Radio 4 Working Poor discussion in Speenhamland, Newbury

The Clock House, Newbury

The Clock House, Newbury

Available on BBC iPlayer until 2099, Radio Four’s The Long View comes from Speenhamland, Newbury. It’s a fascinating discussion, starting at the Clock House in the Broadway, and then continuing in Newbury Museum. Well done BBC!

Here’s the programme write-up from iPlayer:

Jonathan Freedland presents the programme which looks at the past behind the present.
Although there’s unease in the air and many caveats included in any reports on the subject it would seem that the British economy is now strengthening. And yet a new challenge is growing, the growing number of people in work who are also facing poverty.
That’s the story today with a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing that the number of working families in poverty has now outstripped those without employment.
And it was also the story in the late 18th century where farm labourers, particularly in the South of England, found that their wages were being outstripped by the rising price of bread. It was an inflation made worse by a series of bad harvests and the disruption to food imports from war torn France.
But when Magistrates met at Speenhamland near Newbury to try and resolve the issue they may well have been concerned not merely by the conditions of local workers but by the upheavals of the French Revolution. Something had to be done.
IN this programme Jonathan and his guests tell the story of the Speenhamland system which encouraged local employers to improve their wages but also obliged Parish councils to support labourers with bread to make up for their straightened circumstances.
The Speenhamland system spread very quickly but it was roundly criticised as a way of creating a dependency culture and trapping people in poverty and the situation was eventually resolved by the Poor Law amendment act of 1834 and the institution of the Workhouse.
How much can we learn from Speenhamland today when the language of poverty appears to be very similar with notions of the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’ poor familiar in the news headlines.
That’s the Long View of the Working Poor.

Producer: Tom Alban.

Michael Portillo in Newbury – Great British Railway journeys

imageThere are 13 days left to watch Series 5 Episode 13 of Great British Railway Journeys on BBC iPlayer, when Michael Portillo goes from Wokingham to Bradford-on-Avon, via Newbury.

Wearing his mauve corduroy jacket, Michael Portillo talks to local historian, David Peacock about Jack O’Newbury, amid extensive nice shots of Newbury. He then repairs to the Hare and Hounds at Speen for a nightcap of West Berkshire Ale.

Cold and soft food after a tooth extraction

imageAfter many months of x-rays and waiting, yesterday I finally had one of my back molars extracted by a very nice man from Portsmouth hospital.

“Only eat or drink cold and soft things for the rest of today” he advised.

After a google, this justified a full-on shopping expedition to Sainsburys. In the end, I concocted a very nice meal for myself.

Potato, carrot and swede mash, mixed up with smoked salmon trimmings and cut up ocean sticks. French mustard and mayonaise added. Served with egg mayonaise deli filler.

For afters, ripe mango with sliced banana with custard and single cream.

All cold. And delicious!

Photo: License Some rights reserved by Kevin H

Republican candidate: Obama "should be hanged"

obamaFlorida House candidate Joshua Black (R) has been quoted by the Tampa Bay Times tweeting that President Obama “should be hanged”:

I’m past impeachment. It’s time to arrest and hang him high

This was said on Martin Luther King day, reportedly.

The Tampa Bay Times report goes on:

Hours after the tweet, Black defended his comment. Obama should be held responsible for ordering a drone strike that killed a U.S. citizen overseas, he said.

“He should be executed for treason,” Black said. “I think the appropriate punishment is death. They killed Benedict Arnold. (Obama) shouldn’t be allowed to kill Americans without a trial.

Looking at the tweet (above) it looks as though Mr Black was agreeing to someone else’s tweet, which he retweeted with the word “agreed” after it. But he then reiterated the point, expanding on it, on his Facebook page, according to the Tampa Bay Times report.

I think Mr Black can expect some close scrutiny from some gym-fit women and men wearing sunglasses, smart suits with bulges under the left armpit and those curly see-through wires coming out of their ears.

Hat-tip: Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire