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Indexing the family archives in Pembroke
A Welsh Window
Thalia on BBC4 Making History
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My media performances are few and far between and often censored/ cancelled at the last minute!! I've been four times on Womans Hour and four times cancelled at the last moment (we've been told not to have you on) by whom?
One time a TV interview as part of a serious programme my contribution and a woman friend's were dubbed over with music.
I've been on Mid Week, on Esther Ransome with Hamish. Is your mother a fanatic?, Today a few times, a big row with David Davies a conservative AM, a few cooking programmes I brought in politics into cooking!!. Joined in Any Questions a few times as Gertrude used to do.
Went on Sky TV news once - Made up, hair done etc. I said to the make up girl ' its the first time I''ve worn make up since the 1950's'. The live bit was OK but the recorded bit was Edited !! All the parts I was really proud of taken out.
One occassion was very interesting I got through to the programme, They asked where I lived. I felt they were looking at a list and when I said Pembroke they allowed my contribution!!! We had just moved from Borth. I had the feeling if I had said Borth I would not have got on!!!!I
Its hard having an unusual name!
Sexism has certainly cut me to size, and being political too.
"They clip her wings and then complain she cannot fly" Thalia
The first Labour Party womens sections were formed when men would not allow deabate on womens issues, contraception, childbirth, womens property rights, divorce equal rights,equal pay, and equal representation.
In Arts for Labour, at their first fringe meeting at conference and we asked Dora Rusell to speak, she had been a delegate at the first conference and based her talk about the agenda then and the agenda now, all the items on the first agenda were on the agenda fifty years later. So we thought about it and studied conference, the womens debates were always scheduled for Thursday afternoon, over the years the unions held more and more of their boozy lunches for their delegates over Thursday lunchtime and continued all afternoon. All their delegates invited MP's and candidates were out of their seats. The floor plans were in sections and the seats numbered so I photographed the union and the Mp's section at intervals throughout the afternoon. At that time to change party policy a majority on a card vote was needed so if the resolution was non controversial a vote was taken by show of hands for it to become binding when the vote was called someone had to call for a card vote, this was put to the vote by a show of hands if passed was granted so far so good democracy and good will.
But each union nominated one delegate, sometimes a woman, to hold all the union block votes and to cast them all against the resolution which then fell or a canny woman could move that it be left on the table and it would be considered under any other business at the next NEC meeting.
We tried to get women to sit on the floor and block the aisles to stop the delegates leaving but they did not want to create a scene.
So with a numbered floor plan and the photographs we wrote to all the union general secreataries telling them that unless they changed we would send copies to their women members very few of whom were ever sent as union delegates to conference even though some unions had a majority of women members. The next year the womens debates were spead out through the week Thursdays still were union pissups but they had to work very much harder to fuck them up. This took four years.
Then the BBC and ITV chose to interview prominent people to put their spin across about the public image, they always spoke over every woman speaker and never reported the vote.
So Thalia challenged Vivian White and Robin Day who both denied it and lied through their teeth, we wrote to the BBC who said we decide what the people want to hear.
I had an internal BBC telephone directory. I had been given it during the General Election so that I could use the library research department later Thatcher privatised it and each programme had to pay to use it, when the net arrived it was closed as the charges were so high.
I could use it if I announced myself as BBC Wales. So I telephoned the BBC asked for the extension made an enquiry and was asked if there was anything else so I asked to be put through to the producer in Blackpool, I announced myself as DG's office and told them to transmit all the debates that day uninterupted. Sir Robin Day went ballistic but obeyed, it took until the next day for them to find out that they had been had. Every year we telephoned and wrote to the BBC to demand that as part of their public service remit that they transmitted conference unmediated. They had numerous ways of not reporting some debates often those that were of interest to people outside the Labour Party so the media could set the agenda. This did not change until the Parliamentary Channel came along.
Under Mandelson the machine took charge and controlled who and when and they could who was and who was not interviewed. There were ways of being interviewed but if he found out the BBC did not transmit it, if they did he threatened to stop their access.
Ian & Thalia Campbell ©
Town repairs are off the wall, say conservationists
22 February 2007
Works on Pembroke town walls have been criticised by members of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW).
Concern by residents about the lack of maintenance on privately-owned sections of the walls led to a county council clearing programme along The Commons and north wall. Weeds, ivy and trees were removed so the council could assess the wall's condition and reach an agreement with property owners to begin repairs this summer.
The clean-up has met with support from many residents, but Ian and Thalia Campbell say it is causing more harm than good. Ian said: "The ivy should be sprayed and gently removed by hand when it is dead."
He said tearing roots out also removes mortar and makes the wall unsafe. "Parts of these walls have been here for 1,000 years," he said. "Imagine what a tourist attraction it would be anywhere else."
The CPRW hopes Pembroke will gain membership of the Society of Walled Towns as the almost complete medieval walls are a valuable historic monument. But the group fears inappropriate repairs may destroy what should be the town's crowning glory. Ian said: "Repairs done with cement are unacceptable. Water gets into the lime, expanding it and causing cracks. We need conservation solutions, not engineering solutions."
The pair do not oppose work on the wall, but insist it must be done properly. Thalia said: "When we found out how they were going about it, we went from thinking it was wonderful to thinking it was a nightmare."
The Campbells have a longstanding interest in history and archaeology and are particularly protective of Ian's home town. "We won't get everything back now," said Thalia. "But we don't want to lose any more."
Ian Campbell says the recent clearing of Pembroke town walls has removed mortar, causing cracks and making sections of the wall unsafe.
Read about Hamish's trip to Genoa and his involvement with the G8 Summit
WATCH THE VIDEO !!
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Swansea film maker records attack by Italian police
A Swansea video company succeeded in recording a brutal attack by Police on peaceful people. Today Hamish Campbell from Undercurrents productions showed his video images to a jury in one of the most controversial European court cases in recent times.
Hiding in a water tower 40 year old Mr Campbell filmed dozens of riot police raid a school where young people were sleeping. Due partly to his evidence, 75 people, including some of Italy's most senior police officers, are now on trial accused of taking part in an orgy of brutality against protesters during and after the demonstrations at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa.
BBC television broadcast the images recorded by Undercurrents and praised the cameraman's bravery. BBC reporter Bill Hayton stated today on BBC online -
'Hamish Campbell, from the anti-capitalist film-making group Undercurrents, filmed the whole raid as he hid behind a water tank on the roof of a nearby building - a very brave guy.'
Mr Campbell is among the first British witnesses to give evidence in the trial of Police who are alleged to have organised a raid on a school building where protesters slept, beating them up and planting evidence on them.
Candles for Hiroshima 2005
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 60 Years on by Thalia Campbell
The first time I was aware of the two Nuclear bombs being dropped on Japan was when as a child of eight my Grandmother wrote letters to the newspapers on her old typewriter in her bed sit in our large Victorian house in Torquay and probably also to Freddy Grisewood's 'Any Questions'. I only took her ancient Typewriter to the tip when we moved three years ago.
The Hiroshima bomb was Uranium and the Nagasaki bomb was Plutonium. There are still debates going on whether the second bomb was needed, or an American experiment to see the difference or to frighten the Russians who were about to invade the Far East.
In the 1950's as a student I read in the news papers and listened on the radio to reports of CND demonstrating against Nuclear weapons. I remember the 90 year old Bertrand Russell demonstrating in Trafalgar Square and going to prison and the Committee of One hundred demonstrating at Greenham Common in the 1960's being piled into removal vans by the police, positively charming and amateur to what happens now.
In the 1960's as a young family we were living in the shadow of the new nuclear plant being built at Hinckley Point. In amongst all the excitement of the new jobs coming to the area I don't think I was the only one who worried about the safety of my preschool children. We were thinking about buying an idyllic thatched cottage in the shadow of the growing Nuclear Plant but in the end glad to move away to Southampton.
With my teenage children in the late 1970's I once again found myself under threat from the nuclear industry when living in Corris N. Wales. The Government was planning four nuclear dumps in Wales. The plan near us was to fill the empty Slate Quarries with Nuclear waste, almost in our back garden. The whole Community was out in protest. Entire villages turned out to Public meetings, and took part in direct actions. Julie Christie took a leading role. When the English Government Scientists came to check out the nuclear dump sites, They were blockaded in their Bed and Breakfasts by local cars. When they went to ask for help from the local welsh police they were always too busy to sort out this difficulty. When the English scientists got up in the hills to do their job they were surrounded by Welsh farmers in their land rovers with their dogs and guns and could not do their work. Finally after 18 months of more direct action Michael Heseltine announced in Parliament that Wales was not a suitable place to dump Nuclear waste.
People at the other planned nuclear dump site were worried too and out of all this came Nuclear Free Wales where all Councils voted to be Nuclear free, AND the march to Greenham Common. Ann Pettitt in Carmarthenshire had been protesting against the dumping and when we won she had the idea of marching to Greenham to protest about the first strike Nuclear cruise missiles soon to arrive from the USA. That's a whole other story.
Hibuksha, victims of those two nuclear bombs on Japan came to Wales in the 1980s to tell us their story.
In the mid 1980s there was Chernobyl. Friends had a Geiger counter we were sharing to test our surrounds for radioactivity. We were in our garden at the time of Chernobyl using it and wondering about our high readings!!! There are still farms in Wales unable to sell their sheep now.
To commemorate 40 years since Hiroshima Justine Merritt a retired American teacher organized the US Peace Ribbon Project of tea towel sized art works depicting
"What I cannot bear to think of as lost for ever in a nuclear war" to be wrapped around the Pentagon. The project ended with Washington brought to a standstill with 17 miles of Ribbon pieces.
To day we are planning a new generation of Nuclear weapons whilst asking other countries to stop their nuclear ambitions.
For evil to Flourish all it needs is for good people to do nothing
Ribbon Table Cloth
Ribbon table cloth. I made this with Jo and Giles. students who were staying with us. It depicts the American ribbon of life swirling arond the Statue of Liberty and the House of Commons. All the names are of the people who supported and helped with the project to bring 150 pieces to show in the House of Commons Thalia
Banner making 1910
Thalia and Ian
making a banner
It is important that we acknowledge our art of social activism as an important historical record. Banners have been part of our activities for decades. Thalia Campbell, a banner maker and a founder of Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, was inspired on the initial march to Greenham to organize the creation of a banner from a sheet. After the women made the banner, it continued to be used as a bed, a shawl, a screen and a baby-changing place. Campbell integrates her political convictions and her artistic talent; she makes dozens of banners and encourages others to make them as well. At a recent workshop in Victoria, she showed slides of 100 years of UK Women's Banner Making," based on her years of searching through archives and attics to exhibit this neglected political art form. This record of unnamed women in co-operatives, suffragettes, suffragists, peace groups, international solidarity, miners' strikes and childhood sexual abuse movements is an inspiring testimony to social event largely ignored by mainstream historians. At her workshops, Campbell develops a collective process in which participants design their own banners. After her workshop I made my first banner - for Hiroshima Day. At our next banner making workshop we want to make a banner with the powerful words of U.S. novelist Alice Walker: Resistance is the Secret of Joy.
I met a descendent of Robert Southey when I did a banner workshop for Battersea Labour Party as well a an old Jamaican Grandfather (with his grandson) who came across after the war on the ship THE WINDRUSH. That banner work shop was an interesting experience for all kind of links....two proudcers for the BBC and ITV. John Farrell, Lord Alf Dubs and
other interesting people... Thalia
In the 1980s Coventry Gauge and Tool, later Matrix, with the scandal of the sale to the Iraqis denied by Mrs Thatcher two men were sent to prison and later released.
After Mrs Thatcher sold Coventry Gauge and Tool to the Iraqis. Ian and I went round the desolate asset stripped Factory. Ian's father had worked there and Ian too in his university holidays. We rescued the large Blue and white Flag which used to fly above the premises. Coventry Gauge and Tool were manufacturers of machine tools. In the 1950s /60s they had a research facility and manufactured mechanical gunnery predictors.They were robust and simple compared to electronic devices. In those days there were three Dining Facilities in the factory, one for Directors with a butler, another for White Collar Workers and then one for the rest . Thalia
Thalia at Pankhurst's statue Westminster
A postcard from Ian - Malta
Thalia D Campbell ©
Malta has problems when sending representatives to international bodies, because so few women take an active part in public life.
In the UK we have been through the entire cycle from no women, through token women, to the present, sidelined women.
After the Suffragettes women were used to organising separately, and were thus represented in the early Labour Party and trade unions. When they amalgamated with the men, womens voices were lost so they set up the womens sections in the Labour Party. Later on the Womens sections had the right to send resolutions to the National Conference which, if passed, became party policy.
At the 1981 Labour Party conference Dora Russell read out the resolutions of the first conference she had attended 50 years before, asking for the same rights. For years the womens debates were held on a Thursday afternoon and the unions used this time to hold their receptions piss ups leaving only one lonely delegate to hold the card to vote everything down.
We decided to change this and photographed the vacant numbered seats and wrote a letter to all the unions telling them we would send the photos to their women members. The Conference then timetabled the womens debates throughout the week, and the unions held their receptions in the evenings.
In the 1980s Labour Councils set up Womens Committees with real budgets. These recruited many women into active politics but Mrs Thatcher started and then Tony Blair continued to shut them down. Women also had the right to send resolutions to the Labour Conference taken away by Blair.
Neil Kinnock encouraged women by positive discrimination in the party by adopting women as of right on the short list for selection. The unions adopted a policy of proportional gender representation, the Party then had a policy of alternate and equal, so if a male delegate was sent, the next year it had to be a woman.
Womens voices were heard, it worked.
Blair took over the party machine and in the name of equality selected naïve biddable women, Blairs babes to replace his male opponents in the Party.
This went slightly wrong because he did not expect a landslide and some good women came through, even if these have been completely sidelined in Parliament and have not been seen or heard in government.
Blairs government has the largest number of women in Parliament ever, but is run by the laddish tendency, young men who discount women, men who see a womans agenda as irrelevant.
Women have more rights in the EU, but relatively few are in positions of power. With enlargement and the defeat of communism women are even more marginalised, heard but then ignored.
You do have active women in Malta and I can remember a Womans Day activity where there was a stall at City Gate, but most women hastened past with averted eyes.
I can even remember a Womens Day in Malta with a priest on the platform. In the UK no man would dare to presume to be prominent at such an event.
It would be wonderful to hear a woman speaker on the platform at the political rallies in Malta talking about the concerns of over half the electorate.
In the womens story since the Suffragettes men have never given power away, women have always had to fight for it.
Ian Campbell was born in 1936. During the 1983 General Election, he stood as Labour candidate for the Clwyd North West Constituency and in the 1984 European election, he was the Labour candidate for the North Wales constituency. Thalia D. Campbell, a banner-maker and teacher, was born in 1937. She was one of the founders of Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, at the US military base in Berkshire, England, which started in 1981 after a march from Wales of women peace activists. The original Camp on Greenham Common closed on the 5th September 2000 after 19 years of a continuous presence. Campbell integrates her political convictions and her artistic talents by searching through archives to exhibit the neglected political art form of making banners. Both are retired but actively involved in the Peace Movement and Marches, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Life on Earth, etc, and in commemorating the Peace March and Camp. They are also staunch conservationists, especially in their local area of Pembrokeshire.
I was asked by Hubert Morgan the Secretary of the Wales Labour Party if I would consider standing ascandidate in Clwyd North West, an amalgamated constituency with two CLPs joined toghether, neitherknew each other and had to reorganise in days.I was selected at a selection conference at the Trades andUnion Club in Rhyl weeks before the 1983 General Election. The meeting was about twenty people and Ifelt very welcome, and won on the first ballot.Anne Jones now an AM in the Wales Asembly became my election agent but was at her union conferencefor the first days of the campaign.Our offices were above the store of the Trades Club with a separate entrance one large room and a smallkitchen and lavatory. We all were in the same room which was good because I was always available to myhelpers but very difficult if I had write speeches or press releases. Each day a booklet of up to twenty pages arrived from the Labour Party with background information on the days theme set by central officeto try to lead the campaign. I had little contact with the Labour machine and sometimes felt very isolatedwhen faced with interviews by the press and live radio and television.We were given a holiday flat to retreat to and to sleep. Alf drove up in the A 35, with me in the Commerand hitchhiked back to Corris.Tom made a superb loudspeaker set, and I made tapes of music and announcements to use on other cars.We had one tape recorder, which did not have an automatic stop, if you left it running it burnt out, we didand it did. I remember the heartache and the discussions before we spent twenty pounds to replace it.We had a great band of helpers and never turned anyone away who wanted to help. We toured the streetsknocking on doors with a group of peoples with disabilities, all doing their best, I felt really well supported,and secure with such a large group to knock doors and deliver leaflets.Each night before closing I was given the microphone at the Labour Club so we were always the last to gohome to bed.We held public meetings. The constituency was an amalgamation of two, not knowing each other andmutually suspicious, we held a meeting to bang heads together to sort out problems. This was easy for meas an incomer with no previous history.I fought Sir Anthony Meyer, an eccentric patrician who had been our Ambassador to Moscow. One dayhe called in to the office with his wife unanounced to introduce themselves. He was also at odds with themembers of the joined constituency and fought a deselection battle during the election campaign. He askedwhat it was like in the Labour Party, when asked about his members one word only awful.Anne Jones was my agent a tower of support who kept me on course. We had Sunday lunch at hermothers and had a lively review of the weeks campaign and made plans for the next week.She was at the FBU annual conference at the beginning of the campaign and got an offer of financial help.The major employer was the NCB but the pit, Point of Ayr was just over the border in anotherconstituency. When the NUM and NACODS wanted to contribute to my election campaign theneighbouring candidate complained. When I was invited to vist the pit I was discouraged by his agent whenI spoke in the canteen at shift change he tried to stop me, he lost very badly.The local NUPE officer was very helpful with local contacts and secretarial help. The GMB my own unionthe TGWU but it did not have a local office.The full time Labour Party Officer came to our office to let off steam and to sit with his head in his hands at ian campbell union placed candidates.We had an army of helpers some handicapped who turned up every day to help address electionaddresses for the free postage,and then to leaflet the streets and to knock up when I was out canvassing.There was a photographer who normally did glamour photographs for the Sun and top shelf soft pornmagazines. He did a marvellous job we used one of me and one of Thalia and me on election addressesand posters. He caught exactly the right image, composed resolute and reliable, some of the bestphotographs I have of me.I met Town Clerks, Chief Constables and rapidly got to know the constituency. The problems faced byAnthony Meyer meant that there was a high media exposure and I rapidly learned how to say enoughwithout saying too much. Reporters can never be trusted.I enjoyed the lively public meetings.Anthony Meyer flirted with the far right and I sometimes feared some of the thugs who guarded him, oncewe had to leave a meeting by the back door as the Hotel Manager showed them into another room. TheLabour right defectors joined the Liberal Campaign, but their candidate was a non entity. On polling day allthe Plaid Cymru joined my knocking up party, as their candidate was not raising any enthusiasm and theywanted to get the Tories out. I went to the count got depressed and elated and lost but we held the labourvote against the national swing, my speech was used on TV, Today marks the end of the party of four andthe beginning of government by one.Back at the flat after the BBC television had closed down they transmitted live video from a camera in MrsThatchers car, we saw her collapse, one side of her face twitch and recover as if nothing had happened,she had had a minor stroke. The next day as one of her eyes kept wandering it was announced that shewas not ill but very tired. The machine lies at every opportunity. That started the most stressful period of our lives. No job no prospect of a job we had to find a way of employing our selves. Ian
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