Dear friend, this is my last post of 2014 and I want to end the year on a positive note, so here are some of the reasons why 2015 is going to be a year full of hope….
Campaign of the year
…..Tameside against the Cuts…a small group of people from various backgrounds, including the Green Party, who meet every week to help the poor people who are faced with the tyrannical regime at Ashton Job Centre. TAC have little money and few resources but they do offer a welfare rights service sitting in the café at the local Ikea. They also stand outside the Jobcentre each week to show the management that they will not let them get away with making claimants destitute and leading them to contemplate suicide. It is a sad reflection that the local trade unions, including the PCS, are not supporting them. And shameful, but not surprising, that the local Labour Council together with the Job Centre are involved in the system of Universal Credit or rather universal cuts of benefits. Find out more see
Film of the year
…..Manuscripts don’t Burn…the title is taken from one of my favourite books, the Master and Margarita, written by Michael Bulgakov. He lived during Stalin’s era in the Soviet Union and he feared his novel would never be published so burnt it in 1930. Luckily he re-wrote it in 1931 but it was not published until 1967. The film is one of the most chilling and politically relevant that I have ever seen. Set in Iran it is a political thriller about an author who secretly writes his memoirs about his life as a writer, particularly as a political prisoner, and the killing of other intellectuals. The film is based on a real event in the 1990s when several writers were killed by the security services. The Iranian security service decide to let him leave the country but not before they destroyed his manuscript. Mohammad Rasoulof’s film was smuggled out of the country in 2013 and the cast and crew refused to put their names on the credits, fearing retribution from the State. Worth tracking down on DVD.
Organisation of the year
….the Mary Quaile Club…I have to confess I am one of the founders but it is crucial that working class history is told, that anyone can access it and that the link is made between our history and present day events. That is why we set up the group and over the last year we have tried to put this into practice. Next year we have big plans to celebrate the life of Mary Quaile and remind everyone that IWD was about socialist feminism and not about women being appointed heads of the TUC or chief executives of corporations. Further info see
Book of the year
…Left for the Rising Sun, Right for Swan Hunter by communist historian Rob Turnbull. The title refers to the struggle of working class people for more than just ending up working in the local shipyard (SH) or the pit. Rob explores the hopes and dreams of people who wanted a different kind of life; a life of education and class struggle. The book is brilliant in telling the story of the Plebs League and the Labour College Movement in the North East and their belief that education was the key to changing society for working class people. Buy it at
Venue of the year
…at 3 Minute Theatre in Manchester. They get no funding and rely on generating income by selling stuff and getting punters across the door to their eclectic mix of performances. Always welcoming, and particularly supportive of young people, Gina and John give freely of their many years experience of being performers and teachers of drama. You don’t see Lyn Gardner of the Guardian at their performances but you do see a much broader mix of people than you would ever get at the Royal Exchange, Lowry or the more arty companies. More info see
See you in 2015!!xLS