Watch… The Most Valuable Englishman Ever..(on Youtube so its free) iconoclast Kenneth Griffiths’ documentary on Thomas Paine. Griffiths is as ever totally over the top but, like me, he venerates Tom because he was an intellectual and activist who spoke and wrote about human rights at a time when this was seen as treachery by the upper classes. But he was lauded by his own people, the working classes, because he supported their ideals for a just and fair society. Watch the film to find out more about Tom which might inspire you to get involved in a campaign. Also available on Youtube is In Lambeth, a play about Thomas Paine and William Blake, written by actor Jack Shepherd (he of Wycliffe and Bill Brand fame). In the 80s I saw a production in Manchester with Ruth and Eddie Frow who ensured that the WCML had a wonderful collection of his writings .Also in this version a rather handsome Mark Rylance plays Blake..not how I imagined Blake but… and Bob Peck plays Thomas Paine
In Lambeth Jack Shepherd’s play on Thomas Paine meets William Blake see
Find out more about badges….I love wearing badges that express my political views but its not that popular anymore, not sure why, maybe people are not so certain about where their loyalties lie?. Next week at the wcml on Wednesday, 11 September, at 2pm, in the first in the Library’s new series of Invisible Histories talks, Lauren Murphy, whose grandad was a Moston miner, will be talking about the wearing of ‘statements’ and messages of the working class over the years – badges, political ribbons and so on.
Lauren is a recently graduated jewellery student and based her last project around the miners of Bradford Pit. She carried out interviews with some of the pit’s remaining miners, who still live on the estate where the pit stood, to find out how they feel their efforts have been remembered. She created a collection of wearable ‘commemoratives’ in honour of these miners since, she says, ‘it is apparent from my conversations with them that they feel the need to have recognition through some kind of physical remembrance’.She is planning to put on a fundraiser for a commemorative plaque for the Moston miners. Come and find out more on Wednesday!
Support Afghan Women…I marched against the government’s involvement in Afghanistan and never believed that the West’s involvement in that country would create a democratic society for women and men. Since 2001 women’s rights have improved with two and a half million girls are enrolled in school, women can work outside their homes while the constitution grants women and men equal rights. But women have not had a say in the talks around a peace deal for Afghanistan and Amnesty strongly believe that women not only have a right to be involved in any future peace process but their participation is also crucial to securing a just peace for all Afghans.Check out their site for more information see
Read…The Sea Captain’s Wife by Martha Hodes. Published in 2006, this is a fascinating story about how the author found in an archive 500 letters which she used to recreate the life of a working class woman in 19 century America; Eunice Connolly. The lives of working class women of any century are often missing from the established histories and it takes a brilliant historian such as Martha to produce a book that is not just historically correct but is an insightful and heartwarming story. There are many apects to the book that are fascinating. For many in the Irish community (either here or in Ireland) going to America was seen as a way to find work and a better life and in this book we see that certainly in the 1840s that was not the case for many Irish people. They were treated not much better than black people and, for Eunice as a white working class woman, she was conscious of not slipping down the economic ladder to the position of the Irish or black community. Ironically she did eventually marry a well off black sea captain and moved to the West Indies. Highly recommended.See
Stop G4S….they are everywhere minding us in public buildings, railway stations except if you are a refugee… G4S guards forcibly restrained Jimmy Mubenga (Angolan refugee) while trying to deport him – they used “unreasonable force and acted unlawfully” and the Inquest has found that he was unlawfully killed while in their custody. Greater Manchester Campaign is calling for all publicly funded G4S activities to be brought back “in house” under public management and control. In particular, they are calling for Manchester Council to stop contracting with G4S – now! There is a campaign meeting on Thursday 12th September 2013, 7pm Friends Meeting House Mount Street Manchester M2 5NS.