Saturday, 27 August 2016


I first took statistical stock in June, two months ago. Now I return to the counting beads and draw some fresh conclusions.

I am delighted to report a turn-around in the fortunes of the political blogs. In June, I wrote 'the explicit political blogs are very much at the bottom of  the viewing charts'. No longer so. I have produced five political blogs over these last eight weeks, the first being 'Jeremy Corbyn -  the People's Champion - AKA the Political and Media Elite's Nightmare'. That blog now stands at 43 views. My second - 'Labour leadership contest becomes 2020 Election campaign ' - has reached 56 views. And then I tried an experiment and blogged on three consecutive days to communicate all ten of Jeremy Corbyn's pledges for the 2020 Election campaign that he has flagged up in his present leadership contest with Owen 'the Opportunist' Smith. Part 1 stands at 42 views; Part 2 at 43 and Part 3 at 35.

My own news about the publication of  'The Road to Corbyn' and the economics of self-publishing - my last blog - now has 35 views too.

Penzance demo - April 2016 - political activism in Cornwall

My only other blog during these two months has been a running blog entitled 'Running to rediscover the portals of Oxford' and that has pulled in a respectable 44 views.

And what of the others that had already been published? Do any of those still pull in the viewers?

Saturday, 20 August 2016


Last Tuesday, my publisher in Leicester - Matador/ Troubador - took delivery of 700 copies of 'The Road to Corbyn'. 300 copies were delivered the next day to my address in St Ives. My hunch is that readers of this blog may well be interested in the detail of the cost of such a self-publishing venture. Here are some of the key features:

The initial quotation for the services I opted for - almost the full range available at that stage - was around £4,500. For that sum, I got the maximum of marketing and media support, proof reading and copy editing (these last two together cost around £700 with VAT and are absolutely essential), and other key services, including e-book format - and a print-run of 500 copies. If you have the money to spare - and I did only because of my father-in-law's legacy - and you want to savour the experience of being published - and you believe you have something worthwhile to share with a wider audience - then this kind of project becomes, as they say these days, a no-brainer.

My name on the published spine - at last

That initial quotation came back at the end of January this year. Since then, I have opted for an embossed cover to increase the 'feel-good' factor for the customer in the bookshop. That added over £900 to the cost. And there have been other pre-publication marketing initiatives I've purchased. Finally I made the decision to go for a print-run of 1000 copies. The cost to me for this venture stands now at £6,700.

Let's call it £7,000. I need to make £7 from each copy sold to break even, to recover my costs. But

Friday, 12 August 2016


And so the last three pledges ... I hope you are as energised and hopeful as I am by envisaging this future for all the people of this nation. But I know there will be doubters. There is a gifted columnist who writes a regular weekly piece in 'The Cornishman' - Old Mike is his moniker. His is a voice of sanity and I've had letters published in that newspaper singing his praises. But he doesn't yet get the Corbyn phenomenon - or at least he's still only half-way there. This week he wrote:

'Many of his ideas are right on the button - a massive increase in social housing, an end to  privatisation, investment in our infrastructure, a drastic rein on the greed of the already rich ...

Anna Gillett addresses the crowds at Heartlands - she spoke of the plight of tenants in an under-regulated rental market 

So far, so good. But then comes the gut dismissal that betrays the prejudices and irrationalities and fears that shape the mainstream media and political establishment position on the leader of the Labour Party and his values - and crucially the half-million people, to date, who share those values. This movement is so much bigger than one man.

'But Jeremy Corbyn has nothing to offer Cornwall ... good words, but there's no detail of how to do it or where the money would come from.'

You could not be more wrong, Old Mike. See the detail about the National Investment Bank, read

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Three pledges examined yesterday, four more today.

We Pledge:

A secure National Health and Social Care Service 

We will end the neoliberal ideologically-driven privatisation and bring services into a secure publicly-provided NHS. We will integrate the NHS and social care for older and disabled people. Dignity will be a premium value. We will  ensure parity for mental health services.

In short, there will be a decent and proper framework for a healthy nation based on need and prevention and not, in any shape or form, profit.

Banner headlines at Heartlands - the Corbyn rally last Saturday in Cornwall - (all pictures from the 'West Briton') 

We Pledge:

A free National Educational Service, an NES, open to all throughout their lives

We will create universal public childcare to give all children a good start in life, allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities and removing barriers for those women who want to participate in the labour market. We will restore free education for all. We will guarantee quality apprenticeships and adult skills training.

In short, there will be a service that recognises the needs and rights of the people to enjoy learning

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


This blog is designed as a thoughtful response - in three parts - to the 10 Pledges that Jeremy Corbyn and his team have drawn up as a central part of the leadership campaign that has been forced upon them by the attempted coup against JC within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). In a smart and admirable political move, Jeremy and his team have turned the leadership challenge to advantage - these 10 Pledges serve as a strong statement outlining the policies that will underpin the 2020 general election campaign or any earlier general election that the new prime minister, Theresa May, may call.

I listened to the disputed leader of the Labour Party, in person, speaking at a rally in the Heartlands Mining Heritage site in Pool, Cornwall, on Saturday afternoon. He was my kind of leader - articulate, caring, well-informed, convincing, honest, inspirational, kind ... What else would anyone want? He highlighted several of these ten pledges in his  address. I want to cover three in this blog; four in the next; and three in the last in the series. But before I look at these promises I'd just like quickly to

Jeremy Corbyn at Heartlands in Cornwall last Saturday - (all photos from the 'West Briton') 

sketch the contributions of some of the earlier speakers at the rally last Saturday who described their experiences in living in a state diminished by the application of neoliberalism  ...

The mother on housing benefit who described the reality of being at the mercy of landlords in an under-regulated  rental market that offers little security to the tenant ... the distress of her children who never know when the roof over their head is going to change its shape yet again, or which school they will move to ... the frustration of the disabled man in a wheelchair who is told by the woman at the job centre that it will probably be best if he omits the fact he is a wheelchair user when writing an application - and is later told by the same official that she understands what it must be like to be disabled because her brother is disabled too ... the inspirational primary school teacher of ten years service who rages against the conformity and inanity of a curriculum that has become distorted by the meaningless demand for testing and evaluation ...

And then Jeremy. The crowd of around 4,000 - spanning the generations - were uplifted. We had a glimpse of a better future. A socialist vision.

We Pledge:         An economy that works for all

We will create a million good quality jobs across our regions and nations and guarantee a decent job for all.


By investing £500 billion in infrastructure, manufacturing and new industries backed by a publicly-owned National Investment Bank and regional banks.

Where will the money come from? Running a national economy is not the same as planning a household budget. Quantitative Easing (QE) - creating new money - has been a key element in both Tory and Labour government responses to managing an economy in crisis. It can and will continue to be so. Redistribution of income but even more importantly redistribution of wealth will be a critical means to make the economy healthier and society fairer and more just.

Heartlands, Pool, Cornwall - Saturday afternoon 6 August 2016 - the people gather

We Pledge: Secure homes for all 

We will build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through a public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of  private tenants' rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.

Where there is the political will, there is always a way. Remember the Labour government's achievements between 1945 and 1951 in war-torn Britain ...

We Pledge: Security at work

We will give people stronger employment rights from day one in a job, end the exploitation of zero-hour contracts and create new collective bargaining rights, including mandatory collective bargaining for companies with 250 or more employees. We will create new employment and trade union rights to bring better security to the workplace and win better pay and conditions for everyone. We will act against the undercutting of pay and conditions through the exploitation of migrant labour.

Early seats at the rally for Jeremy Corbyn and all the people - 6 August 2016

This is government for the people, by the people - and in the interests of the people. Democracy in a word. Who wouldn't want to vote for such policies?  Corbyn and his policies, unelectable? His enemies - our enemies - are running scared.