The Next Ride: Wednesday 2 January 2019

18 December 2018


Meet by the Palace Pier at 10 30 a m – or along the route at e g Maroccos. Only about 9 miles, (there and back) – plus from home to the Pier of course. I hope to be there on the bike – but please don’t wait for me!

Do check your emails on New Years Day after 5 pm – just in case


The Last Ride: Sunday 9 December – Polegate Circular

18 December 2018

Tess and Sikka led Angela, Richard (your humble reporter) and Chris (gilets jaunes tous) on the Polegate Circular, a splendid and particularly well- organised  spin maximising the benefit from the few available daylight hours.

On a pleasantly mild sunny day Olive’s Kitchen at Lime Cross Nursery was the lunch venue (vegan menu options I understand) and y.h.r. believes that all were pleased with same.

During said lunch we also sorted and completely solved the Brexit situation. Long shadows were a feature of the ride as were high reeds in beds either side of the road, and I note the planning skill of the ride designers in terminating the ride just before sunset. I am told that I am not to mention the h***s word. I would observe that the ride, being circular, was completely gradient-neutral



18 December 2018

Dear All

Anyone want to take on either of the other January rides 13 or 27? I’ve had no offers to date.

As I mentioned last time I’m still hoping to be able to do the New Year ride. Last weekend my knee got really awful and I could hardly walk but last Monday I was given a steroid injection which does seem to have improved things . The problem is that if I’m not going to be liability to everyone else I need to have a practice – even for such a short ride – first and I’ve been told not to do anything energetic (like getting on my bike!) for a week or so to allow the injection to work. But in any case as I said last time I’ll be there even if I have to come in the car rather than on the bike.

I’ll send out a reminder about 2nd January between Christmas and New Year and should the weather forecast be absolutely awful we can move the ride to 3rd January.

Angela (D) and Wendy were hoping to include details of their Twelfth Night ride in this newsletter but Angela has been stricken with a very nasty bug (they always aim to attack you at Christmas or the day before you go on holiday) So they’re going to do it as a ‘pop up’ ride and will be letting us know the details in due course.

B&H Clarion Christmas Lunch: 14 December 2018  – Joyce reports

So we all met at the Hummingbird restaurant at Shoreham Airport – a wonderful get together of Clarion friends- according to my list 18 of us turned up for what was an excellent meal. According to tradition a list of names is required , but sorry – won’t add surnames, list just too long , and we know each other from way back, (and I won’t add food choices either), so here goes not in any particular order :-

Ian – Sue – David – Terri – Suzanne – Roger – Ann – Mick – Richard – Alan – Marilyn – Sikka – Jim – Sally – Fred – Angela – Leon – Joyce.

Clarion Xmas lunch 2018

It was great to see so many Clarion friends, especially for those including me and Leon who have not been able to get to ride for some time. We did all raise an imaginary glass to Julian who has not been able to be with us for some time. If you are reading this Julian – we look forward to that day and send our warmest wishes.

We all had a great time with our paper hats and poppers and of course our usual pub lunch conversations in full swing. The food was agreed to be excellent ( I checked …) . It was warm and comfortable on a freezing day and I therefore have to salute those who braved the cold – Sikka and Marilyn who rode from Brighton and back – Sally and Jim who did the same – Fred who got a lift there but rode back to Brighton after having picked up his bike [I only rode to the station… Fred]. Suzanne and Roger who, having tried the bus had a long long walk and arrived frozen. There may have been others, so sorry if any were left out – let us know.

Clarion Xmas lunch 2018

Herewith a special thanks to Ian and Sue for our lift – it was good to see them, and here’s hoping Ian will be back in the saddle leading us soon for a New Year.

Clarion Xmas lunch 2018

A really lovely festive time had by all – thank you Angela for taking on the organisation of our Clarion Christmas lunch.


National Clarion Subs
Important If you’re paying by bank transfer please let Jim know at so that he knows who has paid this way.

Normally, Clarion subs for the year include two elements, the national fee and a local one.  We have suspended our local sub for the last few years and did so for 2019 at the last AGM.   So the total we need to pay is £12.  This covers not only national membership but also third-party insurance without which no-one should risk going out on a bike.  At £1 a month this is a real bargain.

In recent years this has been done via a PayPal account. We have been having problems with this account. We have also realised that PayPal charges us fees.  For these reasons, we have decided this year to collect subscriptions using the old fashioned method, using our equally old fashioned Co-op bank account.

Jim has kindly volunteered to act as treasurer while Julian is recovering, so if you would like to join or renew your membership please do one of the following, before the end of the year:

Send or give to Jim a cheque or cash
– cheques payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club
– Jim’s postal address is Jim Grozier, 92a Springfield Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6DE
– In case of queries Jim’s number is 01273-505550
Or, make an online bank transfer to our Co-op bank account:  (details in the newsletter), using your own name as the reference.

In due course, Jim will pass on the subscriptions received to the National Clarion and you will receive a membership card, as usual.

Clarion History
I was intending to write an episode of my Clarion History dealing with the events leading up to the Clarion referendum – but after If started it quickly became clear it was becoming a bit too long. So Part 1 this time and Part 2 in the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Clarion History 15: ‘Socialist Unity’ and the Clarion Referendum – Part 1

18 December 2018

As mentioned in earlier episodes of this history, the Clarion had played its part in the birth of the Independent Labour Party in 1893. For the more purist socialists the very name of the ILP indicated a failure to take a more definite stance – what on earth did ‘independent Labour’ mean in terms of a programme and a vision of a better future?

But, on the other hand – especially after the failures at the 1895 election which was the subject of the last episode in the previous newsletter – what was the point of having two socialist parties – or in the ILP’s case at least a more-or-less socialist party? The SDF – the Social-Democratic Federation – had been established in the early 1880s. Would not the best thing be for the SDF and the ILP to merge and form a united socialist party?

Certainly, that’s what Blatchford thought. He urged Clarion readers to join both organisations and work for unity in both. This would no doubt be seen as wicked infiltration or worse today but back in the late 19th century no one seems to have objected. More relaxed times. Well, until things got heated, as we shall soon see.

The Clarion saw itself as representing – particularly – those people it labelled as the ‘unattached.’ These were folk who would have joined a united party but were put off by the rivalry between the SDF and the ILP. No doubt division did put off some – it always does. But the Clarion almost certainly had – let’s say – an over-optimistic assessment of how many there were of such people ‘ But there were certainly pressures for ‘socialist unity’ which led in 1897 to the setting up of an informal committee of well-known members of both parties.

This debated the best way forward. Should that be the ‘fusion’ of the ILP and SDF? Or a looser ‘federation’ of the two organisations? The question was put to the memberships of both. 6,044 took part in the vote and only 886 rejected the recommendation of the committee to support ‘fusion’. The SDF regarded the decision as binding but this result did not go down well with the leadership of the ILP – particularly with Keir Hardie.

Hardie by this time was in the habit of using his paper Labour Leader to urge ILP members not to tie down delegates to the ILP annual conference too much. Or as his ILP opponents including those around the Clarion saw it, he just wanted the membership to go along with whatever the leadership said.

Just before the 1898 conference he repeated this tactic. He interpreted the overwhelming support for ‘fusion’ among ILPers to the erroneous belief that this was what the leadership of the party wanted. They didn’t! The conference decided to refer the pro-fusion decision back to the ILP membership with the almost impossible to achieve proviso that a majority of at least three quarters of ‘financial members’ (i.e. those who had actually paid their subs!) would be needed for any proposal that involved ‘the dissolution of the ILP’.

The ILP vote produced a very different result from the earlier joint members’ referendum. Only 1,695 ILPers now supported ‘fusion’ while 2,397 favoured the ILP’s leadership alternative of ‘federation. So it was now the turn of the SDF to get stroppy. Incensed at what it saw – and said so loudly – as Hardie’s duplicity the SDF insisted on standing by the earlier – joint – vote in favour of ‘fusion’ and rejected any federal link

It looked as though the devious Hardie had triumphed – but Blatchford and the Clarion were not at all happy with this. Hostility increased on all sides and became very personal. When Justice, the SDF paper, and the Clarion attacked Hardie’s friend Frank Smith centred on issues arising from his candidature for the new LCC Hardie called them liars. Not to be outdone in the personal vilification stakes Blatchford who, as I’ve mentioned before, disliked Hardie (it was mutual) responded by telling Clarion readers that the ILP leader was ‘an obstacle to the progress of the Labour movement…universally disliked outside the ranks of his own party.’ Hardie he went on, made reckless assertions, sinned against ‘good taste’ and persistently played to the gallery. The ILP, Blatchford urged, should adopt the referendum and initiative and practise it as the decision-making process in the organisation. It should also ‘make it a law’ that no office in the party should be held for more than a year. This of course was aimed primarily at Hardie. By this time the Clarion supported outcry against the notion that the ILP should have a ‘president’ had got that replaced by ‘chairman’ – but whichever it was called it was still Keir Hardie.

And following this diatribe Blatchford, in a rather more positive and less personal way, went on to support the proposal of Alex Thompson (aka ‘Dangle’) that ‘a plain manifesto of the aims of British Socialism’ should be drawn up and submitted to the vote of members of all socialist organisations.

And it is to this – the Clarion Referendum – that we will return in the New Year


Next Time: ‘Socialist Unity’ and the Clarion Referendum Part 2