English anti-World War I resistance on stage


This video says about itself:

ENGLAND ARISE! – PROMO

A brief promo film of Bent Architect’s research and development project exploring the true story of the Yorkshire Conscientious Objectors of the first world war, at Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield, December, 2013. We are aiming to launch the production in the autumn of 2014 as an alternative commemoration of the centenary.

By Bernadette Horton in Britain:

Theatre review: England, Arise!

Wednesday 19th November 2014

BERNADETTE HORTON highly recommends a powerful dramatisation of working-class resistance to the carnage of WWI

England, Arise!
People’s History Museum, Manchester/Touring
5 stars

FORGET ceramic poppies and sentimentalised dramas about the first world war.

Instead, go and see Bent Architect’s production of England, Arise! about the real lives of political activists Arthur Gardiner (Chris Lindon) and Percy Ellis (James Britton) who opposed the war.

Gardiner (Chris Lindon) and Ellis (James Britton) lived in Huddersfield in the early 1900s and were part of a vibrant socialist movement which gave them hope as young people that life was only going to get better.

They portray a strong friendship between the two men — in performances which occasionally veer almost into music hall routine — which shows how these young men were confident about the future, determined in their anti-war stance and inspired by the Suffrage movement which at that time was in its 60th year of campaigning for women’s right to vote.

The Suffragette campaign is forcefully represented in the character of Lillian Lenton (Stephanie Butler) who shows the eccentricity and tenacity of the real-life activist who was imprisoned and force-fed and turns up in Huddersfield on her escape from the police.

Local women Sis Timmins (Laura Bonnah) and Lavena Saltonstall (Stephanie Butler again) are shown as complex characters who are learning about being independent women as well as supporting their men when they refuse to serve in the war.

Gardiner and Ellis were both sentenced to military prison and brutalised in much the same way as the soldiers who volunteered to go to war.

Crucial to the power of the play is the use by playwright Mick Martin in Jude Wright’s production of Gardiner’s verbatim defence of his opposition to the war when facing a military tribunal.

Isolated and victimised by their military jailers, both men are inspirational in their determination to maintain their principled response to militarism, whether in refusing to call their warders “sir” or facing their fears as they are separated and put into isolation for long periods.

Outside the prison the campaign to support the two conscientious objectors carries on, spearheaded by the women, even though they face violence at meetings and are often seen as outcasts by sections of their community.

Though only 20,000 people refused to take part in WWI, this small number was seen as a major and direct threat by the government.

This play is thus a reminder of the importance of that courageous anti-war stance and the high price that working-class people have always paid in the war games of the ruling classes.

Next performances at the Rochdale Pioneer’s Museum on November 18 and 19, details: www.rochdalepioneersmuseum.org.

Long-finned pilot whales in England


This 16 November video from England is called Whale herding on the River Medway.

ITV from England writes about this:

17 November 2014 at 5:40pm

Nearly 30 [long-finned] pilot whales spotted in River Medway

Video footage has captured the moment 28 pilot whales swam towards Sheerness yesterday.

The mammals were a mile out in waters off Garrison Point when a river maintenance crew was called to help at 11am to herd them back out to sea.

Sheerness Lifeboat was also on hand to steer the whales away from the busy shipping lane and possible danger.

The operation continued until 5.30pm. By that time, the whales had been escorted a further three miles out to sea and were no longer visible.

Dave Redwood, a member of the Briggs Marine crew based at Peel Ports, posted the video on YouTube.

There have been no reports of any further sightings since.

Bird news update from England


This is a spotted redshank video.

From Slimbridge in England, on Twitter today:

3 Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Avocet, 31 Redshank, 202 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin from the Zeiss Hide.

Harry Roberts, British colonial war soldier and cop killer


This video from Britain says about itself:

24 March 2008

Harry Roberts shot dead three policemen in London on 12 August 1966. He was eventually caught after a manhunt lasting several weeks and was convicted. 42 years later and well into his 70’s he still remains behind bars and is refused parole.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Harry Roberts: He Kills Coppers

Saturday 25th october 2014

Harry Roberts, who killed three policemen in 1966, is to be released on parole. PETER FROST looks back at the life of this colonial soldier turned murderer

Harry Roberts, now aged 78, is Britain’s longest-serving incarcerated murderer. He is due to be released on parole this week. Roberts, a professional gangster, was sentenced to life in 1966.

He has served nearly half a century in prison.

I well remember the long hot summer of 1966. Ann and I were planning our wedding. England beat Germany in the World Cup, Harold Wilson was having beers and sandwiches while talking to the TUC about a wage freeze. Groovy Kinda Love was the most popular choice on the jukebox.

On a sunny afternoon in quiet residential Braybrook Street in Shepherd’s Bush, not far from Wormwood Scrubs prison, and not far from where I was living at the time, three gun-toting London gangsters shot down three unarmed police officers.

The incident started when plain-clothes officers approached the van in which Roberts, Jack Witney and John Duddy were sitting planning the final details of an armed robbery nearby.

Roberts opened fire shooting dead two of the officers, while one of his accomplices fatally shot the third.

The shots would reverberate around the nation. Britain had finally abolished hanging just eight months before and the shooting reopened all the old arguments.

Harry Maurice Roberts was born in 1936 in Wanstead, Essex, where his parents ran The George public house.

His was a criminal family. Mother sold stolen and black market goods and fake ration books. Later the bent family business would move to a café in north London.

In his late teens, Roberts was jailed after using an iron bar to attack a shopkeeper during a robbery. He served a 19-month borstal sentence and was released in January 1956.

Just a week after leaving borstal, Roberts was called up for national service. He loved it. They gave him a gun and taught him how to kill Britain’s enemies in both Kenya and Malaya.

Later in life and in many prison interviews Roberts would boast of how many Mau Mau Kenyan freedom fighters and Malayan communists he had shot and killed. This was at a time of the worst excesses of British imperialism.

The freedom fighters of the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army were branded as Mau Mau terrorists and jailed, hanged and shot in their thousands.

In Malaya it was communists that Roberts and his fellow soldiers were encouraged to murder. This was the time when the Daily Worker published pictures of British soldiers holding up the severed heads of murdered Malayan communists.

Journalist and former armed robber John McVicar met Roberts in prison. Roberts gloated about his killings, telling McVicar that he had acquired a taste for killing prisoners of war on the orders of his officers.

Back in civvies Roberts returned to his criminal career. Often with Witney and Duddy he carried out scores of armed robberies, targeting bookmakers, post offices and banks.

In 1959 Roberts and an accomplice posed as tax inspectors to gain entry into the home of an elderly man. Once inside the man was tied up and beaten about the head with a glass decanter.

Roberts was captured and tried for the savage crime. Mr Justice Maude said as he passed sentence: “You are a brutal thug. You came very near the rope this time.”

Roberts was given seven years. The victim, who never recovered from his injuries, died one year and three days after the attack. Had he died two days earlier, Roberts could have been tried for his murder under the year and a day rule.

The victims of the Shepherd’s Bush shooting were 41-year-old police constable Geoffrey Fox, detective sergeant Christopher Head, aged 30, and 25-year-old temporary detective constable David Wombwell.

Roberts went on the run with a £1,000 reward on his head. He hid in woods in Hertfordshire to avoid capture. He knew the woods from games as a child and, using his army survival skills, he evaded capture for 96 days. Roberts was finally captured by police while sleeping rough in a barn.

He was convicted of all three police murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 30 years.
While in prison he showed no remorse. On the contrary he made macabre apple pies decorated with pastry cut-outs of policemen being shot. Numerous appeals for release on parole were turned down over the years.

The trial judge at the time of sentencing told him that it was unlikely that any future Home Secretary would “ever think fit to show mercy by releasing you on licence… This is one of those cases in which the sentence of imprisonment for life may well be treated as meaning exactly what it says.”

Theresa May, always keen to upset the police it seems, has decided otherwise.

Peter Frost blogs at www.frostysramblings.wordpress.com/

Gangs of more extreme football hooligans, some of whom would go on to form the fascist English Defence League, used Roberts’s name to antagonise the police. They chanted “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend. Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.”

English illegal bird egg collector fined in Bulgaria


This video is called Birds in Bulgaria.

From Wildlife Extra:

English bird egg collector fined £2,000 by Bulgarian court

An English egg collector living in Bulgaria has been given a £2,000 fine and a six month suspended prison sentence by a Bulgarian court for illegally possessing 16 birds’ eggs and three taxidermy specimens.

Jan Frederick Ross, a known and previously convicted egg collector, is believed to have moved to Bulgaria in 2004 from Greater Manchester following a trio of convictions for egg collecting in the UK.

The raid on his home followed a lengthy investigation by the Burgas Police, assisted by The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and the RSPB.

The 16 birds’ eggs found included the egg of a Griffon Vulture, a rare breeding bird in Bulgaria (60 pairs).

Also found were detailed diaries and photographs that indicated Ross’ egg collecting in Bulgaria was much further-reaching than the 16 eggs found. The diaries revealed over a thousand potentially illegally collected bird’s eggs including a number of very rare breeding birds such as a clutch of eggs from the globally endangered Egyptian Vulture (24 pairs in Bulgaria) and three clutches of the Imperial Eagle (24 pairs in Bulgaria). No charges could be brought against Ross for taking of these eggs and the location of them remains unknown.

Dimitar Gradinarov, a Bird Crime Officer for BSPB, said: “We are very grateful for the fantastic response from the police in Burgas and the specialist help from the RSPB who have years of experience dealing with such crimes. We have been working incredibly hard to protect the imperial eagle, Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture and others birds in Bulgaria.

“It was shocking to see just how much damage one man could do to rare breeding birds in our country. We hope that this case will emphasise the importance of tackling wildlife crimes in our country and to remind the Bulgarian authorities [of] the need to have the necessary resources for this work.”

British anti-Semite jailed


This video is called An Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Nazi Holocaust.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Man jailed for antisemitic tweet to Labour MP

Labour’s Luciana Berger was called a ‘‘communist jewess” in tweet sent by Garron Helm

Frances Perraudin

Monday 20 October 2014 18.26 BST

An internet troll accused of sending an antisemitic message to Labour MP Luciana Berger has been sentenced to four weeks in prison at Merseyside magistrates court.

Garron Helm, 21, from Litherland, north of Liverpool, tweeted a picture of the MP with a Holocaust yellow star superimposed on her forehead, with the hashtag “Hitler was right”. The tweet, which referred to Berger as a ‘‘communist jewess”, read: “You can always trust a Jew to show their true colours eventually.”

Helm send the tweet in the early hours of the morning on 7 August and claimed to have sent it in a state of anger and frustration. He pleaded guilty to sending an offensive, indecent or obscene message.

Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said she hoped the jail term would deter would-be trolls. “This sentence sends a clear message that hate crime is not tolerated in our country,” she said. “I hope this case serves as an encouragement to others to report hate crime whenever it rears its ugly head.”

When police searched Helm’s home they found Nazi memorabilia including an SS flag and flags from the British neo-Nazi group National Action. Helm’s twitter account, called “Æthelwulf” – Old English for Noble Wolf – links to the National Action website, which promotes a “free, white Britain”.

The account includes a tweet that refers to David Cameron and Ed Miliband as “Jews masquerading as Englishmen” and many references to far-right politics.

Recent high-profile victims of trolling have included campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, politician Stella Creasy and Chloe Madeley, daughter of TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

A London bus driver allegedly kicked a gay couple off his bus and hit them with a barrage of homophobic abuse after he saw the pair kissing: here.