Dear Frank & Jenny,
Aidan White has become general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists. I bet you didn't expect to hear that name again. The ex Stratford Express sub (when he wasn't striking) beat former general secretary of the Australian Journalists' Association (whatever that might be) Neil Swancott. I haven't seen Aidan for two or three years but the last I heard he'd quit the SWP and joined the Labour Party.
Talking of the Labour Party, which I do quite a lot I'm afraid, I'm now chairman of the Planning Committee at Waltham Forest Council. I only got the job because I happened to be in Torquay (happy Torquay, Torquay, happy talk. Talk about things you like to do. . . ) when the Labour Group met. If I'd been there I'm sure I would have said something stupid and ensured that I didn't get the job.
London is warm and sunny at present and has been for about six days but June was generally a washout. The pubs are all crowded in the evenings but there is a definite feeling of uncertainty about.
It is hard to explain what is meant by "a feeling of uncertainty" but perhaps you would understand if I said that today patriotism is like an accusation made against someone for not being hard working enough. The type of people who used to glory in being patriotic now merely use patriotism (or the lack of it) as a slur against the rest of us. Perhaps I can't explain. Perhaps I'm just a whinging pom. Anyway people have begun to talk about going to Australia again. I know a couple of journalists called David and Nicola Cusworth who want to move out. They're thinking of taking a holiday in Oz before settling Have you any suggestions---- apart from don't?
Did you ever go to the Sun in Lambs Conduit St? Anyway the Sun has an enormous range of beer but I went there a few days ago and would you believe there was a stripagram girl performing in one corner. I couldn't see much of what was going on because of the crowd around her. In any case we were waiting for our beer (which was served in plastic cups). Such things did not happen in the days when CAMRA was first formed. Talking of which the Solid Fuel Advisory Service now sponsors the Good Beer Guide so I get to go to their press conference. And yes CAMRA can organise a piss up in a brewery---- or more usually a rather nice pub! And on the same theme have you heard that the pubs are to be allowed to open non stop from 11 a. m. to 11 p. m. every day except Sundays!
The newspaper scene gets grimmer all the time. The new left wing Sunday (News on Sunday) appears to be on the point of closing and one of the other new launches, the Social Democratic paper called Today has been bought by Murdoch. He now owns The Sun, News of the World, The Times & The Sunday Times as well as Toady as the paper is now being called in view of the fact that given Murdoch's line in every other British paper the new Today is bound to lose its Social Democrat convictions and start toadying to the Government.
In Australia, I understand, Murdoch supports the Labour Government. I can't imagine why. Perhaps since he lost his Oz nationality he feels vulnerable over there?
Anyway I continue to work and play a fairly minor rote in the union but in truth my main occupation is working for the council and all these funny bodies that were set up when the GLC was abolished.
Chris Hill came by quite recently and seems to be prosperous --------can you believe that? He now has a part time job working for the youth service and also two quite well paid jobs working as a piano player in a couple of London pubs.
The kids get older, we're still in debt, we still drink too much. What else is there to say?
I must have. told you, that John Williams is a Waltham Forest Councillor now. In fact we have about ten Alliance councillors in Waltham Forest and John even stood as parliamentary candidate against Norman Tebbit in Chingford. He lost by a mile, of course, but so did most of the Liberals who stood this time. It was not a good year for them.
Next month we're going on holiday to Guernsey so I will send you a postcard.
Clare is well and so are the kids. In fact at the moment they're out in the garden playing in the paddling pool. Anyway drop us a line some time. See you.