Film recommendation this week is 'Pride', based on a true story of the struggles of the LGBT community and the Miners in 1984. This seemingly unlikely union is powerful and touching. Both groups were being battered by Thatcher's administration, the police and the tabloid media with the black cloud of Aids adding fuel to the fire of ground level prejudice.
Set on the road between London and Wales, it starts and ends at a Pride March, led by activist Mark Ashton. A story of common interest and fighting a common enemy:
Mike Jackson – a co-founder of Lesbian and Gays Support theMiners, on which the film focuses – tells me that the episode “has beenairbrushed out of history by omission and neglect”. It is a travesty, becausethis part of history reveals the true meaning of solidarity, encapsulated bythe trade union slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all”. The basis ofsolidarity is this: you have common interests and a common enemy that eclipseyour differences, and you strengthen your hand by uniting and using yourcollective strength. As Jacksonputs it: “The one thing the ruling class don’t want is solidarity; they don’twant us to join the dots up.”
Socialism, humour and heartbreaking losses, all to a soundtrack that includes Bronski Beat, Yazoo, King, Dead or Alive, with all the campery and fun, the women were pretty fab and integral in this film too; no manic pixie dreams girls to be seen here. 'Pride' is a feel good film, but also deadly serious portrayal of the collective power that a Tory government seek to fracture. To quash any hint of a labour movement. And though this all sounds so serious, the film is made by a script written with a humour that could draw in those that might usually turn away.
A movement written out of history, this film repairs some of the damage done by the 2011's 'The Iron Lady' where not a miner was mentioned, very conveniently. 'Pride' reminds us that activism is worthy, that 'Pits and Perverts' gave strength despite the miners being defeated and those communities still suffering today. I'm not sure if that passion or that labour movement still exists today to the same extent... but the film gives hope in a political climate where unions struggle to have any power and don't exist in the privatisation of just about everything. Watch it and work out who the real enemy is, it's certainly not 'the gays', the vulnerable who need help, or working people.
The film ends with The Communards track 'For A Friend' written for Mark Ashton who died in 1987 from an Aids related illness. A tragic loss on so many personal and political levels.
The British tradition that Thatcher could not destroy.