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Our Friends in the North and the Corbyn Years

Our Friends in the North, written by Peter Flannery, is a nine-part BBC drama series from 1996. Although it spans a period of years from 1964 to 1995, what I’m particularly interested in is its dramatization of the general election of 1979 and the miners’ strike of 1984. The way in which those two events are portrayed should strike a chord for those of us who remember what happened during the general elections of 2017 and 2019. The parallels are all too obvious. “I want a clean fight,” says Conservative candidate, Claudia Seabrook when she arrives at her constituency. She is the parachuted-in candidate, moneyed, upper class and the daughter of the venal Home Secretary, Claud Seabrook, with h


With all of this hand washing and sanitizing I feel like a method actor rehearsing for the part of Lady Macbeth. The trouble is that this ‘damned spot’ is invisible to the human eye, whereas in Shakespeare’s play it’s the work of the character’s overwrought imagination. No amount of liquid soap from the Kimberley Clark dispenser in the toilet, no prolonged drying of hands inside the crevasse of the Dyson Air Blade, no thorough application of anti-bacterial Ecoclenz from the pump-action bottle on my desk can fully reassure me. Maybe, just maybe, my card is already marked. For someone my age I’ve been through this kind of thing before with the AIDS pandemic, though that never really worried me

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