"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday 3 February 2011

Robert Tressell

Today is the centenary of the death of Robert Tressell. 31 MPs have put down an Early Day Motion:

That this House notes the centenary of the death of Robert Noonan (Tressell) on 3 February 2011 interred in a pauper's grave in Walton, Liverpool; recognises the significance of his seminal work, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists within the wider Labour movement; and applauds both the work of the Robert Tressell Society and the commemorative programme of events organised by Liverpool City Council to appropriately recognise his historical and literary importance,

To see who signed this edm go to http://www.edms.org.uk/edms/2010-2011/1303.htm

Who was Robert Tressell?

Many of those on the Socialist spectrum of the political scene will revere Tressell. Many others - including Socialists -will never have heard of him. I could just point you to the Tressell website [click on blog title above or go to: http://www.1066.net/tressell/ [with lovely music!]

I have 'lived with him' since I was a child. He was a kind of bard 'oft quoted' in the Socialist household in which I was raised. As soon as I was old enough I read the book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and cried a lot and thanked goodness and the Socialist movement that such times as described would never return. I made pilgrimages later in life to Hastings ['Mugsborough' of the novel] to see his fabulous art work - firstly in the basement of the Town Museum and then later in the [proper] displays dedicated to him when at last Hastings honoured and realised what a great man it had not looked after all those years before and had tried to forget for many years after.

As this coalition government seems intent on punishing the poor for being poor, this book should be read again, or listened to on audio tape, as an awful warning from History. What it was like to live before the Welfare State. Before even a most basic Old Age Pension. The comedian Johnny Vegas was responsible for an excellent production of this a couple of years ago on the BBC and the audio tape can be bought. I wrote a 'summer reading' blog on this last May and make no apology for republishing it here.

The book is recommended by people as diverse [and lovely!] as Ricky Tomlinson and the MP Stephen Twigg. It was been chosen as his book for a Desert Island on 'Desert Island Discs' by Johnny Vegas.

It is *not* a great work of literature but it is never the less a seminal work. So I will cross-post this on the Clarice page at www.villiersroad,blogspot.com

25th May 2010 http://rephidimstreet.blogspot.com/2010/05/ragged-trousered-philanthropists.html
Have decided to become dictatorial and recommend summer reading on facebook, twitter, various blogs by other people and here on my own: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell http://amzn.to/dBjzQD Many 'Old Labour' party members claim it changed their lives/caused them to become Socialists. I worry that the Condem government policies may see a return to many of the problems highlighted in this novel, albeit in a more 'modern' form {OK so we may not have workhouses anymore but some form of state interference may cause pensioners to lose all that they have saved before any State help becomes available}

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