Friday, November 29, 2013

L1 Bloc 2 Social and ethnic identities and conflicts▶ Jarrow Song - Alan Price ♪♫ - YouTube

I spoke in class about the crisis of the 1930s and the hunger marches. The most famous of the hunger marches was the Jarrow march, which was the subject of  a pop song in 1974! You can hear it on youtube by clicking on the link below.

▶ Jarrow Song - Alan Price ♪♫ - YouTube

L1 Bloc 2 Life in the second world war

I spoke today about the life of ordinary people in Britain during the Second World War. This series of short videos shows a reconstruction of an ordinary house from the time, and explains more about how people lived. 

How the British Empire's dirty secrets went up in smoke

In April 1957, five unmarked lorries left the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and drove to a Royal Navy base in Singapore with their cargo of files detailing the secrets of Britain’s rule in Malaya. Their destination was, in the words of one official, a “splendid incinerator”.

Read the full story here :


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

L2 Thème

Remember your test is on Friday. For fifteen points there will be a passage to translate. For five points, you will answer (in French or in English, it doesn't matter) two questions about the four short readings I have put on Eprel.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thatcher's secret plot to dismantle the welfare state and privatise the NHS revealed | Mail Online

This document suggests that Margaret Thatcher *would have liked* to abolish free healthcare and other central aspects of the welfare state, but she was not able to do so.

Thatcher's secret plot to dismantle the welfare state and privatise the NHS revealed | Mail Online

As or like? Grammar exercise

As or like?

Remembering JFK in style: interactive approaches to the anniversary | Media news | Journalism.co.uk

Remembering JFK in style: interactive approaches to the anniversary | Media news | Journalism.co.uk

L3 British civilization commentaire de texte

Text commentary L3 British civilization
Commentaire de texte L3 Obituary of Harold Wilson

Ce post fait suite au devoir sur table de la semaine dernière.
Ceci n’est pas un corrigé, mais quelques notes sur des éléments du texte que vous auriez pu faire ressortir. Si vous avez trouvé la moitié, c’est déjà pas mauvais.

Les erreurs principales restent les mêmes : paraphraser le texte, raconter des cours d’histoire sans se référer au texte, et, enfin, oublier de se poser la question clé ; qu’essaie de faire l’auteur (dans ce cas le journaliste de The Independent).

Voici le texte à commenter :

OBITUARY : Lord Wilson of Rievaulx
A homely, pipe-smoking, classless man, like a good family doctor
The Independent, 25 May 1995
Harold Wilson served as Prime Minister for almost eight years, then a peacetime record. For 13 years he led the Labour Party, winning four general elections and losing one. In 1976, shortly after his last victory, he gave up office for all time, to the astonishment of the world.
What was wrong? Was he suffering from a grave secret illness? Was some great scandal about to break? Why should a man held in high esteem by his party and who had just celebrated his 60th birthday resign from the prime ministership at an age when Churchill, Eden and Home had yet to form a government? The speculation was so lively that almost everyone missed the simple truth. It was that Wilson had had enough and did not intend to fight another election. He had no new solutions for Britain's old and recurrent problems and less energy than he had once had to sort out the party's internal feuds.
All but a few people missed too the historical significance of his resignation, that it signalled the approaching decline of the kind of demand-managed economy cum Welfare State which had begun in 1945, had been maintained by three Tory prime ministers and had been developed by Wilson. It was left to his successor James Callaghan to tell the party bluntly it was untrue that a government could simply spend its way out of depression and unemployment. The years of consensus between the parties and within them were coming to an end. The Labour Party was soon to be defeated by Margaret Thatcher's radical Conservatism; and, without Wilson to hold it together, was to lose some of its right wing to Roy Jenkins's breakaway movement, the Social Democratic Party, and to see the ''broad left'' flexing its muscles dangerously.
But the mystery of Wilson's personality was simply that it was all there on display. There was nothing more to know. He was a brilliant academic but no intellectual. There were no philosophic depths to probe. He was one of the few university socialists of his generation to escape the tamed and benevolent Marxism of the Left Book Club. He kept away from the Oxford Labour Club which was run by Communists and joined the Liberals. But in Huddersfield he joined the Labour Party before he was 20, the party ''that represented my highest moral and religious ideas''. He was a Christian, inspired by the ''social gospel'', finding his code of conduct in the precepts of the Scout Law and Kipling's ''If''.
''Shall we,'' he asked later, ''build a new Britain of fair shares and equal opportunity, or return to boom-and-bust days with their inequality and restrictive national production?'' That was, and remained, his socialism in a nutshell. In the controversy about the proposed removal of Clause IV of the party's constitution which seemed to envisage the public ownership of almost everything, Wilson took a relaxed view. ''Let it stand,'' he said. ''It is an ideal, not a detailed programme.'' Yet it was wrong to say that he had no ideology or for him to claim he was wholly pragmatic. He shared the conventional outlook of the revisionist socialists of his generation: a mixed economy, a Welfare State, supported on an expanding industrial base, part of it publicly owned, and full employment made possible by Keynesian expansion and trade-union moderation.

Et voici une esquisse de commentaire :

This document is an extract from an obituary which is aiming at evaluating Harold Wilson’s life and his contribution to British society. It is published in a newspaper which is left of centre, so we might imagine it was going to be generally positive about the Labour Party and Wilson[1]. Wilson is presented in the subtitle[2] in a fairly positive light: « homely, like a good family doctor »: that is, a person you can trust in difficult times. On the other hand a family doctor is not a great leader or a world changing statesman, and indeed the author presents Wilson as someone who hasnot really understood the changes in politics economics and society of the new neoliberal times.

Harold Wilson was prime minister from 1964 to 1970, and then again in the middle of the 1970s. This obituary was written in 1995, after Britain had lived through 16 years of Conservative government. We can see in the passage both evidence of the values and priorities of Wilson in the sixties and seventies, and the dominant ideas of the 1990s when the piece was published.

The heading reminds us that Harold Wilson was Lord Wilson when he died. This does not of course signify an aristocratic background. Wilson was made a life peer in recognition of his political career, as is very common with political leaders, trade union leaders and others, since the introduction of life peers in 1958. Wilson was in fact from a working class background, despite the journalist identifying him as " classless".

The writer presents the post-war boom Wilson ruled over as a time of consensus between the parties (others have preferred to speak of a ."settlement"). Certainly increasing social spending on the welfare state, the building of millions of good quality council houses to replace the slums the poor lived in previously, the development of health care free at the point of use, the use of nationalization of a large section of the economy (gas,electricity,steel,railways etc) were the key characteristics of this period, whereas privatization, low taxes for high incomes, and the reduction of the influence of trade unions have been the characteristics of the decades after Margaret Thatcher's 1979 victory. For this journalist, the changes seem inevitable.

The writer is not intending to simply recount Wilson's life ; he is also putting forward his own theory about the historical significance of Wilson's surprise resignation in 1976. He considers that Wilson resigned young because his ideas were out of date, and he suggests that Margaret Thatcher's ideas were more useful for Britain in the new age of crisis. We can see his attitude in his choice of words: Thatcher's ideas are described as "radical" whereas the influence of the left wing inside the labour party at the end of the nineteen seventieś he sees as “dangerous”. His  sarcastic reference to clause four as envisaging the public ownership "of almost everything" is not a left wing view of this clause.

The fact that being a political leader involves both dealing with questions of policy and with disagreement and disputes inside one's own party is shown at several points, Wilson's treatment of ..”internal feuds” is mentioned. We can see that the journalist has a negative view of internal debate in the Labour party. A few of the more spectacular divisions within the Labour party are also referred to : the split to the right which formed the Social Democratic Party at the beginning of the 1980s, and the struggle over clause four under the stewardship of Neil Kinnock in the mid 1990s

The mention of clause four allows the writer to contrast Wilson's opinion with that of later Labour party leaders who campaigned very hard to eliminate clause four from the Labour party constitution. Established in 1918, after the Russian revolution, the clause speaks of an intention “to secure for the workers... The full fruits of their labour” and is clearly of Marxist inspiration. The clause was eliminated in the 1990s, symbolizing the beginning of the New Labour party, which would soon be Tony Blair’s “third way”, abandoning many traditional socialist ideas and being as keen on privatization as were the Conservatives. The student grants of the 1960s and 1970s which allowed many ordinary people to go to university free, were replaced by tuition fees of several thousand pounds a year, and large student loans.

So the writer takes us through a series of contrasts : the politics of the years of the post war boom are contrasted to a later period, Harold Wilson is contrasted with what the writer says he was not: intellectual or ideological. Wilson is presented as a rather simple man, guided by simple texts like Kipling’s poem on the ideal English man, or the scout law (which speaks of doing one’s duty, and doing one’s best, important but not grand ideals. A scout is not a great leader!)

He does say one thing that Wilson achieved. He did not only continue the welfare state but « developed » it. The rise of university education for ordinary people inthe 1960s and 1970s, with the opening of many new universities and the establishment of the open university, and the advent of comprehensive education, which broke with the more elitist “grammar school system”, could be cited as examples of Wilsons contribution.

Although, as is traditional in an obituary, the writer underlines some of Wilson's virtues, he also uses the article to communicate his own opinion: that Wilson's ideas were out of date by 1976, and, he suggests, their replacement by neoliberal politics was a necessary development.

[1] Notice there is no need to waste time by copying out the date of publication and the name of the newspaper.
[2] Notez que le titre et le sous-titre sont plus important que le reste du texte, par définition, alors c’est dommage de ne pas en dire quelques phrases quand possible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SNP sets the day for Scottish independence: 24 March 2016 | Politics | The Observer

SNP sets the day for Scottish independence: 24 March 2016 | Politics | The Observer

L1 Bloc 2 cours de M Mullen quel amphi?

On Friday 29 November, we will be in lecture theatre 8 (amphi marron) at 8h45.

Vendredi 29 novembre, le cours de Social and Ethnic Identities and Conflicts aura lieu en amphi 8 (amphi marron). 

J'ai soigneusement vérifié cette information. SVP dites le à tous vos camarades.

New galleries open at Tate Britain | Tate

New galleries open at Tate Britain | Tate

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A review of my book in the online publication "Inmedia"

The online publication Inmedia have just published a review of my book on Popular song during the First World War. It is available here :

John Mullen, ‘The show must go on!’ La Chanson populaire en Grande-Bretagne pendant la Grande Guerre, 1914-1918

Monday, November 18, 2013

L3 British civilization : advice for the classroom test in text commentary

Your classroom test, then, will be a text commentary to be handled in the normal way. Here are some things to remember.

1) You're trying to show your high level of English, so re-read carefully before handing your script in.
2) Do not paraphrase the text. I have read the text and I understand it : I don't need you to tell me again what it says, in different words.
3) Make sure you attempt to answer the question: what is the author of the passage trying to do?
4) Show that you know the historical context of the information and arguments in the passage. If the passage gives two examples of a phenomenon, try to give a third. If the passage gives one opinion on a subject, try to summarize the other influential opinions at the time.
5) Don't hesitate to compare, but briefly, with other periods and personalities. If the work of politician A has points in common with the work of politician B twenty years earlier, explain in one or two sentences the link. Remember you are trying to prove that you have a good knowledge of British history since 1945.
6) Do not yourself denounce or praise the celebrities present in a passage. They may be your heroes or your idea of a monster: this is not important. You may if you wish give your opinion in the last paragraph, but this is not necessary and not generally even useful. I need to see that you understand why *other people* thought of X as a hero or as a monster.
7) Sometimes what the passage does not mention is almost as important as what it does mention. When Harold Macmillan speaks of all the good things he sees in British domination of Africa, it is perfectly appropriate to mention some opinions on the harm the British did. Omission is often important.

Just some advice. Tell your classmates to look at this.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

BBC NEWS | Business | The trade unions' long decline

A short article from the BBC website about trade unions before and after the 1984 miners' strike.

BBC NEWS | Business | The trade unions' long decline

BBC News - Prince Charles to launch youth community campaign

What does the royal family in Britain actually do? Here is an example. Note that the leaders of all three main political parties support this initiative. Why do you imagine this is ? 

BBC News - Prince Charles to launch youth community campaign

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The TLS blog: The poets at war (and in anthologies)

The centenary of the First World War is approaching. In Britain, the poets who wrote at the time about the war have had a huge influence. See this article :

The TLS blog: The poets at war (and in anthologies)

The 1984 Miners strike

This documentary looks at the period from 1984 miner's strike to the closure of Parkside Colliery the last pit in Lancashire in 1993.
In a series of interviews, ex-miners and their wives talk about the financial and emotional pressure brought to bear on them by the strike.

The closure of the mines is still a very emotive subject for many people but others look back and see it as a catalyst for positive change and improvement in their lives.
This documentary focuses on how people have adjusted their lives in response to the decline of an important industry.

▶ Lancashire Mining Documentary "Loss Of Face" Part 1 - YouTube

▶ MARGARET THATCHER - Pt 1 The Making of Margaret (Telegraph Documentary) - YouTube

This is a documentary about Margaret Thatcher, made by people who support her political views.

▶ MARGARET THATCHER - Pt 1 The Making of Margaret (Telegraph Documentary) - YouTube

Margaret Thatcher on Socialism - YouTube

A short speech of Margaret Thatcher's just before her resignation after eleven years as Prime Minister.

▶ Margaret Thatcher on Socialism - YouTube

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sounding natural in English

This amusing BBC radio series looks at everyday expressions in modern English.
It can be downloaded as MP3.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

L3 Britain since 1945

Your classroom test is next week; it will be a text commentary. The test will last one hour and forty five minutes.

L3 Britain since 1945/ Etudiants de CAPES: La législation concernant les syndicats

Un autre sujet que doivent traiter tous les gouvernements depuis la deuxième guerre est celui des rapports entre salariés et employeurs. Quel est le rôle du gouvernement? Doit-il intervenir pour protéger les salariés (salaire minimum, protection des syndicats, règles de sécurité ...)? Ou doit-il intervenir contre les grèves (envoyer la police pour empêcher les piquets de grève, déclarer illégaux certains types de grève ...)? De "In Place of Strife" à la mise en place du salaire minimum à la fin des années 1990, en passant par les lois thatcheriennes, les réponses ont été variées. Voici un article que j'ai écrit en français à ce sujet.

L3 Britain since 1945/ Etudiants de CAPES: John Major's Citizens Charter. Fifteen years later | John Mullen - Academia.edu

How the public sector and public services should be managed has been a constant source of political debate since the Second World War. Questions of nationalization and privatization have been treated very differently by different governments. And inside the public sector - should management structures and services for clients be similar to those present in the private sector? Or is the public sector correctly based on completeley different values ? In the early 1990s, one attempt by government to deal with the question of public service was the "Citizen's Charter" established by John Major. Here is an article I wrote about it a few years ago.

John Major's Citizens Charter. Fifteen years later | John Mullen - Academia.edu

Monday, November 11, 2013

La clé des langues - :Workbook - Britain and World War One (DNL)

J'ai participé à la mise en place de ces pages concernant l'expérience britannique de la Première guerre mondiale:

La clé des langues - :Workbook - Britain and World War One (DNL)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

L2 Thème DST

L2 Thème DST

Your first classroom test will be on the 29th of November.
It will consist of two parts :

1) a short passage to translate into English (15 points)

2) Three questions on the readings which I am putting on Eprel about past tenses (5 points).

Any student who is absent (ill, etc) will take the exam next June in the second session.

L1 Bloc 2 vendredi matin

Pour demain matin, il n'y a pas de changement de salle. Nous serons dans l'amphi 4 (amphi gris).

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

M1 Enseignement préparation CAPES COMPOSITION

Just a reminder as to how this class is going to work. Everyone will need a mark at the end to count for your UE for the master's degree. There are two ways of getting this

1) Some students will do an exposé in class, where they will present orally what they would have written in the written exam. After I have commented the exposé, the student writes  up an improved version taking note of my comments. This new version will be the basis of their mark.

All students prepare each week the documents which will form the basis of the exposé. This allows you to revise a wide range of subjects. I know I am repeating myself, but students who do not succeed at this exam do not generally fall down on methodology, but because they do not know enough history and civilization. Every opportunity should be taken to learn more - TV, radio, newspapers, books, museums, podcasts etc.

2) Students who have not done an exposé will do a written homework comparative commentary, which they will return to me both on paper and by email in RTF format at the very beginning of January.


▶ British Popular Culture: 1970s - YouTube

▶ British Popular Culture: 1970s - YouTube

Britain since 1945▶ Roger McGough. - YouTube

Here is a later, short, video of one of the Liverpool poets, Roger McGough

▶ Roger McGough. - YouTube

L3 Britain since 1945 ▶ To Whom It May Concern - YouTube

Last class  I mentioned the new popular poets who emerged in the 1960s : the Liverpool poets, and Adrian Mitchell. Here is a 1965 video of Adrian Mitchell, reading his anti-Vietnam war poem "To Whom it may concern".

▶ To Whom It May Concern - YouTube

L3 Britain since 1945 DST

The first DST will be on the 21st of November. It will be a text commentary; you will have two hours to complete it. The document will refer to some period we have already studied; the best marks will be given to students who write in good English, understand how the document works, show their knowledge of the history of the period and show they have been reading outside the class.

14-18: un Centenaire très populaire - Libération

14-18: un Centenaire très populaire - Libération

L1 Bloc 2 Social and ethnic identities and conflicts : DST

Le premier DST aura lieu le vendredi 22 novembre 2013 à 8h45.
La durée est d'une heure et demie.

Il s'agira généralement de questions de cours, mais les étudiants qui montrent qu'ils ont lu d'autres sources sur le sujet (livres, journaux) auront les meilleures notes.