Almost a year ago the government announced the setting up of a commission chaired by Dame Frances Cairncross to examine the future of local journalism. It reported earlier this month. Its purpose was to look into the sustainability of high-quality journalism, and threats to journalism, brought about by technological change and consumer behaviour. (See my blog ‘The Cairncross Review – can it reverse the decline of local and regional press?’ 8 July 2018 at : http://thespark.me.uk/?p=1019 )
For almost as long as I can remember I have been a supporter of Plymouth Argyle FC popularly known as ‘The Pilgrims’ and as the football season has just come to an end, it’s time for reflection. Why Plymouth you may ask? Well it dates back to my childhood. My father was born in Newton Abbot in Devonshire, some 30 miles from Plymouth. His father was a carpenter working in the dockyards in the city, and despite two other Devonshire teams, Exeter and Torquay (which were a lot nearer) we always followed the fortunes of Argyle. From memory Plymouth was usually regarded as the top team in the County and rivalry between the three clubs was legendary especially between the two cities. I’m not quite in that league, being an outsider and I’ve always had a soft spot for the other two Devonshire clubs, but my first loyalty was and is to ‘The Pilgrims’.
How come Sam Woods, a former hewer (miner) from Wigan and a complete outsider managed to win the Tory seat of Walthamstow at a by-election in 1897, for the small group of working class MPs known as Lib-Labs who represented working class and labour interests, but were politically Liberals? I found the answer in an article written by John Shepherd, a principal Lecturer at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology in the 1987 edition of the Essex Journal.