Mayday! Mayday!

Friday 1st May . . . all sorts of things to think about, starting with

(Image Credit: Melbourne Protests)

If you see a history of May Day in the newspapers this year, it is most likely to recount the mystical, medieval origins of a pagan fertility festival. And though you may never have seen a maypole in your life, you will be assured that a ribboned piece of birchwood is the sign and sanction of May Day.

Yet this has little to do with the reason that 1 May is celebrated in Britain, or why it is an international holiday . . . . May Day is international workers day. As such, it is – in the words of Eric Hobsbawm – “the only unquestionable dent made by a secular movement in the Christian or any other official calendar”. And its past is more rowdy than is suggested by the imagery of Morris dancers serenely waving hankies and bells around.

The origin of our present holiday lies in the fight for an eight-hour working day, in which cause the leaders of the socialist Second International called for an international day of protest to be held at the beginning of May 1890. They did so just as the American Federation of Labour was planning its own demonstration on the same date. The UK protest actually took place on a Sunday, and in London alone attracted 300,000 protesters to Hyde Park.

Initially, May Day was intended to be a one-off protest, and in some ways quite a solemn affair. But it persisted amid a flourishing of trade unionism. The symbolism of the workers’ Easter, of rebirth and renewal, dramatised this experience of revival. And it developed a carnivalesque aspect. May Day did not merely enact internationalism and working class solidarity; it celebrated these things with the familiar paraphernalia of badges, flags, art, sporting events and heavy drinking.

This is the beginning of a fine article: I commend it to Pubsters.

So, let’s recreate some of that carnival atmosphere – but with moderate consumption of alcohol, of course.

We will also have our Friday raffle, lots of good music, and even though the article’s author quite rightly says May Day is much more than maypoles, let’s get those paws a-twitching and the ribbons a-winding!

(Image Credit: Life With Cats)

537 thoughts on “Mayday! Mayday!

  1. Gravel,

    Mother Milne was slamming Shorten over the RET Target – says Shorten should not be so willing to negotiate….as usual she was taking an all or nothing approach because she could never see that to save the RET some compromise is necessary – it can always be upped when the abbott suffers his demise.

  2. jaycee

    CTar1…Your opinion on this little gem, please?

    Could have been that way. Keelty and the then Head of the International Division loose cannons.

    Tlbd better qualified to make suggestions, I’d say.

  3. gravel

    What did milne say?

    “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – Winnie the Pooh.

  4. gigilene

    A slightly related story .Robert Fisk writing about Abu Dhabi related this from the place in the late 1960’s.

    Thankfully, Sheikh Zayed booted out his brother the year Walid Sadik arrived – but the new leader also maintained his Arab desert roots. “One day a Japanese company arrived to discuss plans for his new palace,” recalls Mr Sadik, who was at the crucial meeting. “The Japanese put the construction plans on the floor and one of them pointed out the plans, saying. ‘Here is the master bedroom, here is the salon, here is the kitchen’. And then the Japanese said: ‘Here is the toilet’.

    “Sheikh Zayed stood up and left, shouting that ‘these foreigners are insulting us!’ You see, in those days, the Arabs believed the toilet should be outside the house, not inside a palace!”–whos-really-in-charge-10216835.html

  5. KK

    The Japanese are very fussy about their toilets. The appliances they have nowadays are quite amazing.

    In a way, the Arabs have a point that’s why the Aussie dunnies were outside. It took me by surprise that in some parts of India, lacking latrines, people have to defecate anywhere possible. To do it on the roads … Don’t they have any sense of inhibition? Just like dogs.

  6. Janice

    I see, just like the Greens with the original carbon trading system that they voted against, so in the long run we ended up with nothing. Grrrrrrrrrr it makes me so angry, the stuffed up the carbon price now they want to stuff up the RET. I guess while nothing gets done environment wise the Greens are still in with a chance.

  7. gravel

    You are just so cute.

    Except obviously when I’m doing the Falklands War over and over again.

    Meanwhile slow cooked Bologanise (However spelled) going nicely here.

    Children invasion expected shortly.

  8. No idea, absolutely clueless.

    And –

    Looking for a wage spark. Cool Guys, famously, Don’t Look At Explosions or as the Internet’s most addictive site, TV Tropes, calls it, they engage in an “Unflinching Walk” . We thought of that meme this morning after government lamentations to the AFR’s Phil Coorey that weak wages growth was going to seriously hurt the budget. True, wages have either undershot or barely equaled inflation over the last two years or more, and that’s now having serious impacts on tax revenue for the Coalition, which has long and vociferously opposed wage rises for ordinary workers (see “Be Careful What You Wish For”). But forget the budget — spare a thought for Industrial Relations and Public Service Minister Eric Abetz. Not only has Abetz demanded that public servants, including ADF personnel, take real pay cuts by accepting wage rises well below inflation, thereby contributing to the exact problem his colleagues are complaining about, but it was Abetz last year who warned that Australia was going to experience a “wages explosion”. Fair to say Joe Hockey would give his eyeteeth for a wages campfire at the moment, let alone a full-scale explosion

  9. Leone,

    I wish some clever person would photoshop a pic of the grinning joho to show him minus his eyeteeth . . .

  10. NZ’s largest power + gas distributor has formed a “special relationship” to bring the Tesla Home batteries to their NZ customers. Have any local companies made any announcement about similar intentions ?

    Vector enters ‘special relationship’ with Tesla

    Vector has formed a partnership with Tesla to bring its revolutionary home and business batteries to New Zealand.

    Stiassny said that Vector had recognised some time ago that the energy business was destined for change.

    Vector had been working with solar from its very early days, trailing the early photo voltaic arrays, using micro wind turbines and testing energy management systems, he said.

    “We recognise that customers are at the forefront of wanting choices in the way they produce, use and manage their energy and we will be providing that choice.

    “The Vector/Tesla partnership will revolutionise the way the customers consume energy along with real network benefits for Vector and its customers.”

    Mackenzie said that the potential benefits for customers in New Zealand were considerable.

    “For some communities, communal renewables and storage systems make a great deal of sense.

  11. CTar1

    Spag Bol, Razz has the best secret herbs and spices for that. Are you having the abc2 or abc3 kids, anyways, have fun.

  12. “I wish some clever person would photoshop a pic of the grinning joho to show him minus his eyeteeth . . .”

    Wouldn’t improve his appearance.

  13. gravel

    The choice between 2 and 3 is a who nose.

    The children’s shows bore me batshit.

  14. And if women are really lucky then the scheme will neveer come in. Eh, Michaelia?

    A new scheme to recognise domestic violence orders across state borders may not be fully in place until the end of next year, according to Federal Minister Michaelia Cash.

    Last month the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to take “urgent collective action” on domestic violence, including to develop a national domestic violence order (DVO) scheme by the end of 2015.

    However, Senator Cash, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Women, said that while the legal framework is set to be agreed to nationally by December, the system to actually share information on active DVOs between jurisdictions will take longer.

    Its roll-out will depend on the outcome of a $3.3 million pilot program by Crimtrac involving Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania, which is due to report back by 2016.

    Just think of all the money you could save!

  15. I knew it –

    On December 17 last year I had a visit – by appointment – with a young woman from NSW Housing, to talk about the Baird government’s plans to force public housing tenants out of their family homes when those homes became, allegedly, too big after the kids had all moved out.

    i was informed of my options – apply for a transfer, be offered two new residences and either accept one of them or stay where I am and pay $20 a week extra for the privilege. They say it’s because families are waiting for homes. I say it’s revenue raising. The public housing shortage here is mainly in one or two bedroom ‘pensioner’ accommodation, which is what they want me to take. According to their website the waiting list for such accommodation here is at least five years.

    Anyway, I was given a stack of forms to fill in and assured by this very polite young woman that she would be back the next week for my final decision. I am just one of many local tenants facing this problem, not all of them oldies. .

    I heard no more from her. I suspected that the whole thing had been quietly put aside until after the NSW election. You can’t have a mob of angry tenants protesting in the street about being forced out of their homes. Not a good look at all.

    I was right.

    Today a letter arrived from the same woman. She didn’t bother asking me what I had decided, she didn’t bother coming back for the paperwork, she has just told me I will be offered two places and I can expect to be rehomed in less than twelve months. If I refuse both offers – which I will do – they will begin eviction proceedings. This was a threat to make me comply. The department’s policy is still to simply charge extra rent, not to evict.

    My needs – which she has acknowledged in writing – complicate things. I need ground floor, level access, with a yard (for the cats) and assorted bathroom modifications. Such a place does not exist here. Good luck finding something suitable that does not exist within twelve months.

    Bring it on, I say. I can’t wait for the headlines – ‘Seventy year old disabled grandmother forced out of her home’………..


  16. We had one of these sitting in our “driveway” for a couple of hours earlier today – it is the pride and joy of OH’s baby brother and yes, it is still left-hand drive:

  17. I think “Squeep” covers beautifully what HoJo will say.

  18. Fiona

    Years ago someone I knew had one of those monsters. If the size did not make people notice it then the colour sure as hell did, Hot Pink !!!

  19. This is the whole article. No indication if polling methodology will change, rather than just who make the calls or whatever. Galaxy’s current national polls are done differently to Newspoll, includes some online & non landline calls as I recall. Newspoll still landlines only, which means they have to try harder to get the younger age quotas. Possum has said in the past they have other issues as well. Not bias, just the way they do it makes it bouncier. Hopefully galaxy will run it more like their own polls, which are more consistant these days. paywalled

    Galaxy Research to conduct polling for Newspoll
    THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 04, 2015 11:35AM

    The polling behind the authoritative Newspoll will move to Galaxy Research after the wind-up of the joint venture that currently undertakes the work.

    Staff at Cudex, the equal joint venture between News Corp Australia and international advertising and public relations firm WPP, were told this morning the company would be shut down at the end of next month.

    Galaxy Research, which provides polling for News Corp Australia’s metropolitan newspapers, will now also conduct polling for Newspoll, which will continue to run exclusively in The Australian every fortnight.

    Galaxy Research founder and chief executive David Briggs previously spent 18 years as general manager of Newspoll.

    In a joint statement sent to staff this morning, The Australian’s chief executive Nicholas Gray and editor in chief Chris Mitchell said Galaxy Research had “proven its credentials as a highly accurate polling company in both federal and state elections”.

    “Recently, it called a Labor win in the recent Queensland election and was again proven reliable in the NSW election,” they said. “Newspoll’s rigour, integrity and frequency will not be affected, and Newspoll will retain its position as Australia’s most authoritative and eagerly awaited political poll.”

    News Corp Australia, The Australian and WPP thanked Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy and his team for their “outstanding work over the years”. There will be some redundancies among the 26 staff at Cudex.

    The change in polling partners is the second major shift in the polling space in the past year. In October, Fairfax Media announced Ipsos as its new polling partner, ending a 40-year relationship with Nielsen.

  20. Kaffeeklatscher,

    Youngest BIL is the most petrol-heady of the three boys. He is currently doing up one of these – today the radio from it was delivered to OH for repair:


  22. Fiona

    NZ used to be the place where old British cars went to die. For some reason there were also quite a few “yank tanks” out and about. Draconian import duties and restrictions coupled with very large deposits required to buy new or even used cars meant cars were not allowed to die. I think we had the oldest car fleet in the OECD . May even have given Cuba a run for their money 😆

    Sadly for collectors the first Oil Shock hit. I remember in our area the numerous yank tanks just disappeared almost over night. Many to the wreckers as there were no buyers.

  23. Well done BKland and Labor people for organising this meeting

    UN climate chief says the science is clear: there is no space for new coal

    At the meeting in Adelaide, organised by the South Australian government, federal, state and territory administrations agreed to work more closely to drive an uptake in renewable energy, coordinate energy-efficiency schemes and help communities adapt to climate change.

    Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations framework convention on climate change, urged the states and territories to work with the federal government to help deliver a “strong” global agreement at key climate talks in Paris in December.

    The meeting was attended by the environment ministers of the Labor-run states and territories – Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT. The federal government, Tasmanian and New South Wales governments were represented at “senior official level”, and Western Australia and the Northern Territory were absent.

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