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OK, 8. No way to start the working day! So every workplace needs to be kitted out with a bike shed, changing room and showers. It needs to be in planning regulations for new workplace builds, with interest-free loans for all existing workplaces to add this provision. A late s version was the annual Oxford to London Nicaragua Solidarity bike ride, that thousands would take part in every year. Despite the supposed frailty of Jeremy Corbyn being challenged by pictures of his regular Islington to Westminster — 4. I could add, of course, safer cycleways and paths.

These are certainly needed, because fear remains a major impediment to the revolutionary growth in cycling for our individual and collective benefit I am advocating. Yet the overwhelming emphasis on this, to little or no substantial change, serves only to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course.

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Why not? Driven not by profit or an economic system driving our planet to destruction, but by ourselves. The Carabao, or those of us a tad old skool, League Cup Final is long gone. Up and down the divisions clubs have jostled their way to win promotion, staved off relegation or clung on to mid-table mediocrity. And for the few, not the many, the Premier League title. Together they make for a superlative double act. This is a point expertly made by Duncan Hamilton in his new book Going to the Match , a journey to games which confirms that despite all the worst efforts of corporate homogeneity, the proverbial wind and the rain of 90 plus minutes in the stands cannot be beaten.

For those who can afford the time and the expense — though with a bit of careful pre-planning these trips can be surprisingly cheap — another way of escaping the way our domestic game is consumed can be via a European away weekend. A more familiar trip would of course be to La Liga or the Bundesliga. Some football destinations are more welcoming than others. Andrew Hodges helps readers towards that happy outcome by unpicking the more complex reality behind the fearsome reputation of Croatian football in Fan Activism, Protest and Politics: Ultras in Post-Socialist Croatia.

His latest State of Play ranges over stories of players, managers and clubs to create the kind picture of English football that rarely makes it on to the back pages, yet is way more important than who scored what against whom. The exception, for a while at least, has been cycling. Although of late even this seems to have levelled off at best —or even slipped downhill. Meanwhile for those of who still hanker after two-wheeled speed and endurance, Peter Cossins has written the near perfect book Full Gas in which Peter seeks to instruct mere mortals in the tactics of the peloton.

If we cannot dream, well what exactly is the point of doing, or watching sport? A home cricket world cup? Another home world cup, netball? In years gone by an Ashes summer would have seen off the lot of them, but not anymore since the disastrous decision to sell live and free-to-watch Test cricket to the satellite TV moneymen. Golf has its own version of globalisation, with the Ryder Cup being the only sporting event with a team competing under the EU flag.

Wimbledon fortnight provides a sudden burst of interest in tennis. But for a sport on the up, look no further than darts. Darts is a sport just about anyone can play. OK there might not be as many pubs with a handy dartboard as there once were, but this kind of accessibility still provides darts with its instant appeal. Remarkably, she proves the combination is not only possible but desirable.

The latter may not be the response of too many readers, but the very fact that Moira survives to tell her tale could just prove sufficient inspiration for others to follow in her footsteps — just not quite as many! This has precious little to do with individual choices, rather it is down to the social construction of sport. There are, unfortunately, plenty more. Despite this, it is rare indeed to find any kind of politics that takes this seriously. But one writer, and political activist, above all others effortlessly made the connections that others either struggle with or dismiss entirely.

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The same question could be asked, and answered for each and every other sport too. My pick of the quarter therefore is Marxism, Colonialism and Cricket.


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The next morning I pop into the small independent record shop tucked away by the platforms at Hull railway station to pick up the eagerly awaited debut single by The Specials, a double A-side with label mates The Selecter on the reverse. What an antidote! For the preceding couple of years the National Front had threatened both a street-fighting and electoral breakthrough.

The counter-demo was brutally policed by the notorious Special Patrol Group, so brutal that their actions resulted in the death of one demonstrator, Blair Peach.


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The late s were dangerous times. Their best single result still only a measly 7. By the end of the century there would be four million people of the new Commonwealth or Pakistan here. Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture and, you know, the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in.

Allstars and others. Dressed up to the nines in tonic suits, loafers, button-down collar shirts, it was a musical movement rooted in the hugely contradictory sub-culture of skinheads.

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Rocking against racism was no longer just a prescription, more the natural consequence of the sounds we loved. Ska was being reinvented in the multicultural spaces of Birmingham, Coventry and North London, by the bands we followed up and down the motorways, north, south, east and west. Hull was as affected by all this as anywhere else. Both helped pull together a mainly young crowd, who would fill coaches to stop the NF and British Movement wherever they threatened to march.

There was an uglier side to this mix though. There were pubs to avoid because they were well-known NF hangouts, places where a visit to the toilets was likely to end in a bloody confrontation. They firebombed the SWP bookshop, too.


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  8. However, ska helped mould the activism and the music into some sort of movement. The coolest kid in these parts was Roland, a diehard Clash fan, mixed-race with a blonde rinse. His mum ran a second-hand clothes shop, if we wanted the sixties ska look on the cheap, that was the place to find a vintage bargain. And when Roland formed a ska band, The Akrilykz, it was the Communist Party who provided the lead guitar and drummer. And Roland was mesmerising on lead vocals, despite his moniker, personifying everything we believed in. His quietly understated voice soared with the breathless melodies that a few years later he, Roland Lee Gift, would bring to the Fine Young Cannibals.

    The dancehall was heaving, on the cusp of some kind of musical rebellion, threatening yet joyful at the same time.

    The notorious South Yorkshire police however suspected something untoward was afoot and tried to close the gig down. It was the evening of the first performance of Madness on Top of the Pops, and to reward their loyal fans the band were playing live straight afterwards. I was one of the lucky few crammed in, packed shoulder to shoulder with British Movement skinheads.

    This was genuinely scary because although my hair was short enough to pass muster, my politics certainly was not. It was one of the contradictions of 2 Tone, and the original ska numbers too, that a sound imported from Jamaica and reinvented by inner-city England was embraced and danced to by some young people who were avowedly racist.

    But mostly not, of course. Messy, even violent on occasion, the irresistible beat of 2 Tone belonged mostly to a predominantly working-class fan base who fancied a good time, while having the common sense to leave any racism they might be bringing along to the show at the door. In this way music, like most aspects of popular culture, is a staging post towards social change, rather than the vehicle for it. We ignore the politically progressive potential of the former at our peril, but try to enforce it into becoming the latter and we starve the music of its originality and dynamism.

    The street-fighting fascist Right remained an ever-present threat. The mix was toxic but ska, and The Specials most of all, did at least provide the national anthems for a 2 Tone nation in the making.