Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Suffragettes.


Suffrage is the right to vote. The use of the term suffragette was introduced to be derogatory to women supporters of the right for females to vote and be equal to men.
A novel idea only a hundred years ago.
Many women wanted to have the vote. And they fought for it.
If anyone is in any doubt as to the strength, resolve, intelligence, bravery and resilience of women they only have to look at the history and actions of the British suffragettes. They were no dainty feminine flowers to be pushed around. They stood their ground and fought for their rights with all the fierceness and strength of mountain lions. There was no way they were going to back down or lose. Strangely the suffragettes were largely from the middle-classes and upper classes. The grinding poverty of the working classes was probably a factor in deterring them from becoming involved in the struggle. But the suffragettes knew how to organise.
They wanted the vote and they got it.
The tactics were active and sometimes violent. They used hunger strikes, chaining themselves to railings, arson and destroying mailboxes. Whatever it took to raise awareness. Emily Davidson threw herself under the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby and was killed.
Women were arrested and force-fed.
Emmeline Pankhurst was responsible for developing these militant tactics and refused to back down.
The supposed case against giving women the vote was that they were too emotional. Prime Minister Asquith changed his mind about supporting the vote for women because he thought they might vote against him. The establishment did not want democracy. It threatened their wealth and power.
The First World War intervened and the involvement of women on the home-front doing the work of their absent men forced the issue. In 1918 men over the age of twenty one were given the vote and women over the age of thirty (with caveats about owning property).
It was not until as late as 1928 that women over the age of twenty one were given the vote.

Every concession has been hard fought for and equality was a long time coming – it hasn’t even arrived yet!


Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Chartists.


The Chartist aims were simple; they wanted one man one vote for all men over the age of twenty one who were sane and not criminals and payment for MPs (So that those other than the extremely wealthy could stand).
That sounds very reasonable to me. I mean it wasn’t as if they were asking for votes for women. Heaven help us if anyone thought that women might be intelligent, knowledgeable or able to exercise the right to vote.
But no. Even this step was thought a step too far. The establishment believed that if you allowed the poor to vote they might vote for things that would stop them being poor. The only way they could be richer was by taking money out of the pockets of the wealthy. The idea was preposterous. Equality!! Freedom!!! Once one lot had it the rest would follow!! Before you knew it the eighteen year olds and women would be after the vote!! And then what??? The country would go to the dogs!!
Giving the vote to ordinary people was asking for trouble it threatened the status quo and had to be resisted.
We are only talking about the mid nineteenth century here. It’s not a thousand years ago. This was the time when only the wealthy were allowed to vote. Strangely they always voted to protect their own interests and keep ordinary people down. Inequality was rampant.
The Chartists did not believe in revolution or violence. They wanted to exert their power by sheer force of numbers. Their idea was to hold mass meetings and sign petitions. These petitions were signed by millions or ordinary people.
They demanded justice and empowerment
They wanted the right for all men to have a vote. For that to be made in secret and for the representation through the country to be fair.
It became a mass movement, particularly in the North, Midlands and South Wales.
Rejection of their demands by government led to strikes. There were some outbreaks of violence. The State hit back by imprisoning hundreds.
The Church, to its discredit, stayed out of the argument.
In 1848 the Chartists held a protest rally on Kennington Common attended by upwards of 150,000. A petition of an incredible 6 Million was handed in demanding the right to vote. It was ignored. The government ordered the deployment of troops and was prepared for an uprising. They feared a revolution along the lines of the continental revolutions.
It looked like the Peterloo massacre on a larger scale!
In the event it passed peacefully.
The Chartists did not achieve reform but they set a tone.
It wasn’t until 1867 that urban working men were given the vote and not until 1918 that we achieved one man one vote. We haven’t yet had a hundred years of power!

The rights of women took a lot more struggle and effort.

The rights we have are the result of the efforts of millions!! We should exercise them with great care. They are easily removed.

The British Political Parties – Labour Party – What they stand for and where they came from.

The British Political Parties – Labour Party – What they stand for and where they came from.

The British Political Parties – Labour Party – What they stand for and where they came from.

Posted on July 18, 2015 by Opher


Disclaimer – I would consider myself a left-wing moderate and pragmatist. While I will try to be objective and impartial one must always bear that in mind when reading further. My bias may subconsciously select words for me.

It is quite apparent to me, from my years in education, that the majority of people do not have a clue as to what the political parties stand for. Their philosophy has become shrouded in obfuscation. All the politicians are interested in is power and that means votes. In order to get elected they have to compromise and disguise their intent. That is politics.

I am attempting to state clearly, simply and objectively what the main parties stand for and where they came from.

The Labour Party.

The Labour Party are a centre/left party.

They came out of an amalgamation of the Socialist Party and the Trade Union movement of the late 19th Century. They were founded in 1900.

They were formed in order to give working men a voice in parliament and fight for reforms that would improve the conditions and pay of working people.

The Labour Party is a broad church ranging from extreme socialists to moderate social democrats.

They believe in social ownership of the means of production – ie. State ownership.

They believe in the principle of – ‘To each according to his contribution’ and/or ‘From each according to ability; to each according to need’. That is basically a fairer distribution of the wealth of the nation.

They embraced social concerns to improve the lot of ordinary people – environmentalism, feminism, and liberalism.

They oppose the premise of capitalism.

They believe in government intervention in business, taxation to provide services, redistribution of wealth, rights for working people and a welfare state.

Nb. No doubt my political friends of a left-wing bias will put me right on a few of my assertions!