Time travelling via wifi, between The Putney Debates, London (1647) & Canberra Parliament 2016

A principle of our inherited Westminster system of government is that Ministers of the Crown receive impartial, fearless advice.

CSIRO provides Scientific evidence to guide our policies for making our Commonwealth of Australia a better place, but in recent times the Government has shown a distinct lack of respect for the institution. gw-virus

  • There is a career public service which impartially serves the government of the day.

On this day in 1647, in the midst of the English Civil War, between the Monarch and Parliament the so-called “Putney Debates” began in the church of St Mary The Virgin Church, Putney. The debates, Chaired by Cromwell and attended by officers.

Source: The Putney Debates (1647) It was the dawning of the Age of Enlightenment.

Ideas, creativity, invention was flowering. Communications technology such as accessible printing presses had a double-edged sword for those who wanted to promote new ideas and information to those who didn’t want them to be disseminated. Knowledge was Power, and it empowered the New Model Army.

Colonel Thomas Rainsborough and his brother William of Wapping were well loved in their seafarer and merchant community.

LIke their father who was honoured by the Crown for his prowess with the King’s ships, the sons inherit the wise, learned non-conformist gallantry which resonated with the populace.

Today we would call them “Champagne Socialists”.

When I hear our current Members of Parliament (in the Commonwealth of Australia) “verballing” the most vulnerable who depend on the safety net of welfare, targeting cuts to income and services – taxing the poorest and subsidising the richest, I think of the power of those words recorded at the Putney Debates 400 years ago, which is as relevant today:

“ … [T]he poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee … ”. I’m going to borrow that for personally political purposes!    BOOK REVIEW



Bipartisan barbarity

Australian politics 100th day of protest on Nauru Liz Walsh 27 June 2016 For many years, Australian television crews have been denied access to the detention camp on Nauru. That’s the way the Australian government wants to keep its political prisoners: faceless and shrouded in secrecy. Since 2014, Nauru has charged a […]

via Bipartisan barbarity – BY RED FLAG — winstonclose



Seeking asylum for protection from persecution is legal.

The United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (The Refugee Convention) was drafted in response to the many thousands of displaced people in Europe after the Second World War (1939-1945).

Under the Refugee Convention a refugee is a person who is:

  • outside their own country and
  • has a well-founded fear of being persecuted due to his/ her race, religion, nationality, member of a particular social group or political opinion, and is
  • unable or unwilling to return.

Many countries, including Australia, have signed and ratified (legally implemented) the Refugee Convention. This means that countries are obliged to help individuals who are dislocated from their home country because of the threat of persecution.

By signing the Refugee Convention each country shows their intention to implement the legislation and policy that is required in order to support the refugee protection process. In Australia the law is implemented through the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

Countries that are not signatories to the Refugee Convention have no international obligation to accept people seeking asylum, although many still do.

Julian Burnside




Archaeodeath at Bede’s World, Jarrow

outdoor open air

Bede’s World – Anglo-Saxon learning at Jarrow UK

For locals and international visitors, Bede’s World, was an educational highlight for tourists to the North of England(like myself).

I’m sure the school children would grow up with pride at how their town was home to the Venerable monk and scholar in Europe.

A.D.735.  Jarrow was the source of shining enlightenment of human history, literature, science and creativity and is now CLOSED. My husband and I were visiting in 2010 from Australia, having family history links there. To learn of the funding cuts reinforces the damnable policies of austerity for the poorest.

Jake Campbell’s poem about Govt. funding cuts.

Bedes-World-059  A Museum Closes in the North

Soon an insolvency firm will arrive

with clip boards and check boxes,

begin listing assets. Next door

to the gallery whose worlds

will not be viewed by those with jobs

to do, tapestries by Geordie

ex-blasters on part-time craft courses

will peel to the floor like the memory

of Palmer’s and Red Ellen.

Pigs and chickens gone, the farm

out back will be measured to straw

and sinew. The market value of pork

timesed by square hectares of site.

A fortnight ago, when we hung

the exhibition, took spirit levels

and pencils, hammer and nail,

we did so thinking of our selves.

Now, as our poems and paintings

become potential resources

to shore against liquidation,

we think of the school trips,

the broke and the breaking.

Because if a museum isn’t just

a repository; if it means more

than a funnel we attach

to people’s heads

expecting history to go in,

coins to come out,

then let the North rise

and hear it sing before another part

of our past fades to a phantom limb.

.              monasteryBede_(History_of_the_English)

IS KNOWLEDGE only for the ELITES, who can trace their pedigree to the Norman invasion? Remove Educational opportunity and inspiration to higher education, and you are likely to perpetuate poverty of  living and spirit. Parliaments of yore never wanted ordinary folk to vote, wanted them to feel alienated from power.


My husband’s father Archibald McNeill was a Geordie of Jarrow in 1918.

His parents were both Jarrow born too: McNeill – Kelman families.

Jarrow Mon

St Paul’s Church and Monastery home to the boy monk Bede who gave us footnotes and Anno Domini dating system.

Archaeodeath at Bede’s World, Jarrow this link explains more on the Venerable Bede’s legacy of dating Before Christ and In the Year of our Lord( BC/A.D)

How many millennia did it take to “Educate Rita” – It wasn’t until 1900 A.D. our working-class ancestors finished school, not write their name with an X.

Parliament only opened the Treasury when the business owners requested an up-skilling, literate work-force. Governments only cared for the health of it’s people when they needed an army with resilience. 

Jarrow was infamous for it’s shocking housing and living conditions. The Jarrow Town Hall were highly resistant to improving them, even when the child and mother mortality was highest in the country, but they had to provide a basic education by Act of Parliament.


The government and the armed forces had been shocked by the physical health of the young men of Britain when they were trying to recruit for the Boer War (1899-1902). They had found that many of the young men were too small or under-nourished to join up. As a result of this, a ‘Committee on Physical Deterioration’ was set up(Ulterior Motives Archives). The McNeill boys of my father-in-laws generation would be the recipient of free milk and school dinners introduced by the Liberal Government.

gordon baby

1925 oldest son Archie with baby Gordon


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. “Stop the Madness,” interview with Economist John Galbraith.

grange rdThe neglect and prejudice by the British Government is expressed at this link: North-South Divide – Lord Melvyn Bragg, the Labour Peer, from a working-class background is incensed by the closure of BEDE’S WORLD and other educational museums and groups North of London is a sign that Westminster never learns and doesn’t care. st bedes east jarrow

My husband’ Australian long service leave, and we went to the UK including  our Jarrow crusade, with cousin Phil and his wife.cookson

My husband’s family had emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1964. It was 2010 when we visited the town where the cousins father’s Archibald and Gordon were born – JARROW, by the River Tyne.

Gran Kelmans Collingwood 13

Collingwood St. Jarrow where Grandma McNeill grew up as Kelman 1901, daughter of a Scotsman/painter & decorator.









Western democracies exalt the ideal of social equality, but our economic system arguably emerged from 16th-century Calvinism, a Protestant religion whose members believed that God showed favor by bestowing wealth and other forms of success on what they called ‘the chosen.’ Martha Beck



My husband’s family left Jarrow Durham in 1933 to find work in Leeds, Yorkshire. The last cry for the working families was the 1936 JARROW CRUSADE.

The hungry shipbuilders walked to London with a petition asking for the steel and iron industry to be rescued and revived by investing in the steel works and shipbuilding industry.

The 26-day trek, ended in heroic failure when Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, head of the Conservative government, said he was too busy to meet the bedraggled marchers.jarrow_old

shipyard labourer

Engineworks at Palmer’s shipyard where the first Archibald worked as a labourer in 1851.

Of the Hunger March Archie & Isabella McNeill Grandparent’s  view from their new home in Leeds, Yorkshire, was Their comrades effort would be a waste of time – they still had horrifying memories of when Winston CHURCHILL set the British troops on the Welsh coal-miners strikers, in the Tonypandy Riots of 1910.


Greenock Scot, Great-Grandfather Archibald(1841-1907), was part of the big migrant wave to Palmer’s shipyard when at peak productivity in the 1850’s. The population of Jarrow grew but hardly enough building of new or older houses for the families who came down from Scotland, across from Ireland and elsewhere was of affordable rent and standard.

Western democracies exalt the ideal of social equality, but our economic system arguably emerged from 16th-century Calvinism, a religion whose members believed that God showed favor by bestowing wealth and other forms of success on what they called ‘the chosen.’ Martha Beck


1st Archibald MCNEILL was born in Greenock , Scotland, and had been a labourer on the Glasgow dockyards.

There is some family rumour he was on the run for his Union activity but I have no proof for that, yet.

Maybe he had word the wages were higher at Palmers Shipyard at Jarrow. By 1875  Archibald had a wife Anne Laird, nee Johnston from Carlisle, who had been widowed 3 years earlier. The youngest LAIRD step-son was three years old, and 4 more siblings.

1881 Arch&Ann (1)

1881 Census McNeills/Lairds of 89 Ellison St. Jarrow

Tragically his wife Anne died from an infection of childbirth. She was 45years when she died. They had two daughters together though one daughter died aged 2yrs. JARROW had the highest mortality rate for women and children in England. (a reduction of the causes were not on the agenda at the Jarrow Town Hall).

It is only recently that the Church of England prayer book removed the service for the ‘churching of women who had recently given birth’ which starts by giving thanks to God for:

‘The safe deliverance and preservation from the great dangers of childbirth.’

 Archibald must have had something going for him because 3 years later he married 20 years young, Margaret Slaughter Hunter from Westoe. Four children later, in 1907, Archibald died of a stroke at 66yrs.

christ church jarrow

Jarrow Christ Church – Roy & Phil walk by Jarrow Grange Christ Church where Archibald McNeill 34yrs & Ann Johnston wed 1875.

1901 Scots born McNeill

1901 Scots born McNeill a Plumber & Ships Labourer. Grandad Archibald is 9 years old.

Isabella Kelman 1894

17 Frederick St Jarrow; Grandma McNeill nee Isabella Kelman born 1894 to a Scots father like future husband Archibald McNeill.

Isabella was 13yrs when her Mother Mary Blake Kelman age 37yrs died in childbirth 1907, which meant she would leave school to become the older sister, “mother”.


1911 census – Isabella is house-keeper for Dad.

When Isabella met Archibald he had finished his apprenticeship and worked as an Iron ship Rivetter. She learned his father died of a stroke in 1907 when he was 15yrs. His mother had re-married so he had a step-father so his mother was now Margaret Leadbetter.

holidays grandparents

Archie & Isabella

On my father-in-law’s Archibald’s birth certificate Grannie Margaret Leadbetter is witness to his birth on October 16th 1918 at 101 Back of Western Rd.

.Western Rd

holiday c

Our 3 sons-McNeill family c.1933

Source:read all about it at  Archaeodeath at Bede’s World, Jarrow

Bede's world

Summer 2010 The McNeill cousins wait for a train at JARROW STATION to take them for an Indian curry at NEWCASTLE. We checked with a local lad of about 18yrs dressed for a night out. Were we heading in the right direction?

“Yer not from here then?”  “What yer doin’ comin’ to Jarrow for?” he said incredulously when we described ourselves as tourists! The McNeill cousins said their fathers were born there……

By the time young Archie  was 14yrs he had earned a scholarship to continue his education, but the advice of the Head Master was bleak – there was no future in Jarrow for them. He should get out of Jarrow.

The industry had died. Archibald had arrived in Jarrow 1850, and the last Archie leave 1933. 


Battlecruiser built by Palmers at Jarrow, HMS Queen Mary completed for Royal Navy 1913 and sunk 1916 Battle of Jutland 1266 men died. 20 men survived.

How did Archie McNeill feel after helping to create a state of the art battle ship

then hear it was destroyed by the Germans with a grave loss of those on board?

Human beings, from the time they can walk love to build things and then destroy them. It’s a Game. How do people invest in a building to house and educate about their unique place in English/European history, then dismantle it?




revised text 12 July 2016 (c) copyright all rights reserved by Julie McNeill as author of blog





during 2015, grand-parenting boy dogs, boy grand-sons and more on the way.

I haven’t had much success being employed by mainstream employers in my life, but the foundation of a Love of Learning was provided to me, which empowered me and be pro-active in parenting.

Such a joy to be a Grand-mother now and conscious of passing on what tools of Love and Knowledge to them to fulfil their potential and contribute to the wider society.

The Gonski Report on a way to meet the Education reforms for the present and future so all children have a fair go at finding opportunities – A consensus emerged before the last election that this was the best path forward, the best investment a country could make.

The Liberal-National Party lied to get into power. They don’t want to spend so much money on a decent education on kids with disabilities, from low to middle incomes….their kids will be all right, so like the selfish, despicable wilful ignorance of Climate Change policy, Australia has devolved; Commonwealth coffers of money prop carbon polluters, and people like them who will luxuriate in a Super-retirement class.

The evidence, the analysis, the history of political evasion can be gained from independent and other sources. I read and listen widely thanks to the gifts of Science and the publicly funded CSIRO, ABC, WWW.

Conclusion: A positive, 21st century enlightened education must be hoped for, must be campaigned for and voted on by the majority.

Peace on Earth, Good will to all boys and girls and may we all be productive with respect for Mother Nature. Merry be 2016.



A NANA’S WISH: It’s a wonderful world for you if we piss off Tony Abbott Govt. flat earthers and have policies more likely to give you a decent future.





Excuse me for feeling a failure, mixed feelings about signing on to Disability Support Pension for a psychiatric condition which limits the chance of being given a job and staying in job.

Assessment for DSP takes longer, so I have been put on the lower New Start – suddenly I feel like it was back in 1982, but thankfully I have my own roof over my head now instead of having rental stress.

To show how it was back then for me, and how it is still like this for lots of Australians despite the passage of years, link to my political blog: WELFARE FOR THE COMMON YOUTH

alternatively we could cheer up with some SATIRE on a very miserable topic of how we treat asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

Want a job that pays good money? Join the immigration department! | First Dog on the Moon | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Crikey dog

Time travelling

Reflections on ALP renewal from my Queenslander perch

I’m very slowly recuperating from active service in the QLD A.L.P branch (including Secretary). Like the tributaries of a river it should never get clogged up so it can keep moving and evolving. The movement  from Wivenoe to the Somerset branch at Esk ends my personal labours, and a creeping resurgence of mental illness.

I sensed growing resistance about my ideas from branch members; I didn’t understand why a branch face book page was being criticised apart only I was being censored. The dynamics within the branch were changing. It happens. I’m just too out there for some.

I reared up and hissed like a snake in Spring. Frayed nerves, and the Big Canberra Picture of ongoing partisanship in offshore indefinite detendtion for refugees from my own Party reached it’s intolerable zenith.

I knew the black dogs of despair and the rabid distress of losing one’s sanity so I certainly don’t believe the persecuted have to be persecuted again and again. I voted for Bill Shorten in the Labor leadership. I was under an illusion he could be the next Ben Chifley type, but Machievelli rules career politicians – Cruel means to a cruel end.

For my own sake I retreat or like Voltaire said in Candide – in the end we must cultivate the garden.

The main purpose of any local branch is to support an endorsed candidate for your electorate and naturally the wider Labor cause, but most of our meetings were spent in lively discussion of policies and passing motions to contribute to the processes within the Party.
It was very satisfying to have regular attendance and get to know your Members of Parliament at monthly meetings, community stalls and campaigning.
I had tried a couple of Ipswich branches to start with, as there was nothing closer to home – 20-30mins drive away.

Trying to present a civil, rational debate on decriminilising abortion caused a stir apparently. It was a no go area!
It was then I learned the majority of members were not only from our senior citizenry but also Roman Catholics, and working class, country town folk. The Secretary and I stood in the doorway and directed my gaze to the membership, ‘look at them’…

The DLP/ALP split legacy from the 1950’s still resonates.

The ghost of B.A. Santamaria permeates the present corridors of Power in Australia. Old world religion, misogyny, exclusion, anti-science, is the order and control of the day.

My idea to set up a Brisbane Valley branch as a place to wake any hibernating Labor voters along the Brisbane Valley Highway to Esk was met by pessimism and derision; Don’t get involved with them, they’re all mad!
This was just the incentive I needed…
I was naieve then to political factions and historical histrionics.
I grew up in a consciousness raising feminist era of the big smoke in the UK and Melbourne, so I went along to the Labor Women’s Conference in Brisbane and enjoyed my sister comrades zeal in reinforcing social justice issues.
I shared my dissatisfaction with an organiser and it occurred to her the Wivenhoe branch had been formed in
the wake of the Pauline Hanson assault on our senses by Virginia Clarke who was endorsed to run against her.

Wivenhoe members were passionate about the same issues so it suited us for me to take on the role of Secretary and hold meetings at my home and along the Highway.A regular pitch at the popular Fernvale Markets increased our profile and helped us to hear what locals were thinking, and gently persuade people of our values and policies!

Former Labor leader and Governor General Bill Hayden and his wife Dallas lived locally so I invited him(even though he’d changed his mind about an Australian Republic!). He gave it some thought, he said, but he had long and loyal ties to his Ipswich branch and remarked he had been interested to hear how I had managed to activate a branch which wasn’t supposed to exist.


For the present I continue with my research and writing of a historical fiction set in 17th century London – there are many parallels to today, though I feel safe being an omnipresent narrator! I’ll be archiving my political labor blog soon, until then,

 “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
George Orwell, 1984

MY political blogging is at



Qld State Library Qld State Library Files

Labor governments and oppositions often squander 2/3 of their time, by misunderstanding the role of marginal seat campaigning.

Instead of spending the years immediately post-election persuading the community Labor’s values and vision reflect community interests, and Labor’s policies reflect the best of Australia, too many in the ALP machines and parliamentary leadership say their focus must be to mirror the views of persuadable voters in marginal seats.

Yes, Prime Ministers Yes, Prime Ministers

They fail the leadership test: like Jim Hacker, they seem to think “I am their leader – I must follow them”.

They fail to understand the key job of a leader, the thing that makes them a leader – or not – is identifying what needs to be done that isn’t, and generating support.

Where Labor spends a whole term focused on marginal seat perspectives, they’re not articulating a vision to the community, not…

View original post 185 more words


1995-2014 is how long since we migrated to Queensland. My husband is close to retirement and contemplating a revival of his Puppetry passion. We are attempting to fix the house up before our income is reduced. At least Roy will be secure from the absolutist welfare policies of the present day Abbott Government(CONSERVATIVES).

I am not looking forward to being called a ‘job snob’ when I explain the mainstream workforce makes me mentally ill(literally) to the instruments of this Lib/Nat Coalition Governments ideology. Can I claim my arts practise as working for the dole?

Cultural policy? Nah… moving everything onto the verandah to polish the floor boards I stopped to peruse the photo albums and archival magasines of our Puppetry chapters in our life. Scanned a couple of pages to my earlier stock-taking, from the Victorian Education Department which funded the Theatre In Education section with an enthusiastic teacher/administrator, Sue Galley.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS – when the Arts were valued in every child’s education and the Commonwealth was re-distributed wider.

I met my husband Roy when he was making “The Adventures of Platypus Phil” – to get to the kitchen one had to go under the blue shimmering creek across the loungeroom and his dead-line was the annual preview of shows for school teachers who could book in eary….It also provided free postage for a mail-out to every school in Victoria.

I was a a Co-director and Youth Arts co-ordinator at Fringe Network in Brunswick St. Fitzroy(former Flying Trapeze cafe). The rest of the Melbourne Fringe Arts Festival planners were being funded by a combination of arts and employment schemes. My full-time wage was for 6months thanks to Labor’s Commonwealth Employment Scheme. I was sent off to learn how to touch type.

Very useful for our future inspired and original puppetry and poetry enterprises.

Typical of most artsworkers on $8-$20,000 a year it was necessary to supplement living with unemployment benefits even though we were writing, building, rehearsing, collaborating and submitting arts grant applications to the Australia Council – cultural arts body set up under Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The last time the Arts were championed was when Paul Keating was Prime Minister: Creative Nation.

We auditioned the original and innovative Platypus Phil in front of the representative of the Queensland Arts Council. Unlike the rest of Australia they had a tight control on what was seen and censored. You can read in this older post how we experienced our first experiences of censorship and barriers to take our show to Queensland audiences.


I was anxiously awaiting an audience for Jika Jika Puppets from North Fitzroy, Melbourne. They were part of my Youth Arts program for the first Melbourne Fringe Festival(1983) that I was a founding member of, and hardly anybody had turned up!Summoning courage I went up to the puppeteer, Roy McNeill, who was dressed in black clothes. He eased my feelings of incompetence by saying it was okay, because he was training a puppeteer(Maeve Vella) into the show of The Four Chinese Brothers and they would look at it as a rehearsal.

A group of young unemployed performers and musicians who had hitched their way up the Nepean Highway from Frankston sat with me, cross-legged on the floor. We were enthralled by the Japanese style Bunraku rod puppets and the way they came to life. The sets were original, incorporating musical instruments within them, like the giant triangle used as a gong.

View original post 5,505 more words