'Tories still hostile to unions but we're still here and haven't forgotten'


I’m not addicted to YouTube, but in time of trial you can discover some gems there.

I found Chance of a Lifetime, a 1951 film starring Kenneth More and Basil Radford.

Hattie Jacques elbows her way in, too.

It’s about the workers taking over a factory after a bust-up with the owner who says: “Well, try and run it yourselves, then!” And they do.

They make a success of it, but only with the help of the former boss.

It’s an idealistic forerunner of Peter Sellers in cynical I’m All Right Jack.

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Scene from I’m Alright Jack

The film reminded me of the “work-in” at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1971, when the men took over the yard to prevent its closure.

Ringing down the years is the speech to the men by engineering union shop steward Jimmy Reid.

“There will be no hooliganism… no vandalism… no bevvying, because the world is watching us.”

And it was, holding its breath in hope.



‘Chance of a Lifetime’ with Kenneth More and Bernard Miles

After six months, Edward Heath’s Tory government performed a historic U-turn, and invested public money into a revamped shipbuilding industry on the Clyde.

It’s still there.

As is the Tory hostility to unions.

Virtually all Conservative governments bring in fresh laws to curb rights at work and what’s left of the power of organised labour.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak boasts about “consultation” with the TUC over pandemic work retention measures, but this is tokenism.

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The Tories never forgave unions for founding the Labour Party that challenged their God-given right to rule.

I may be on a sort of intellectual furlough, but I’m still an old-fashioned union man, and I haven’t forgotten.

We’re still here.

We never went away.





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