Watch…The Mill (Channel 4) a series created by left wing writer John Fay and set at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire charting the rise of radical politics. Not the usual its grim up north programme but a series that has real, complex working class characters and one of the most interesting aspects of north west history as its subject. Set in the 1830s it charts the rise of the demands of the majority (but male) population for the vote and better working conditions. Last week we saw how difficult it was to organise the factory slaves, that is what they were, to go to the Chartist demonstration at Kersal Moor in Salford in 1838. They would lose a day’s pay and have to walk many miles from Styal to Salford. Many of them did: 200,000 people turned up to demand not just the vote but a change in the political system. It is a powerful series because at the heart of it are strong characters: Esther Price, the factory girl who wants more than just being a slave in the factory or to a man. Daniel, a clever man, chief engineer in the mill, who organises the trade union and challenges the boss over his right to rule the lives of the factory workers inside and outside work. It is not a dour series but is funny, irreverent and yet challenges every stereotype about working class people. Highly recommended.
Read the Salford Star…about to come out in print but you will have to move to Salford to get a copy. I recently interviewed founders Stephen Kingston and Steve Speed see
Go on a march…on 17 August in memory of the Peterloo Massacre a group of people are marching from Middleton, starting at Barrowfields at 8.45am. Middleton was the home of poet and activist at Peterloo Sam Bamford. It will end at Peter’s Square in Manchester where 18 people were killed by the local yeomanry in 1819 at a meeting which called for the vote. There is also a feeder march from Bolton for details see
Read this interesting article about the women at Peterloo see
More on Gaza…. lots of activities to join in from the daily picket of Kedem, the Israeli Cosmetics Product Shop in King Street which continues daily 12 to 6. Manchester Palestine Action Meeting on Wednesday 13th August,7-9pm, a meeting for people currently involved in actions to learn more about Gaza and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigns. Friends Meeting House, Mount Street Manchester. Further info see
He is one of our best known singer/songwriters and here he is with a song for Gaza; Leon Rosselson see
Sign the petition….. Please sign Louise Raw’s petition to get UK parliament recalled on Gaza.
as she says I KNOW, it’s a shame to interupt those poor MPs hols, but…see
Remember…working class poet Joe Smythe who would have been 80 this year. Filmmaker John Crumpton has on his blog reminded us of a man who should be better known as a poet. Joe worked as a railway guard and wrote about life on the railways as well as much more. He published six poetry books through Commonword, which was a worker’s writers co-op, that encouraged working class people to meet and share their poetry and give them the opportunity to get it published. Read more about Joe at
Support Stafford Hospital…faced with the closure of its A&E, maternity and intensive care supporters are camping out with over 30 tents and 100 people to build support to stop the closure of an important local hospital. For more info see For those of us involved with the Greater Manchester KONP we watch knowing it is going to be our hospitals next so why not join us