Posts Tagged ‘tony mulhearn’

Great to be part of the development of the cracking exhibition by Dave Sinclair ‘The Thatcher Years – my 80’s’ which had a lot of people chatting, reflecting and thoughtful, whilst also planning for tomorrows.

020520138452020520138456Suz Muna

Lots of people who were involved in politics in the 80’s and again now against the cuts, sipping ‘The milk snatcher’ rum cocktails (thanks Richmix)

It was also the day of elections in some part of the country, and timed nicely to celebrate 30 years of the election of the Liverpool 47, a socialist council who fought Thatchers government and won huge concessions properly representing the community who elected them.


In the same room were a family who have led a public campaign against their homelessness and for housing for all. An excellent film of that campaign was shown that begins to the table the consequences of the cuts and class war that is being waged upon us.

We had a film about tax avoidance, also put into perspective the fact that there is more than enough money to be distributed. Funny, but just not.

Followed by a discussion from different campaigns going on & what could be done from ‘Sick of your Boss‘, ‘TUSC‘, ‘NSSN‘ &  The Counihan-Sanchez family.


Enjoyed the sharp wit of Flood theatre, questioning, considered and challenging in a slightly surreal manner! Plus a very ego driven Mayor that brought tears to our eyes!

The start of some good conversations, possible working together to fight against cuts and FOR a re-distribution of wealth! Change is gonna come..



Thanks to Richmix for giving us the space & staff who worked hard to support us. Big thanks to all those who performed, help organise attend & take part in the events of this evening and campaigns for our future.


Opening on the 2nd of May , is the Thatcher Years – my 80’s  by Dave Sinclair, a photographic exhibition which represents some of the fightback against the Thatcher cuts in the 80’s. We are proud to have the infamous Bob Crow (RMT),  Rob Williams (NSSN & his banner), Suzanne Muna (Unite Housing Workers) &  a Liverpool 47 councillor,  speaking on the opening night on the the 80’s fight against Thatcher & today.

There will also be an opportunity for you to record your thoughts, reflect on exhibition and events significance to you through Mouth – to – Mouth. This will involve video diary making using fake moustaches! Run by Claire Macneill, a participatory artist & filmmaker.

From 8pm, we will move into the main Richmix  space, where we have  a film, discussion & comedy with an anti austerity theme. We start with Have I got Tax for you!’ a comedy written and presented by stand up  Andrea Gordon. After the screening we will then have a Q&A around that with invited guests including the RMT & ‘Sick of Your boss’ campaign. This screening coincides with UKuncut  High Court case against the  HMRC over a deal that has allowed banking giant Goldman Sacks off at least £10 million interest.

Later in the evening  you can sit back (& try to) relax with Flood Theatre  a dark, satirical comedy company. “Like a politicized League of gentlemen” (ThreeWeeks). Then chuckle with/at the Anti-Duhring Battalion(Left Front),  “any attempt to drag Nick Draper off a stage like that is futile. Draper is in his element & boy does he know it!” (Comments from a recent gig)

Door Charge: £7/£4 concessions from 8-11pm costs Book tickets via Richmix, London. 

There will be another day long of events programmed as part of this festival on Sunday 12th May including our film –  full  details on our events page. 

Whilst looking at programming around Dave’s exhibition the ‘Thatcher Years‘, I have been keen to get events and ways for those coming to the Richmix to be involved. So far we have our ‘Radicals of the East End‘ Walk, ScriptReadEast themed around the ‘Thatcher Years’, my Union branch workshop on alternatives to the Housing Crisis and of course our film, ‘Don’t mention the 47. 

At Sophies’ last ScriptReadEast event I met with (Echo Projects) Claire MacNeill, and she was interested in what we were doing and working with with us in some way. I am really pleased that she has agreed to run 2 workshops with us. One on the 2nd of May, at the opening and the second on the 12th of May. Here is a little more about Claire & her work: 

(Echo Projects) Claire MacNeill –  a participatory artist and film maker Claire is interested in designing workshops that provoke thought and inspire audience-participants to represent their own ideas and responses. Claire will be facilitating two activities:

 1) A mixed media extravaganza on Sunday 12th of May: Get involved with creating a mini world as a microcosm of causes and voices and play with plasticine!! Suitable for all ages, particularly eternal children!

 2) Mouth-to-mouth on Thursday 2nd of May – record your critiques and reflect on this events’ significance to you. This activity will involve video diary making using fake moustaches and word association games. (This will then be shown on the 12th of May).

Both workshops are FREE. 



We were up in Liverpool this week, a short few days, to get a few of the shots which were missing from the documentary. Fingers crossed, they came out ok.

Caught up with Tony Mulhearn (one of the Liverpool 47, who is also in our documentary) and was at the preview of Spirt of 45, Ken Loachs’ new film. Tony was also with Dave Walsh, a Unite Convener for Liverpool City Council. Dave was one of the 100 apprentices who had got a permanent job when the Liverpool 47 campaign took place in the 80’s. They pledged to challenge unemployement and cheap labour, and Dave is an articulate example of this policy into practice.



We queued to get into the film, after a short interview with both Tony & Dave, but sadly too late for any return tickets. We had had a break earlier and had a cuppa in the Casa (now owned and run by the sacked Liverpool Dockers) and whilst reviewing what we needed to do, Ken Loach walked in with his team. I turned groupie and anxious, not ‘cos he was after us but knew that he would be interested in this project, perhaps would want to do the 47 campaign full justice. But as they were all involved in discussions it seemed rude to wander over and take up space then. Perhaps an other time, perhaps. 

Three of us sat there, myself, Mike Luff (who is collaborating on this stage of the project) & Janet. Janet, we didn’t know, but as you do, you get chatting. Why did you come here? Janet told us and each time she spoke, she brought more insight and relevance to what is happening and what could happen. 

I plucked up courage and asked if she’d be interviewed and after doing what many women do, ‘Not me, but I know other people who would be great’, we convinced her to speak. I said that most of the women in the film were generally less keen to speak, or didn’t feel their voice was good enough.

I wanted women as key parts of this project, not for the sake of it but as people who took the ideas of socialism and worked together to practically apply that and that is often how women articulate ideas. Less likely to quote a historical date or time or person but what an idea means now and how that is or is not playing out. Accessible and engaging, well I think so anyway! (And no, not suggesting its only women, but it often is and often working class women will say they are not political but have so much experience of what that means day to day and ideas to make changes, that its made me believe that women they (us) think we have nothing of value to say as we can not speak like ‘them’. Them being men? Or them being the ruling class and the academia that suggests we articulate ourselves in words of wordnessness and exclude the majority. 

Back to our interview with Janet, and it could have been longer as each set of ideas opened up another idea or challenge. We finished and said goodbye after talking about the lobby of the city council, that was going on and what alternatives there could be.  


We then off to do a few more shots of the city at night, our film holds together with words and mainly head and shoulder shots. We didn’t (don’t ) have time or money to shoot much more so we looked to try and get images that represented something of the past and present. How they look or work edited in, we’ll have to see, but we wanted the film to ‘look’ better. Not just images for the sake or shiny well structured frames, but the visual language we are more used to, to add layers to the project.


On tuesday morning Lyne (ex Council Housing worker in the 80’s) who is also in the film, kindly took us round some of the local houses built under the 47 council in Broadgreen. Just as we went down the first road, a woman came out asking us what we were doing. We then had a long conversation about when the houses had been built and that this city council, 30 years ago, built 5000 houses, more than any other council put together under the Thatcher government. Felt proud of being able to share that and the conversation carried on. We found out a mother living there, had brought up her children there and they had moved out now. And then we were told, she would probably have to move from her home for years because of the Bedroom tax. The past and the present collide. 

This project was never meant to be about creating a visual archive of the Liverpool 47 campaign, though that needs to be thought about and done properly. It was about the relevance now, and that example cried out for the need for an alternative to austerity (the con word of this government). It screams out the unfairness and insecurity more and more people are beginging to feel under this government. 


Sadly, I can’t say this would change under Labour, that party isn’t the party of the 80’s. Socialism has been ripped out of the Labour Party and ideas of sharing our resources, our ideas, our ways to make things better, stolen by (mostly) smug self serving careerists. I took part in the protest at the City council the following day with dozens of others. More millions were stolen from the local community without any real debate or fight from the Labour councillors. There was another £32 million of cuts on top of the £141 million already made.  These new cuts propose job cuts, and disgracefully charging for alarms in sheltered housing plus cutting funds for sheltered housing wardens.  Two homeless hostels are also at risk. Having a home or support to manage your home when things become difficult is essential. These cuts will make more people feel insecure and those who have lost their homes, unable to find safe spaces to go to.  I know there are lots of things and campaigns I should be involved in and do more but I know we also need to do this. Its just one small part of the process to open up alternatives to this crisis. 

But before this rambles on, just a few Thank you’s for those days away. Thanks to Lisa L (& wee Joe) who put me up. Lisa had the original idea to do a film about the 47 some years back and we filmed the majority of the interviews together just a month before Joe was born. Thanks to Tony Aitman & Lynne Wilde for letting Mike Luff stay over and Lynne for talking us round the houses (quite literally) and Everton park.  And to Tina & Ruth for taking me to the water before I travelled back. The water moves me too. 



One of my favourite photographs from the Liverpool 47 campaign against the Thatcher cuts in 1980’s – Councillors NOT Convicts. (Though I might turn this phrase round nowadays!)

Liverpool Exhibition Flyer

A public invitation to an exhibition celebrating the achievements of the Liverpool Socialist Council between 1983-1987.

This celebrates the 30 years with a meeting on Sat 27th April at 10.30am Aldephi Hotel, Lime St, Liverpool.

The exhibition then moves onto Unite Liverpool HQ, Jack Jones house until the 14th May.

Further information on the 47 campaign

BACKGROUND: I began working on a project called ‘Don’t mention the 47’ about the  relevance of the Liverpool 47 councillors, who worked with the wider trade union and community, and fought the Thatcher government and huge cuts (sounds familiar?)

It was the idea of Lisa Lonsdale some years back, who has been a close friend for over 20 years, but we didn’t get started on it till I began an MA and wanted to look beyond industrial resistance and the media. Lisa was then 6 months pregnant. (You know how a tight deadline drives you!)

We quickly arranged several interviews one month before Lisa’s baby (Joe) was born and pieced them together for some work in progress screenings in Liverpool in November 2011 and then again updated for screenings & discussion in 2012. We were given free access to Dave Sinclairs photographs,  key images from the time and of the campaign.

The first public screening of the work in progress was at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool to fit in with the City of Radicals, as it was noted that nothing about the 47 campaign in that year long cultural programme.  (Sadly their full website is no longer live but the link was to our FB invite). I ended up using my mobile phone  to document most of the discussion which I arranged for all those in the film to take part on the night.

From that night , I met some of those connected with the Liverpool Free University and  which led to a joint screening & discussion in Spring 2013 .

47 front leaflet

The Liverpool Free University representatives Britt & Penny arranged a venue, Static, and brought their own thinking, discussion and audience to the process. News From Nowhere kindly arranged to sell tickets for us, thanks to John Marstan and several Socialist Party (ex Militants) including  Tony Aitman & Lyne Wild, who were also in the film, brought people to the event and were generally supportive and insightful  from the start.

Overall we had a layered event , though not to say without its complications. Was this  ‘art’ for art sake? Hell no! Is this art? Erm, I don’t think so, I am not an artist but there are art works within the documentary, and its with art forms that we are using  to lift the lid on the story & its relevance today. (Sadly, I haven’t had the tape from the event which would have been great to see and re-listen to the discussion again and share with you.. but these things happen.)

Overall it was an important step in bringing the story and what that could mean today  to a wider audience as well as practically testing out, how we work together.

Surprisingly, we got a review from Nerve for the screening, which also builds on the audience conversation beyond those at the event. I have had other feedback including from Mike Luff, Sophie Critchlow, Leigh Andrews and fellow collaberator Lisa Lonsdale prior to this, which we developed the first work in progress from.

Before the second set of screenings in Spring 2012, I was able to get Lianne Unassa, a great friend and bright creative brain, to give me 5 (long) days of her time to update the edit. She did this over 2 weeks but added more than just ticking and changing a list of dodgy shots or add a few cutaways, she worked with me to look again at the overall structure from on outsiders point of view. What would make this easier to consume and follow? Her work and energy definately improved the film which everyone who had seen it before agreed.

Around 4 weeks after the lively Liverpool Screening, I had one arranged at the Roxy in London, just days before the local elections as that felt like a related. I will put up the discussion from that too soon.

Since then I haven’t worked on the film itself, needed time and resources and lifes bumps and grinds took priority. BUT I did hit out an email in April to the Richmix, a venue in Tower Hamlets in London to see if we could do ‘something’ with the film and Daves’ photographs there. I chose Tower Hamlets as they also had a history of working class political representation that fought cuts with the Poplar councillors.

Oliver, the programmer there, was very keen on the idea of the film and a wider exhibition of Daves’ photographs. So we now have a month long exhibition of his 80’s photographs, including that of the Liverpool 47 campaign, and our film will also be shown one evening there too! Opening Thursday 3rd May, 30 years to the day from when the 47 were elected!
The Liverpool 47 themselves,  are  now involved in creating an educational exhibition supported by Unite in Liverpool to be located inside the Unite HQ from late April too. So we will have parts of the story re-told and shared in 2 cities at the same time!

If YOU want to get involved, can contribute or have something to add, please get in touch.

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WHAT WILL I DO NOW? (This is for me, to remind me, kick my own self and more!)


  • Draft an appeal for funds and collaboration letter to be used in union branches, trades councils etc. JAN
  • Contact Sophie Critchlow of ScriptRead East to hold a related event around our exhibition at the Richmix London in May. JAN
  • Contact Dave Sinclair to meet up and see where his photographic exhibition is at. He will have an exhibition of his 80’s which includes the 47 campaign but also the wider campaigns under Thatcher. JAN
  • Consider who can edit this project and getting more archive material. (Jan)
  • Contact Tower Hamlets Socialists to link up with this exhibition and possible events around it. JAN
  • Contact 47 and those involved in film to discuss any joint publicity or link ups.
  • Set up a Twitter account to assist in  developing a general profile for the project.
  • Hide in a cupboard, cos really this whole project scares me, as it means so much and someone more skilled with a bigger team should do it! Until then..