Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pride - an inspiring film with lessons for today

This really is the kind of history which the late Michael Gove would
call "bunk". It is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It
is about trade union solidarity - three words Gove would choke on.

It is a version of the true story of "Lesbians and Gays Support Miners."
The thing it does include and the keynote of the story is the idea of
solidarity exemplified with the handshake. Miners shaking hands with
lesbian and gay activists, gay and straight Londoners shaking hands and
seeing the miners as the front line troops in the battle against the
hated Thatcher government.

And in addition to all that, don't go away with the idea this is a
worthy film which you ought to watch out of moral duty. Not at all. It
is a witty and intelligent narrative with brilliant acting from (for my
money) George MacKay as Joe, the repressed suburban gay young man swept
up in the movement and Ben Schnetzer as the driving force. All of the
cast do a brilliant job and you will have your own nominees. Bill Nighy
and Imelda Staunton do not need any recommendation from me.

The story (no spoilers here) shows the gay community, initially
reluctant to support the miners gradually being won round. It shows the
ups and downs of the attitudes of rank and file miners towards the gay
community and it ends with the magnificent intervention of the National
Union of Mineworkers in Gay Pride against the "no politics here"
attitude of the bureaucracy. Anyone who has attended Pride has met that
inflated bureaucracy and they could most certainly do with watching this

It is a feel-good film despite the victory of Thatcher and her bully
boys in the end, the mood of solidarity which existed at that time has
important lessons for the present day. Thatcher is alive and well in the
Tory government, despite her multi-million pound funeral.

The film had to stop somewhere and the Gay Pride march was as good a
place as any. We should remember that it was working class solidarity
which ultimately ditched Thatcher and her hated poll tax.

The utter brutality of Margaret Thatcher and her police thugs is skirted
around and the hatred of the newspapers against Gay People in the wake
of the AIDS advertising of the government is mentioned a bit but the
vicious editorials in The Sun at the time are probably too disgusting
for the audience to believe.

Go and see this film.



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