Friday, 6 September 2013


I need to be able to produce 'hard' (printed) copies of my blogs so that, when the need arises, I can run off copies and distribute them as leaflets.  Those responsible for  Blogger have denied me that opportunity so it has been necessary to move to Wordpress.

The former 'A Furness Red' is now ...
and 'Furness Against the Cuts' is now..

The Blogger postings for 'Barrow Peace Council' and 'Tenth Dimension' will be placed in hibernation until revived by local activity.


Sunday, 9 June 2013


The loss of 'reader' (that made it possible to print a hard copy of the blog posting) has been removed by Google and is not, therefore,  a Gremlin as I had thought it to be.

Fortunately, I do not use Blogger to earn money. However, some unfortunate people actually use the service to run a small business and they are complaining bitterly about loss of customers and contacts.  What is even more unfortunate is that there is absolutely no one they can complain to about this loss of service provision.  Google is a world mega-business and is quite indifferent to the problems its action has created for common plebs.

I don't know what others are choosing to do to solve this problem.  The 'reader' facility is to close down completely for all Blogger weblogs next month (July).  I need to be able to obtain hard copies of my blog postings - if Blogger will not enable me to do this then I shall be forced to move to an altenative weblog service, probably Wordpress., and I'll be looking to doing so this week.  

Google executives probably regard this to be 'progress' but I know many Bloggers who will not agree and the solution will probably be "Pick up thy blog and walk." 

Saturday, 25 May 2013


The following posts are a response to the recently published report of the 'Furness Poverty Commission'  - an initiative of Labour Party member and Barrow and Furness Member of Parliament John Woodcock. 




These, and future postings that would usually appear on A Furness Red, can be viewed at:

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Yahoo appears to be experiencing problems so, until these are resolved, all posts that would normally appear on A Furness Red will be on Tenth Dimension which can be viewed at -

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Just like last year and the twentyfive years before it, there were no May Day celebrations of any kind
in Barrow or at any other location in Furness on the first of May or on Saturday 4th.  The local labour movement  (Labour Party, trade unions, and Barrow and Furness Trades Union Council) are not interested.  It is worth noting that May Day events were soon abandoned following the collapse of Barrow and South Lakes Communist Party.  The last time I made mention of what was once some local May Day activity many years ago was in the posting of 14 May 2011.

Although there is no sign of worker solidarity or class consciousness anywhere in Furness I am encouraged by the well-supported rallies in numerous towns and cities throughout Britain.  Some unions are to assess the likely response to a call for a General Strike and the leader of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, has indicated his belief that civil disobedience may be necessary if working people are to defend the Welfare State and the National Health Service but this might be wishful thinking on his part.

In the absence of any celebration I will be content with reproducing a poem, a copy of which was published in the 1st May edition of the Morning Star.

When I woke in this city one fine May Day morning
I saw a small crowd, like a gathering stream,
And though they were only a few hundred strong,
They were singing old songs I'd not heard for so long
That it seemed I was still in a dream.

'O where are you going this fine May Day morning?
And what are these flags that you carry so bright?"
"We are marching," they said, "in the steps of the dead,
Of all those who have marched under banners of red,
So that we may continue their fight."

"But why are you angry this fine May Day morning,
When the Summer is wearing its holiday hat?"
"We are angry," they said, "that the people must pay
With their jobs and their homes for the world's disarray
While the rich and the powerful grow fat."

"But what can you do on this fine May Day morning?
When their lies are so many and you are so few?"
"Our strength," they replied, "is not measured in numbers,
For our songs have awoken the dead form their slumbers."
And I listened and knew it was true.

For I heard in the crowd this fine May Day morning
The voices of those who had marched here before:
In the fight for the Charter, for Land and for Bread,
For the Eight Hour Day, for the Haymarket dead,
For the victims of hunger and war;

They were marching from Sedgemoor, from Newport and Burford,
They came from Soweto and Moscow and Spain,
And they carried their flags from Hanoi and Havana
Till it seemed the city was one scarlet banner
And it shone like a glittering plain.

And I watched as they marched on this fine May Day morning,
Like a field full of folk by the banks of the Tyne,
As strong as a river that reaches the sea,
As old as the rings in a blossoming tree,
And I saw that their banners were mine.

Andy Croft, 2009

I find clever poetry such as this to be quite uplifting, especially when I become jaded following months of casting pearls before swine.  

It is highly likely that I will be taken to task by some comrades for that last comment and it would never appear in an official Party document but this isn't a Communist Party blog, it is the personal blog of a communist local activist struggling up to his waist in crap, who has been doing so (in Furness) for the past 32 years, and who is still not prepared to lie down.

Whilst the working class remains apathetic in the face of devastating cuts, wage feezes, price rises, and job losses the boss class of millionaires will be encouraged to dish out more punishing measures until there won't be any need for the working class to 'rise up' because there won't be anything left worth defending or fighting for.  



Saturday, 9 March 2013


John Woodcock, MP and Mandy
It is really refreshing to be able to report on yet another local event  resulting in a positive outcome instead of the apathy and negativity usually found in this region.  Mandy Telford, wife of our MP John Woodcock, headed a very well organised campaign against a threat to downgrade the maternity unit at FGH (Furness General Hospital), part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust (UHMBT)  

The 'Thousand Voices' campaign to save the FGH maternity unit was efficiently conducted and very well funded with support by the unions GMB and Unison together with the Labour Party.  Full colour glossy leaflets - doubling as posters - were posted throughout the town and use was made of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  Leaflets were also handed out in the town centre from a garden 'gazeebo' at which locals could be filmed making their comments and these can be viewed at - 

Constituents can sign the local petition at: and record a video message supporting the campaign and emailing this to:  'Thousand Voices' can be contacted by phone at : 
0797 407 8814 and updates are posted on Facebook: Save FGH Maternity Unit

There was an outstanding turnout of around 400 people at the Public Meeting held at the Forum from 6.00 until 7.30pm on Thursday 8th March and Mandy Telford demonstrated a high level of skill in chairing the meeting (indeed, she could teach 'Question Time' chairman Dimbleby a thing or two!) during which many people were able to air their concerns and put questions to Jackie Daniel, (UHMBT chief executive officer),  Dr George Nasmyth (Trust medical director), Dr Geoff Jolliffe (lead commissioning GP for Furness) and John Woodcock (MP for Barrow and Furness).  There was a good atmosphere throughout the meeting and everyone left the event satisfied that all had been given a fair opportunity to air their views on not only the status of the maternity unit but on other hospital related matters such as threatened ward closures and plans to create 'patient environmental assistants' i.e. porters will now also be required to engage in Terminal Cleans (deep cleaning operations of specific areas including any where there have been particular problems such as the highly infectious and deadly MRSA)  (I'll answer the Evening Mail comment on this matter in the next posting. - Muddz)  Strangely, chief executive Jackie Daniel claimed to have no knowledge of Patient Environmental Assistants but assured me she would discuss this with me 'on line'......?  Perhaps she means I must contact her so I'll try to do so early next week.

Last year Furness Against the Cuts organised a public meeting at the Forum to defend the National Health Service and the Welfare State with guest speaker Dr David Wrigley, a GP based in Carnforth who is also a national executive council member of the British Medical Association and leading voice in the national Keep Our NHS Public campaign. It attracted an audience of  just over twenty persons.  Hire of the small Studio Theatre for 2 hours was £40, hire of the 'roving' microphone was £16 and black and white photocopied leaflets cost £10 and these costs had to be met by FAC (which was not a fund-raising organisation) through voluntary contribution by those attending the meeting and a generous donation.  And this was all done by just three persons with no physical or financial assistance from any other source whatsoever.  No local media interest, certainly no national TV crews, and no union interest either.  Compared with the resources made available to the Thousand Voices campaign, FAC'c effort was of Cinderella status.  Jealous? No. Envious? Yes, a little but this was easily offset by the pleasure of observing the success of the Thousand Voices initiative.

There is, of course a fundamental difference between the FAC campaign and that of the Thousand Voices:  Thousand Voices is, essentially, a single issue campaign that could be broadened in the future but the FAC campaign was broad-based, embracing the cuts being made against jobs, benefits, care provision, pensions, privatisation of the courts, prisons and probation services, depletion of fundamental public services, reduction in social housing and inability of councils to continue supporting the voluntary sector - as well as resisting government plans to sell off our National Health Service.   It also campaigned against rising living costs and 'wage freezes', against escalating gas and electricity bills, against the mega-bonuses of the bankers and financiers who had created the economic mess and against wars and the further development of nuclear weapons.  At the same time, however, FAC promoted the People's Charter for Change, a charter that had been fully endorsed by  delegates attending not one but two national conferences of the Trades Union Congress but local unions and Trades Union Council remained indifferent. Furness Against the Cuts is now dormant but can still be viewed at  

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Anti-nuke dump campaigners at Barrow, September  2011
The plan to house the waste site in Cumbria was rejected by the County Council last month and so Baroness Verma has confirmed the county is no longer an option and announced work must begin on identifying an alternative UK site.

For many years the campaign against the shipment, processing and storage of highly irradiated nuclear waste was conducted by CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) formerly BAG (Barrow Action Group).
(I never discovered why my alternative suggestion for BAG - Barrow Anti-Nuclear Group - BANG! - was rejected in those earlier days.  Too flippant, maybe?  Anyway, once it was agreed to expand the action beyond Barrow and include the whole of Cumbria whoever thought up CORE did a great job.  Muddz)  There isn't  space here to describe the work and campaigns of CORE but Martin Forwood and Jean McSorely deserve special mention as they were the leading lights of the organisation.  Jean achieved international recognition for her work and lived for some time in Japan.  Martin stayed in Cumbria and remains spokesperson for CORE to this day although the group seems to have become much depleted (no pun intended! Muddz) in recent years.  Fortunately,  Radiation Free Lakeland together with supporters of Friends of the Earth stepped in to take the reins.  The photograph shows wildlife artist and RFL member, Marianne Birkby,(centre), with two fellow campaigners outside Barrow Town Hall having delivered their protest before a meeting of Cumbria County Council.

I remember attending a Cumbria Joint TUC meeting at Whitehaven during the 1980s when an expansion of the irradiated waste facility at  the Sellafield site had been proposed and was met with resistence by trade unionists.  Ray Buckton, a senior national officer - probably General Secretary - of the ASLEF union became most agitated when, despite his cajoling and pleading for the proposal to be adopted, members still rejected the idea. Then, as it is commonly said, he 'lost his rag'.  He ranted and he raged. It was, he claimed, a brilliant idea because trade unionist would be involved so safe handling and procedures would be guaranteed.  Sadly, some members changed their minds but I suspect this had more to do with preventing Buckton from having a seizure than actually agreeing with him.

So what's the situation at the moment?  Moves to have the council decision overturned are now afoot.  Councillor Anne Burns (pro-dump) "The waste is already at the site, it's deteriorating unless we do something about it.";  Councillor Oliver Pearson (pro-dump) "If we shut the door on this, they (the government) may shut the door on us."  (That's blackmail, Oliver!  Muddz) Steve Nicholson, Sellafield Workers Campaign, "Fifty thousand people in my community depend on the nuclear industry.";  Councillor Tim Knowles (pro-dump) "It is inherently uncertain whether a suitable site can be found. Is it worth more to reduce doing that uncertainty?" (A nice example of mangled English! Muddz)  T. Farrer, in letter to Westmorland Gazette "Why was it that only ten councillors - the Cabinet - made the decision? Surely a matter of this magnitude should have been debated in full council....Once again it seems that the 'green' lobby with its anti-nuclear stance is blocking progress."  Kevin Coyne, Unite union national officer "This is an extremely short-sighted decision by the Cumbria councils that voted no." (Shades of Ray Buckton?  Muddz.)  

The bureaucratic structure of local government administration involving several borough councils here in Cumbria can create complications. For example, Copeland Borough Council has voted to remain within the process (of searching for a suitable Cumbrian site for nuclear waste storage) and Copeland's MP, Jamie Reed, could now pressure the government to have the repository built within his district.  

Then, of course, we have the 'Political Thespians' dramatically hamming up all too expected performances in enacting scenes of subterfuge and 'outrageous fortune'  (Apologies to Bill the Bard. Muddz)  County Councillor conspirators claim Council Leader, Eddie Martin, had threatened to quit unless fellow Tories backed him in the vote (against the repository) (Friends, councillors, Cumbrians! I come to bury the repository, not to praise it! Muddz)  and this is denied by Eddie Martin who then announced he would not, in any case, be standing for re-election in May (Touche! Muddz) Now, get this for a great closure by Eddie Martin: "There was no one single reason for rejecting.  It was a cumulative effect. We were left with no other choice. This particular issue is not Copeland specific.  It affects the whole of Cumbria and my responsibility is to the people of Cumbria, not Westminster.  I'm not beholden to Westminster or David Cameron.  The people of Cumbria elected me, not David Cameron."         
(Bravo, Councillor Eddie Martin!  Although you are a Tory, you get a standing ovation from this Communist.  As for the Labour specimens who would consign Cumbria to the nuclear dustbin in perpetuity it's a case of 'hold the nose and yank on the lavatory chain'  Muddz)