Sunday, December 30, 2007

Police anger at Commons march 'ban' | Politics | The Observer

Police anger at Commons march 'ban' | Politics | The Observer

The British police are planning a major protest to demand higher wages. This would be the biggest police protest since 1919, when the police went on strike.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

L2 civilisation britannique, régime dérogatoire

Si vous êtes en régime dérogatoire vos épreuves sont différentes de celles des autres étudiants. L'UE de civilisation britannique pour vous comporte trois épreuves.

1) Une épreuve écrite de trois heures - un commentaire de texte et une dissertation sur des thèmes "Britain in the Twentieth Century" (1900- 2007). Elle aura lieu le 22 janvier en amphi jaune de 14h à 17h.

2) Une épreuve orale. Vous présenterez un commentaire de texte à l'oral. Le texte sera choisi au hasard, lors de l'épreuve, d'une liste de dix textes extraits de la brochure de l'UE. Vous aurez quinze minutes pour préparer le commentaire sur place, et quinze minutes pour le présenter (bien évidemment vous aurez préparé chez vous les dix textes!) Vous pouvez vous servir de notes prises chez vous, mais vous ne devez pas simplement lire les notes.

Cette épreuve orale aura lieu le mercredi 23 janvier à partir de 14h (contrairement à l'affichage, où on lit que c'est le matin). Nous fixerons l'horaire de passage de chacun le 22 janvier, lors de l'épreuve écrite.

La liste des dix textes en question sera affichée le 11 janvier à la fac, mais je le mettrai auparavant sur ce blog (d'ici deux ou trois jours).

3) Pour le point TICE (nouvelles technologies), vous devez rendre un travail fait à la maison - une bibliographie annotée. Pour les instructions détaillées, envoyez-moi un mail dès que possible : john.mullen @ wanadoo.fr

L2 civi Rivers of Blood speech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rivers of Blood speech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The wikipedia article on the racist speech of Enoch Powell is 1968 is very good. Note in particular the popularity of Enoch Powell among wide sections of the population after his speech.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

If your passion is British history, this website will interest you. And you can sign up to get in your email a biography every day of some important person from British history. The biographies are of a very high standard.

Monday, December 24, 2007

YouTube - Flanders & Swann

YouTube - Flanders & Swann

As part of a short series of holiday entertainment, here is a youtube video of a classic duo - Flanders and Swan, from some thirty or forty years back.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

L2 Civilisation britannique - last year's contrôle final

To help you prepare, here is last year's Contrôle Final

Université Paris 12 Val-de- Marne , Faculté des Lettres, Département d’anglais
Partiel Civilisation britannique L2 janvier 2007 Etudiants en régime général uniquement

o Aucun document n’est autorisé

Section A : Write a text commentary on the following passage. Be sure to explain any references, and to show that you are familiar with events before and after the date of the document which help us to understand its importance. (10 points)

o Key elements of the 1980s trade union reforms to stay
There must be minimum standards for the individual at work, including a minimum wage, within a flexible labour market. We need a sensible balance in industrial relations law - rights and duties go together.
The key elements of the trade union legislation of the 1980s will stay - on ballots, picketing and industrial action. People should be free to join or not to join a union. Where they do decide to join, and where a majority of the relevant workforce vote in a ballot for the union to represent them, the union should be recognised. This promotes stable and orderly industrial relations. There will be full consultation on the most effective means of implementing this proposal.
Partnership at work

The best companies recognise their employees as partners in the enterprise. Employees whose conditions are good are more committed to their companies and are more productive. Many unions and employers are embracing partnership in place of conflict. Government should welcome this.

We are keen to encourage a variety of forms of partnership and enterprise, spreading ownership and encouraging more employees to become owners through Employee Share Ownership Plans and co-operatives. We support too the Social Chapter of the EU, but will deploy our influence in Europe to ensure that it develops so as to promote employability and competitiveness, not inflexibility.

A sensibly set national minimum wage
There should be a statutory level beneath which pay should not fall - with the minimum wage decided not on the basis of a rigid formula but according to the economic circumstances of the time and with the advice of an independent low pay commission, whose membership will include representatives of employers, including small business, and employees.

There are over one million fewer jobs in Britain than in 1990. One in five families has no one working. One million single mothers are trapped on benefits. There is a wider gap between rich and poor than for generations.
We are determined not to continue down the road of a permanent have-not class, unemployed and disaffected from society. Our long-term objective is high and stable levels of employment. This is the true meaning of a stakeholder economy - where everyone has a stake in society and owes responsibilities to it.
Extract from the Labour Party manifesto 1997.

Section B. Write a short essay on ONE of the following TWO subjects (10 points)

A) “British foreign policy since World War Two has been much the same under Labour or under the Conservatives.” Discuss with examples.

B) What have been the most important changes in the lives of young people in Britain over the last fifty years ? Give specific examples.

Administrative information for January

L2 Thème My L2 students in thème (RG) will have their contrôle final on Friday January 11th in the usual room (115) at 08h30. Régime dérogatoire students have theirs on Wednesday 23rd January in the afternoon (see posters for place).

L2 Civilisation
My L2 British civilization students (RG) will have their contrôle final on Friday 11th January in room 318 at 13h. (Contrary to some information which has been circulating). The Régimé dérogatoire students wil have theirs on the 22nd January in the afternoon.

RG students who have not been able to do their "exposé" in class must come to room 208 at 12h on Wednesday 23rd January.
Régime dérogatoire students have their oral exam on Wednesday 23rd January at 10h (Rendezvous room 208)

RG students must hand in their Research Paper on January 11th. Before you ask, you may not hand this work in in electronic form by email.

TICE The TICE mark for RG students will depend on the technical qualities of your research paper - in particular there will be no typing errors.
RD students (civi GB L2) should contact me immediately by mail to get information about the TICE work.

L1 Civilization GB
L1 Civilization students will have their contrôle final on Friday the 11th of January at 11h in room 318. Régime général students will have to check the noticeboards for the date of their exam.

You will remember that for all students, those who do not get through in January have the opportunity to take another exam at the second session in June.

L2 Libertés et devoirs syndicaux de Thatcher à Blair 

Libertés et devoirs syndicaux de Thatcher à Blair 

Cet article, en français, décrit et analyse les lois introduites par Thatcher et ensuite par Blair concernant l'activité syndicale.

The Queen ... on Youtube

Starkey dubs YouTube Queen an 'uneducated housewife' - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Is the Queen becoming a modern monarch ?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - Grammar Challenge (Learn English)

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - Grammar Challenge (Learn English)

On the BBC website, these radio programmes could be useful revision. Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 17, 2007

L2 British Rail - Wikipedia

British Rail - Wikipedia

Just as in the 19th century the railway was the key to the Industrial Revolution, the railways in the Twentieth century have reflected political and social history. Nationalized, along with many other industries in the Keynesian wave of the post-war boom, the railways were privatized in Britain in the 1990s by the Conservative government. The Labour government has not wanted to renationalize them, and they have become a potent symbol of the privatization/nationalization debate. The wikipedia article on British Rail gives a useful introduction to the history of British Rail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

L2 YouTube - Images from the 1984 Miners Strike UK

YouTube - Strike84 Images from the 1984 Miners Strike UK

The miners' strike of 1984 was perhaps the key moment for Margaret Thatcher's government. The strike lasted twelve months, and the strikers had tremendous difficulty finding money to buy food and pay rents. This youtube video shows some of the photos of the strike.

L2 Thatcher Speech to Conservative Party Conference (‘the lady’s not for turning’) [audio] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Speech to Conservative Party Conference (‘the lady’s not for turning’) [audio] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

On this site you can find hundreds of speeches by Margaret Thatcher. But here is one useful example from her early years as Prime Minister.

L2 comments on your Classroom test

Some notes on a text commentary.

Several students did not know who was prime minister, who won the election and by how much. More reading is the solution to that one. Otherwise here are some of the things you could have said in your text commentary. If you said half of these things, that would probably have been enough. This is given in note form, not as a structured commentary.

Who produced this document ?

The Labour Party, after it had expelled Macdonald and a few other leading members, who had formed a new government in alliance with the Conservatives and Liberals. The party had become by this time the main opposition to the Conservatives, and had formed two governments, one in 1924 and one in 1929 which collapsed in August 1931.

When was it produced ?
For the election of November 1931, after Macdonald and the National government had been in office for almost three months.

The context of the document include :

- the economic crisis
- mass unemployment
- mass movements of protest : hunger marches of the unemployed ; other protests such as Invergordon (two months before the election). In general a situation of huge social and political crisis. Soon both the Communist party and fascist forces will be gaining influence in Britain.

What does the document say (short summary) ?
The manifesto attacks capitalism as the cause of mass misery. It says that the Labour government was replaced by the National government purely in the interest of « Bankers and Financiers ». This government is presented as an unstable failure. The Labour party suggests instead to nationalize industries and replace the power of the market with a planned economy.

What references need explaining ?

Line 1 . The 1929 Wall Street Crash showed the great difficulties of capitalism in the country where everyone though it had been the greatest success, the United States. The economy of Germany, the other powerful industrial country in Europe, is in a state of total collapse.

Lines 6-9 It was the decision, under the pressure of the bankers to cut the amount of money received by unemployed people which led to the collapse of the Labour government and Macdonald’s decision to build a new coalition, leading to his expulsion from the Labour Party.

Lines 14-16 The National government had decided to abandon the link between the British currency and the price of gold

Line 23 The Labour party says in its manifesto that it is confident. In fact, it will suffer an extremely heavy defeat, and will have only 52 Members of Parliament in the new parliament (288 in the old). This terrible defeat will have a huge influence on future debates inside the Labour party.

lines 26 - 32
It is worth noting that this manifesto is much more anticapitalist in tone than most Labour manifestoes. One could explain this both by the fact that the departure of that section of Labour ( around Macdonald) who were not anticapitalist and believed in the very gradual repalcement of capitalisme by means of education left a more radical Labour party. But also the terrible severity of the social crisis made it difficult to suggest moderate-sounding solutions.

The idea of the planned economy is both a socialist and a Keynesian idea. The nationalization of industries and the much greater involvement of government in the economy will be established after world war two, in particular by the next Labour government of 1945, who will establish most element sof the welfares state and nationalize a large number of industries.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

L1 William of Orange remembered in Northern Ireland

This mural in Northern ireland shows on the Left William of Orange, a hero of protestant extremists in Ireland today .

L1 - The Glorious Revolution

Glorious Revolution

This is one historian's view of The "gliorious revolution".

YouTube - Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street

YouTube - Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street

It is important to see the main characters of twentieth century history. This video shows Margaret Thatcher just after she has won the election and is arriving at Downing Street.

NB Youtube videos will not play on the university network.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All students French News National and Regional News from France - News France

French News National and Regional News from France - News France

To keep improving your English it is essential to read a lot, and newspapers are ideal - short articles, often entertaining. But British or American newspapers can be difficult to understand if you don't read them every day.

This site give you news in English about France. It is rather a Conservative newspaper. It is often easy to understand because you may already have heard the news on the French TV or radio, or read it in a French newspaper.

L2 Thème - The genitive

The genitive - intermediate and advanced

How do you translate "Dans un coin de la cellule"? - Is it in a corner of the cell or in the cell's corner?

To get this sort of question correct you have to be sure you have absorbed correctly the grammar of the genitive. This link takes you to an interesting quiz on this subject.

Popular music : Led Zeppelin reunion tests ticket touts | Rock | Guardian Unlimited Music

Led Zeppelin reunion tests ticket touts Rock Guardian Unlimited Music

In the news right now, a leading rock group from the nineteen seventies are giving a reunion concert ...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

L2 British Economics and Trade Union politics 1973-1974

News British Economics and Trade Union politics 1973-1974

The early 1970s saw some of the biggest strikes since the 1920s. The government fell after one of these. This link takes you to a summary of the crisis of 1973-1974. The Conservative government was determined to show it ruled the country and could control the trade unions. The trade unions were determined that living standards should continue to rise, despite the fact that it was more difficult for companie sto make big profits than it had been in the sixties.

The photograph shows a monument to the memory of Mick McGahey, one of the miners' union leaders, famous for his rôle in the seventies' strikes, who died in 1999.

Irregular Verbs Quiz 1

Irregular Verbs Quiz 1

At the university, I don't teach irregular verbs. This is something which is taught at High school. But, if you still have some little difficulties, this link takes you to a fun quiz. For L2 students, 100% correct is the minimum score acceptable :=)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

L2 1967 - Anti Vietnam War Peace March

YouTube - 1967 - Anti Vietnam War Peace March

Towards the end of the nineteen sixties, the Vietnam war was the biggest political question in America, but also in Britain, where the Labour government support for the USA was highly controversial. Britain did not send troops to Vietnam (and this is very significant), but provided essential political support internationally. This youtube video shows some of the atmosphere in the US demonstrations. Similar if smaller demonstrations were taking place in London, Rome and elsewhere.

NB Youtube videos will not play on the university network.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

L2 BBC - Radio 4 - This Sceptred Isle -

BBC - Radio 4 - This Sceptred Isle - The Suez Crisis

This BBC link tells you a little about the Suez Crisis, but it also contains a quiz to test your knowledge of British history...

Modern Art - Praise for Turner jury as prize goes to war protest - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Praise for Turner jury as prize goes to war protest - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Every year the Turner prize is given to a modern artist. This year it was won by an artists who is famous for his extremely original protest against the war in Iraq.

L1 English Civil War - revision

English Civil War

This website can be useful to revise what you know about the civil war ( the test is on Friday!)
The section "events, issues and organization" on the site is the most important one.

All students BBC - Radio - Podcasts - File on 4

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - File on 4

It is essential to practice listening to English. The BBC website offers a series of free programmes to download, including music, documentaries, and comedy (though comedy on the radio can be difficult for non-native speakers).
This link takes you to "File on Four" which is a weekly documentary. This week they look at cancer, and why, they say, treatment of cancer in Britain is not as effective as it is in other countries in Europe.
You always have to be a little careful with this kind of documentary - it can be a little sensationalist, and the desire to make "good radio" is evident. Nevertheless, you learn something, and of course you practice your listening skills.

If you right click and save, you can then transfer it onto an MP3 player and listen to it on the metro...

Monday, November 26, 2007

L2 - Beatles 1964_UK Variety Club Awards

YouTube - Beatles 1964_UK Variety Club Awards

In 1964 the Beatles were at the height of their career. This video from Youtube gives some of the atmosphere of the time. Notice that Harold Wilson, prime minister of the time, wanted to be seen on TV with the Beatles. This was very much a new approach at the time for a politician. More recently, however, Tony Blair made a point of being seen with Blur.

NB Youtube videos may not play on university network computers.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

YouTube - Groovie Movie (1944). Funny jitterbug instructional video.

YouTube - Groovie Movie (1944). Funny jitterbug instructional video.

For anybody - this video from the USA in 1944 teaches you how to do the Jitterbug dance!

Friday, November 23, 2007

L2 Council Housing

Council housing in Lincoln

I explained in class how council housing was an important social reform in the 1950s. This short article on a local government website explains the history of council housing in one medium sized town.

The next couple of weeks

Thursday and Friday of next week (29th and 30th) I will be at a conference in Caen.

The following Thursday there will be an L2 civi replacement class at 2pm in room 222, and (finally) a TICE class at 6pm in the multimedia room.

On Friday 7th the L2 Thème class will be a test - a translation of a literary passage.
The L1 civilization class will include a test on the civil war (causes events and consequences).
The L2 civilization class will include a test (a written text commentary on a document from before 1945).


L2 1963 - The Profumo scandal

This is the BBC news on that day in 1963. And the photo of the woman involved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Je suis arrivé à Créteil. Le cours de 14h aura lieu comme prévu. Le cours de 18h est annulé à cause des transports.
Je partirai tôt de Paris pour tout faire pour être à l'heure pour vendredi 8h30

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

L2 History - struggle for independence in Kenya

History - struggle for independence

This Kenyan website tells the history of the struggle for independence from Britain, from the point of view of the Kenyans.

L2 Mau-Mau (Le Monde diplomatique)

Mau-Mau (Le Monde diplomatique)

A short introduction in French to the important "Mau Mau" movement for independence from Britain.

The photo shows "Mau Mau" fighters from 1952.

Transport, and classroom tests

The trains seem to be more frequent this week, and I think I will get to Paris in time for classes. (Though of course nothing is ever absolutely certain). Any problems will be reported here.

For L2 civilization students, the classroom test which was planned for week 8 will happen at a later date. You will remember it was a text commentary on some aspect of British history before 1945. Nevertheless, do begin revising this history!
L2 civilization students will see me three times this week - Thursday at 14h in room 311, Thursday at 18h in the multimedia room, and of course the normal class on Friday. I am hoping there are several students whose exposés are ready.

Remember I am absent on the 29th and 30th, at a conference in Caen "Regards croisés sur les deux guerres mondiales".

Monday, November 19, 2007

Transport again

It seems that for the moment there are more trains than there were last week. But the situation remains very uncertain. Like last week, all information will be swiftly brought to you on this blog.

Friday, November 16, 2007

L2 British nuclear weapons today

BBC News Player - Newsnight
In the late fifties, the debate about Britain's nuclear weapons was very important.
Just this week in Britain, a new debate has broken out about Britain's nuclear weapons. In the United States and in Russia, nuclear weapons can only be launched by a code belonging to the president. In Britain, a military submarine commander can decide to launch a nuclear missile without a direct decision coming from the prime minister. The BBC TV programme Newsnight covers this story, and the link takes you to their video feed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

L1 The Commonwealth of England

Commonwealth of England - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Next week we will be looking at the type of government introduced under Oliver Cromwell. As an introduction to the subject, read this article from wikipedia.

Pas de cours vendredi

J'y ai cru jusqu'au dernier moment, mais finalement je ne peux pas me rendre à Paris et je ne serai donc pas à Créteil vendredi 16. Toutes mes excuses.
Faites passer le message, car pendant deux heures ce matin, il y avait l'information contraire sur ce blog (le temps que j'aille à la gare).
Je mettrai sur le blog quelques éléments pour vous permettre d'avancer en attendant.
Etudiants en L2 civilisation, n'oubliez pas que nous avons deux cours jeudi prochain (14h salle 311 et cours TICE à 18h).
Bonne continuation
John Mullen

L2 The abolition of capital punishment in Britain.(The End

The abolition of capital punishment in Britain.(The End
One of the most important debates in the fifties in Britain concerned the question of capital punishment (in Britain this meant hanging). This article (follow link) explains some of the history of this abolition.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

L2 1956 - the Suez Crisis

Suez Crisis
This site gives an introduction to the Suez crisis of 1956, a key moment in the decline of British imperial power.

Jeudi non, vendredi oui en principe

Il n' y a pas de train pour Paris assez tôt pour mes cours de jeudi. Alors je n'y serai pas pour les cours de jeudi 14h et de jeudi 18h.
En principe j'ai un train qui me permet d'arriver à Paris tard jeudi - alors les cours de vendredi auront lieu.
Si jamais la situation change demain et le train ne roule pas, je vous le ferai savoir sur ce blog.
John Mullen

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Beatles museum in Liverpool

About the Beatles Story Experience - Beatles Exhibition - Beatles Story
In the twentieth century history classes, we will soon be looking at the fifties and the sixties. Of course, the most famous thing to come out of Britain at this time was the Beatles. This light-hearted website belongs to the Beatles museum in Liverpool.

L1 Exercices de grammaire

exercices niveau avance
In the first year, sometimes there are still grammar problems which you need to revise. This site gives you some fun exercises to practise with. Of course "niveau avancé" means "avancé" for much younger students : for university students of English this is basic stuff :=)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grèves dans les transports

Je ferai tout ce que je peux pour être présent jeudi à Créteil (cours de thème à 15h30, cours de TICE à 18h). S'il n'y a aucun train, je mettrai cette information sur ce blog jeudi matin vers 9h ou 10h. Si je ne mets pas d'information, c'est que je suis dans le train et je serai en cours (si la RATP ou vélib me permettent).
Si jamais je n'arrive pas à me déplacer, je vous laisserai des informations sur le travail que vous pouvez faire en attendant que la situation redevient habituel.

L2 20th century history - The UK Election Poster

TopFoto Gallery - The UK Election Poster

Election posters are excellent historical clues to the atmosphere of the time. Each party tries to summarize in a few words and pictures the key idea which will persuade neutral people to vote for their party. Often they use some of the most skilled advertisers or artists in the country. This site (follow the link) shows you a selection of election posters from the different parties during the twentieth century.
The two posters here give you an idea - one is from the Conservatives for the 1945 election. The other is from Labour for the 1950 election.

L2 The windrush generation

SS Empire Windrush - SS Empire Windrush - Icons of England
In 1948, the ship SS Empire Windrush arrived in Britain, carrying a few hundred people from Jamaica who wanted to make a new life for themselves in Britain. You can see a group of them in the photo. Symbolically it was the beginning of a wave of immigration from the British Empire, encouraged by the government who needed workers to rebuild Britain. The Jamaicans who arrived, however, often found Britain was not what they had thought. This site gives some information on this generation of immigrants often omitted from the history books.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Information sur les grèves de transport.

Pour mes étudiants à Créteil

Vous aurez remarqué qu'il y a des grèves prévues dans les transports la semaine prochaine, et il est difficile de savoir quels trains vont rouler. Vous savez aussi peut être que j'habite à Agen dans le 47, alors ce n'est pas la porte à côté.
Je ferai, bien sûr, le maximum pour être présent à chaque cours - je prendrai le train un jour plus tôt par exemple, s'il risque d'y avoir un problème.
Si jamais je suis bloqué et je ne peux pas venir à Paris, c'est ici sur le blog que je vous le dirai. Ne m'envoyez pas chacun un mail - s'il n'y a rien marqué sur le blog, c'est que j'ai réussi à venir à Paris.
Profitez de votre visite sur le blog pour suivre les liens fort intéressants que je vous propose :=)
John Mullen

Monday, November 05, 2007

All students - BBC Learning English | Home page

BBC Learning English Home page
This site is indispensable, and full of interesting and amusing ways of practising English.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

L1 The English civil war - youtube video

YouTube - Oliver Cromwell - Protestant

Click on this link to see a video on Youtube which is a very very good introduction to Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War. Notice how in this film Oliver Cromwell is shocked by the harsh treatment of peasants by Lords who are taking over the common land, by the changes in the church ordered by William Laud (more gold and statues in the church) and by the fact that the King refuses to call parliament.

The film is melodramatic and NOT strictly historical, but it is useful and interesting revision. It lasts around ten minutes. The video is an extract from a popular film about Cromwell.

L2 Gracie Fields 'Sing As We Go!' final scene

YouTube - Gracie Fields 'Sing As We Go!' final scene
This youtube video shows the final film of one of the most popular musical films of the war.
The final song becomes a very popular morale-boosting song.

L2 songs and photos from world war two

YouTube - We'll Meet Again Vera Lynn

This youtube video plays one of the sentimental hits of the second world war.

NB Youtube may not play on the computers of the University Network

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

L2 British Education

Continuing the education debate Special Reports EducationGuardian.co.uk

In 1991 James Callaghan gave a speech about what he thought were the most important questions facing education in Britain. The speech had an important effect. Much later he wrote about it in this article (follow link)

Monday, October 29, 2007

L2 Trade Unions in the Second world war

Trade Union Movement in Britain

Trade Union Movement in Britain

World War II and its Aftermath

World War II saw a major growth in the strength and status of the trade unions. As in World War I, Labour joined the government within less than a year. Churchill, when forming his government in May 1940, appointed Ernest Bevin, the most powerful trade union figure of the time, as Minister of Labour. Labour nominees became a norm on national and local committees and by 1941 according to the TUC it was “engaged in almost daily consultation” with government.

While strikes and lock-outs were prohibited under Order 1305, Bevin defended the continuance of normal collective bargaining. However, unlike in World War I, this was combined with a policy of price subsidies for items in the cost of living index and rationing, thereby avoiding soaring inflation. These policies avoided the scale of industrial unrest of World War I and the degree of alienation in some sectors that had existed between union leaderships and rank and file activists. Nevertheless, there were unofficial strikes in coal mines and elsewhere, which reached a peak in 1943. Perhaps the most notable dispute was in 1941 at the Betteshanger colliery in Kent over payments for working difficult coal faces, when summonses were issued against all 1,050 underground workers. As with the South Wales miners in 1915, the government in the end avoided imprisoning these defiant miners.

During World War II control of manpower and of the main war production was greatly facilitated by the Essential Work Orders made from March 1941. By these Orders experienced labour could be held in priority work and—as in the controlled establishments of World War I—best practices were adopted in order to maximize output. These included guaranteed minimum wages, a major innovation in such sectors as building, the docks, and the merchant navy, where employers usually relied heavily on casual labour.

Trade union membership went up, in spite of the large numbers of men in the armed forces (4.7 million in June 1945) and women in the Women’s Auxiliary Services (467,500 at its peak in December 1943). In 1943 trade union membership totalled 8.6 million—a density of 43 per cent—with female membership at 1,886,000—a density of 29.9 per cent—making 23.5 per cent of the total.

After the end of the war conditions remained good for trade union growth. The Labour Party formed a majority government under Clement Attlee, with Bevin as Foreign Secretary. The TUC worked closely with the government, assisting it in reconstructing the economy, backing both the drive for greater productivity and the 1948 policy of wage restraint. The trade unions were especially pleased with the government’s nationalization programme, the National Health Service, and other social reforms, and the repeal of the Trades Disputes and Trade Union Act, 1927.

Labour governments took a firm line against strikes and the level of strikes was relatively low. However, between 1947 and 1950 there were four major unofficial strikes in the London docks. Of 14.3 million days lost in industrial disputes between 1945 and 1951, 2.9 million were in the docks and 4 million in the much larger coal-mining industry. By 1950 British trade union membership totalled 9.3 million—a density of 44.7 million—of which 1.8 million were female—a density of 24.7 per cent—being 18.9 per cent of the total.

Contributed By:Christopher John Wrigley, B.A., Ph.D., Litt. D
"Trade Union Movement in Britain," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007http://uk.encarta.msn.com © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
© 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

L2 War posters 1939-1945

WW2 Online Catalog: Britain & CW War Posters

In Britain everyone was mobilized for the war. This required a huge effort in propaganda, and posters were an important part, along with radio, cinema and popular song. On this site you will find a number of posters encouraging people

-to join the army
- to keep military information secret
- to lend money to the government for the war


Sunday, October 28, 2007

L2 - video Normandy landings in full swing during World War 2

YouTube - Normandy landings in full swing during World War 2

The 1944 landings in Normandy were one of the key moments of World war Two. This link takes you to a short film on them. How can you tell this is an official film?

L1 James the first on Tobacco

We know that James the first wrote a book about the monarchy, and worked hard to try to persuade his subjects that he was King because God had decided. He had to work much harder at this than previous Kings...

But he also wrote about other subjects. This is the beginning of a book he wrote against the use of tobacco, which at the time was a new fashion.


That the manifolde abuses of this vile custome of Tobacco taking, may the better be espied, it is fit, that first you enter into consideration both of the first originall thereof, and likewise of the reasons of the first entry thereof into this Countrey. For certainely as such customes, that haue their first institution either from a godly, necessary, or honorable ground, and are first brought in, by the meanes of some worthy, vertuous, and great Personage, are euer, and most iustly, holden in great and reuerent estimation and account, by all wise, vertuous, and temperate spirits: So should it by the contrary, iustly bring a great disgrace into that sort of customes, which hauing their originall from base corruption and barbarity, doe in like sort, make their first entry into a Countrey, by an inconsiderate and childish affectation of Noueltie, as is the true case of the first inuention of Tobacco taking, and of the first entry thereof among vs. For Tobacco being a common herbe, which (though vnder diuers names) growes almost euerywhere, was first found out by some of the barbarous Indians, to be a Preseruative, or Antidot against the Pockes, a filthy disease, whereunto these barbarous people are (as all men know) very much subiect, what through the vncleanly and adust constitution of their bodies, and what through the intemperate heate of their Climate: so that as from them was first brought into Christendome, that most detestable disease, so from them likewise was brought this vse of Tobacco, as a stinking and vnsauorie Antidot, for so corrupted and execrable a Maladie, the stinking Suffumigation whereof they yet vse against that disease, making so one canker or venime to eate out another.

And now good Countrey men let vs (I pray you) consider, what honour or policie can mooue vs to imitate the barbarous and beastly maners of the wilde, godlesse, and slauish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custome? Shall wee disdaine to imitate the maners of our neighbour France (hauing the stile of the first Christian Kingdom) and that cannot endure the spirit of the Spaniards (their King being now comparable in largenes of Dominions to the great Emperor of Turkie). Shall wee, I say, that haue bene so long ciuill and wealthy in Peace, famous and inuincible in Warre, fortunate in both, we that haue bene euer able to aide any of our neighbours (but neuer deafed any of their eares with any of our supplications for assistance) shall we, I say, without blushing, abase our selues so farre, as to imitate these beastly Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, refuse to the world, and as yet aliens from the holy Couenant of God? Why doe we not as well imitate them in walking naked as they doe? in preferring glasses, feathers, and such toyes, to golde and precious stones, as they do? yea why do we not denie God and adore the Deuill, as they doe?[A]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

L2 1936 The Spanish Civil War

YouTube - Si me Quieres Escribir
In 1936 several hundred English supporters of the Spanish Republic went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil - including some famous ones such as George Orwell and John Cornford.

George Orwell wrote a book "Homage to Catalonia" about his experiences.
Much more recently, Ken Loach made a film about the story of a man from Liverpool who went to Spain to fight. The film is called "Land and Freedom". This link takes you to a short extract on Youtube.

NB Youtube may not be accessible from computer son the university campus.

L2 1931 - Ramsay MacDonald appeals for support

YouTube - Ramsay MacDonald appeals for support

The 1930s saw one of the deepest political crises in British history. Ramsay Macdonald, the Labour Prime Minister, decides to set up a National Government which will be made up of a majority of Conservative MPs. As a result, Macdonald is expelled from the Labour party, and is still often considered in the Labour party as a traitor, despite his long history of leadership in the party previously. On this video on Youtube you can see Macdonald appealing for support in the election.
Notice that this film would have been shown in cinemas. Also notice that the style of political broadcasts is very different from what it is today.

NB Youtube may be inaccessible from computers in the university.

L1 Thirty-Nine Articles - Wikipedia

Thirty-Nine Articles - Wikipedia

This article gives a good summary of the different laws in the sixteenth century defining what religion must be in England. You will see that Elizabeth's 39 articles are a new compromise, at the end of a long process.
Elizabeth will continue to oppose, and occasionally execute, Catholics on the one hand, and dissident protestants on the other, but her compromise will last a long long time.

L1 Elizabeth I of England - Wikipedia

Elizabeth I of England - Wikipedia

A number of students missed last week's class because of the transport strikes.
Make sure you read the section in your textbook about the Elizabethan period.
the wikipedia article on Elizabeth (see link) is useful for its section on the religious changes which took place.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Classic British comedy - Two Ronnies: Opticians

YouTube - Two Ronnies: Opticians

This link takes you to one of the most famous sketches of "The Two Ronnies" a classic 1970s comedy duo.

L2 Back to the first world war - The Accrington Pals

The Accrington Pals
This is a commemorative website for the dead of the First world war from a small but very important town, Accrington (it's my home town!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

L1 - The Reformation in Scotland - John Knox

John Knox

This site gives a short description of the life of one of the most important leaders of the protestant reformation in Scotland.

L2 1924 Conservative Party Manifesto - CONSERVATIVEMANIFESTO.COM

1924 Conservative Party Manifesto -
And here is the Conservative manifesto for the same election.
The difficulty with manifestoes is that they are adressed to the people who do not always vote for the party in question - it is not necessary to convince those who always vote for your party. This means that a Conservative manifesto can often underline the "less-conservative" elements of its programme, and a Labour manifesto can often underline the "more conservative" elements of its programme.

Notice the central importance given in the Conservative manifesto to the British Empire.

L2 Civilisation 1924 Labour Party Manifesto -

1924 Labour Party Manifesto -

This link takes you to the manifesto published by the Labour Party in 1924, for the second election of that year. Manifestoes are polemical and rhetorical documents, aimed at convincing voters, and are obviously not intended to be neutral or completely objective. Notice what the manifesto says about two key issues
- Russia (the Conservatives were opposed to relations with Bolshevik Russia)
- Housing ("Homes fit for heroes" had been one of the promises of the Liberal Lloyd George.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

L1 Elizabethan England

Elizabethan England

This site, produced by American High School students, gives an interesting introduction to some aspects of Elizabethan society, such as popular entertainment, and torture!

L2 The 1926 General Strike

The Union Makes Us Strong: TUC History Online

This site gives documents, photos and cartoons form the 1926 General Strike. It is a section of the trade union history site of the TUC.