Summer 2015 Newsletter/Blog

Posted Sep 10, 2015


Summer 2015

[Vote for Jeremy Corbyn!]    [Too late now! 10th September]

Hello everyone. First of all I must thank all those of you who have sentt me “Get Well” cards and messages of encouragement during and after my seemingly endless trips in ambulances to the A&E Department here in Sheffield. I managed to finish up in hospital on 2 occasions. If you’re curious, my nose kept bleeding and my doctor said “phone 999!” Now, I think we’re winning. I’m home, nursing a nose that feels like a war zone after endless cauterising – about 12 times in all! So thank you for your kind wishes. I can’t respond to all the cards so please accept my thanks this way. I’ll probably thank everyone on FB as well. That maybe you again! I hope this is acceptable. [a day later] I’ve now had more “get well” messages from FB friends!

Here we go again. An election disaster! I told you so – where was the DREAM? It is NOW that the Labour Party, if it has any future at all, must begin to tell us of the dream that guides it. What is the kind of Society we can become? How do we build that Society? The Labour Party must tell us of it’s DREAM. It’s not helped by the current Leader (Harriet Harman) telling us she supports some of Osborne’s/Tory measures regarding welfare benefit cuts (aka reforms!!) Is the Labour Party now accepting the dismantling of the welfare state that their forefathers & mothers created? The Tory argument that the Welfare State is not sustainable is nonsense. There is not a shortage of money – there is the question of spending priorities e.g. Trident???  The Lab Pty has this one last chance to create the building blocks to achieve its DREAM. For me, that dream must be one which restores the collective conscience of compassion, tolerance & equality. Too much focussing on the individual has led us to the virtual institutionalisation of “I’m all right – pull up the ladder!!” If it fails, the Party will become an historical, political institution for Historians to write books about and research issues for students for their MAs or PhDs.

A DREAM (as Tony used to say) of “a Society based NOT on  Hierarchy, Order and Discipline but of one based on Equality, Liberty, Justice and Internationalism.”  Each generation has to struggle against the established order of it’s time. The struggle is between ‘the haves’ and the ‘have nots’; OR between the wealthy and the poor, OR between the powerful and the powerless; OR between Capital and Labour, however we characterise, or whatever analytical devices we use to understand or explain the condition of human societies and how they change, each succeeding generation struggles to, at best, change the social order or at least, improve the circumstance of the weakest.

In ALL Societies since humankind emerged, that struggle has existed. There is no final defeat as there is no final victory.  The ideology that offers this dream is Socialism.  There have been so many funerals to bury Socialism that one suspects there was no body in the casket!  Our Dream has to offer hope and the opportunity for all who are ‘locked out’ of that for which we struggle. We have to get into the collective conscience, the hope and the desire for this DREAM. Without it, all we are offering is a shopping list. A General Election is not for a shopping list, it is a moment on the way to the fulfilment of that DREAM, of what our society has within itself to become.

Oh well!  You all know what I think.

I have to remain optimistic. In spite of the obstinate ‘facts’ around me, facts like Cameron and Osborne not to mention the barbaric and cruel I.D-Smith! ‘Reform’ for them is simply another word for CUTS! To even suggest there is a need for £12 billion from the welfare budget is grotesque. Once again, the weakest and most vulnerable in our society are to carry the burden for the greed of the richest, who borrowed and sold in reckless abandon. It was not the last Labour government who was responsible for the financial melt-down of 2008/9. The Labour Party’s failure was to allow such an accusation to become fixed in public consciousness …. Did Labour’s backroom researchers and advisers think it best to ignore such labelling of the Party? Did they think  “If we ignore it’ll pass.”  It, quite evidently, didn’t!  

Vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve been cheeky and given my blog a title. I think Jeremy entered the Leadership contest to ensure ‘the left’ had a voice in the debates. It would be great if he could win it! I suspect he won’t and I don’t think he’ll mind terribly though I think he’ll be furious at the direction the Party is taking…. I like Jeremy and I don’t want to ruin his life by getting him elected as Leader of the Labour Party, but … what can I say? He is the only voice I trust. He speaks with authority and a history that backs him up! He is presently, Chair of Stop the War Coalition. That and much more is enough for me. I know from my own experience, he and Tony and, I believe, millions of others, share that same  ‘DREAM’!!!  

I could go on and on about theories of social & political change but those arguments, those long discussions were part of an earlier life. A life in which I had the energy to engage in them!

Ah well, an old man can dream …… can’t I?

I’ve had little in the way of concerts since January. Then, as the summer approached, my effin’ nose began to bleed and I was forced to cancel all engagements from the middle of May till…. July 4th when I undertook a concert in support of Music on the Marr (MoM) Festival at Castle Carrock in Cumbria.   I was OK for this and it went very well. My thanks to Stew and Richard for inviting me, to Marc for driving me and generally looking after me as well as playing and singing so well. All this and a really friendly audience. They were so supportive. We all had a good time, I think.   Then, the MoM Festival itself (July 16th-19th.) - see my concert diary on the web page. Followed, hopefully, by other Festivals – also listed on the web site (  - Click on ‘Live Dates’.)

I’m looking forward to these. Indeed, I prefer Festivals because I get the opportunity to meet people and maybe have a drink and a chat. This is especially true of my experience, for example, at Towersey Festival over the August Bank Holiday. You should come to Towersey Festival – we’re on new site this year and it promises to be very exciting. Earlier in August (6th) I’ll be at Wickham Festival in Hampshire. In July again, (25th) I’ll be at Warwick Festival. I haven’t been there for a few years so I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and, hopefully meeting new ones.   If you see me wandering about on any of these sites, please come and say “Hi.”

            I wonder if you know, or knew of my invitation to contribute to a TEDx event in Aylesbury, on May 9th – 2 days after the dreadful election with the even more dreadful result? The theme was “Misfits and Pioneers”. I decided to talk and sing my contribution. I was nervous, because there is a strict time limit (18 minutes). I’m not normally good at being restricted to such a time so I decided I needed to write it out. I think that was why I was nervous. When I read, my mind goes blank… it sort of switches off. I just …. read! Still, a few people have said they enjoyed it. I’m grateful for that! At least I got the ‘audience’ to sing. That pleased me! If you’re interested, go to the TEDxAylesbury website.  I hope you like it? 

I’m nearly finished so you can relax! I am looking forward to my 80th ‘Birthday Bash’ concert as the guest of the Bright Phoebus Collective on Tuesday October 20th [2015!] It’s at the Greystones pub on Greystones Road, Sheffield S11 7BS. Wow! I’m grateful to Kit and Lindsi for this.   I have every intention of enjoying my 81st one as well in 2016 – so make a date – put it in your diary!  Thank you for your interest and your generous support. You make an old man very happy! I’ll no doubt remind you of the birthday concert in my Autumn Newsletter/Blog – so that’s something to look forward to or avoid? You decide!


Finally, I am reminded of a song by Martin Whelan:

Bread & Roses

i) If we don’t have a dream                            ii) He was born to organise

What do we live for?                                           That’s what Jack Jones lived for

If we don’t have a dream                                    For being a Union man

What did James Connolly die for?                       That’s what Joe Hill was killed for.                                                                                                                   

Chorus:                                                             Chorus....

Look up the sky is burning                           iii) In dreams of solid steel

With the blood the workers shed                       That’s what Mandela Lived for

We’ll carry on the battle                                      For dreaming of what might be

For Roses and Bread.                                          That’s what Allende died for

 Bread and Roses                                                              chorus…Look up …

Roses and Bread                                          iv)  Let's dream that dream of dreams  

We'll carry on the battle                                       A world without sorrow

For Roses and Bread                                           And maybe that dream

                                                                          Will build a new tomorrow

                                                           Will build a new Tomorrow

                                                                                    chorus…Look up… 

[“Celebrating Subversion” by The Anti-Capitalist Road Show Collective. Fuse Records CFCD099. Now only available on line] 

I hope to see you around, somewhere along the road ….

Love   -  Roy 


Roy Bailey


July 13th 2015