Friday, September 22, 2017

Bert Wynn and the Derbyshire Miners.

The meeting advertised below will focus on Bert Wynn who was Secretary of the Derbyshire Miners from 1947 to 1966. I never met him, but my very first visit to Chesterfield in 1966 was to his funeral at Brimington Cemetery. I had just been appointed to the staff of the Extramural Department at Sheffield University, but had not by then taken up the post. Soon afterwards I was to be involved in teaching politics to Derbyshire Miners attending day-release classes at their offices at Saltergate in Chesterfield. As Bert Wynn had played a key role in establishing these classes it was suggested that I should attend his funeral.

It was a most telling occasion. I was initially appointed to the Department to cover for the late Royden Harrison who was starting on two years leave of absence to undertake his research into the Webbs. His talk at Brimington in memory of Bert was as telling, informative and heartfelt as any I have ever heard.  It also showed me the strengths, significance and relevance of my new post and the depth of the abilities and sympathies of Royden as the person whose footsteps I was being asked to walk in. No-one could ever match up to Royden; but without the examples of himself and Bert we would all have been much weaker in our efforts.

Malcolm Ball who is the speaker at the following event, was a student on the Derbyshire Miners' Day Release classes from 1963 to 1966, just before I joined the staff of the Extramural Department. Click here for further details about him, which show the relevance to him of his topic.

The photograph below shows the former miners offices where day release classes were held in that period.

Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Momentum
Invites you to a public discussion at Chesterfield Library on Saturday 14th October 1pm-2.30pm led by
Dr Malcolm Ball
on aspects of his book
CHANGING DERBYSHIRE NUM



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With the death of Bert Wynn in early 1966 a long chapter in the history of Derbyshire Miners came to an end. His stewardship from 1947 to 1966 coincided with considerable changes in the Derbyshire coal mining industry. Over the later years of his stewardship the Area union had become smaller and with a younger leadership. These changes are the focus of this talk.

All Welcome

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lee Rowley Acts

Lee Rowley is the recently elected Conservative Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire. Taking the seat from Labour.
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He has made a 15 page submission to the Derbyshire County Council opposing a planning application related to fracking as submitted by INEOS for the operation of a Vertical Hydrocarbon Exploratory Core Well to be situated on land adjacent to Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane in his constiituency. His submission can be found via this link

Although my own submission (see here) against the proposal by INEOS tended to stress different considerations, Lee Rowley's submission from his own perspective is well presented with 86 footnotes providing key supportive references. Its substantial nature indicates that he has drawn his case from professional sources - and with their help.  Perhaps it gives hope that the Conservative controlled County Council will reject the application from INEOS. Although this would only be the first stage of efforts to block the INEOS proposal.

On the issue concerned, click here for my earlier open letter on the matter to Lee Rowley. He is fully aware of it.  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

50 Years And A Day

Yesterday a meeting was held at the Contact Club, Snape Hill Lane, Dronfield to mark the 50th Anniversary of its formal opening as its permanent home. During the meeting, I distributed the following details for discussion purposes. The point being that when the opening cerimony took place, Labour had a majority in our local North East Derbyshire Constituency of 19,600, which is an all-time record. Yet recently, the Conservatives took the seat for the first time since the 1931 General Election. We discussed some of the reasons for this huge transformation.

The table also has wider implications. For even though Labour had a good result at the last General Election, back in 1966 it took a 101 more parliamentry seats.


                             LABOUR DURING THE CONTACT CLUB YEARS

Election Year     Labour Leader   % Votes      Seats    Percentage Turnout       Government

1966                           Wilson              47.7            363                  75.8                          Labour

1970                           Wilson              42.7            287                  72.0                          Con

1973 UK joins the EU.

Feb 1974                    Wilson              37.2           301                  78.8                          Labour

Oct 1974                     Wilson             39.3            319                  72.8                         Labour

1975 Referendum to remain in the EU.

1979                           Callaghan        36.9             268                  76.0                         Con

1983                           Foot                 27.6             209                  72.7                         Con

1987                           Kinnock          30.8              229                  75.3                        Con

1990 Poll Tax - start of electoral registration problems, which then grew for other reasons.

1992                          Kinnock            34.4              271                  77.7                       Con

Below this, move to lower turnouts.

1997                          Blair                  43.2              418                 71.4                        Labour

2001                          Blair                  40.7              412                 59.4                        Labour

2005                          Blair                  35.2              355                 61.4                        Labour

2010                         Brown                 29.0             258                  65.1                       Con/Lib Dem

2015                         Miliband             30.4             232                  66.1                       Con

2016 Referendum to leave the EU.

2017                        Corbyn                40.0             262                  68.7                       Con

2017 saw the third highest Labour % since the 1970 General Election. With an age divide in voting patterns replacing a more traditional divide by social class.

An impact on percentage Lab/Con votes throughout being the relative strengths and weaknesses of third parties.


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

50th Anniversary - Part 2.

The 50th Anniversary of the initial formation of the Dronfield Contact Club was celebrated three years ago. The Club having initially operated from the site of the former Comrades Club on the High Street in Dronfield. I covered details of this development via this link.

The Club was so incredibly popular on its High Street site that with a great deal of effort and commitment from its Committee Members and supporters, it was soon in a position to build and operate from a new permanent home on Snape Hill Lane. Some of those who dedicated their time and effort to this development are shown on this link.

So we are now in a position to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the formal opening of the Club's Snape Hill Lane site. At 8pm on Saturday 12th August the Dronfield Labour Party Discussion Group will hold on informal get together in the Functions Room of the Contact Club to mark the anniversary. The formal opening of the Club's permanent home having been undertaken on 12 August 1967 by Mannie Shinwell MP a leading Labour politician. I had been a sub-agent for him in his Constituency in County Durham in 1959.
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