bits about how British troops massacred indigenous bystanders.”

And there you have it. Or not — as the case might be.

Social change in Britain has never been ‘peaceful’. Let’s get our stupid little heads around that. ‘Peaceful revolutions’? You need a dictionary and some paracetamol.

Let’s start with the Chartists. Why? Although I could’ve started earlier I am conscious of the fact that I have already ‘spewed’-up almost 550 words.

Chartists were a political reform movement who existed, roughly (probably very roughly), between 1838 and 1858. They are not known for a history of violence; despite what has occasionally been said about the ‘apocryphal’ role of the ‘Chartist wives support group’. They apparently had a skillet and knew how use it. Radical male labourers BEWARE!

Their name came from the “People’s Charter of 1838”. Following a lead from William Lovett, six Members of Parliament (Britain/UK), in 1837, got off their arses and formed a committee. “Oh dear …” I hear you thinking. Another ‘bloody’ committee? Well … a ‘bloody’ committee it may have been but it did actually do what it said ‘on-the tin’. ‘Working men’ were to be given the vote (women? I think you’ll be able to work that one out.) The “Representation of the People Act 1928” gave women, over the age of 21 — since they might still harbour some ‘radical’ ideas and that was out of the question — the vote. ‘Heaven forefend!’

In historical terms there is not a great deal of time between male electoral suffrage and universal electoral suffrage. But … But the likes of the (UK) Conservative party would rather you learned about how wonderful the British empire was when it was killing indigenous populations.

The British isles has a history; but there is more than one history there. You have to decide which history you align with ✪

Copyright © Roland Wood for Storyboard4TM December 2014
or contact @Storyboatd4

Featured image © Can Stock Photo Inc./Oleg Doroshin. Cheesy? You want cheesy? Think ‘mature Camembert’ or your pile of ‘washing-to-do’. Is there a difference if you sniff? Go on … If you draw the curtains who’s going to know?
(c) Can Stock Photo

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