Friday, 6 July 2018

Faces from a demonstration..... no.5 the politicians

I should not be surprised I suppose that the passage of nearly 40 years has made it difficult for me to name some of the people on the platform.

There, staring back at me is Denis Healey, while looking out across the crowd is Dennis Skinner, but the three to either side of him I can’t place.

The chap with the glasses I vaguely know but his name remains elusive and of the other two sadly I have no idea.

All will have spoken at the demonstration in Birmingham in 1983 which was part a protest to the rising level of unemployment and a platform for advocating a set of policies which would offer jobs to people.

But the Labour Party was in opposition and would remain so until 1997, and while Dennis Skinner would remain an MP arguing for radical change, Denis Haley would never again hold a Ministerial position.

I can’t remember much of the day, other than that Keith Tom and I had travelled down from Manchester in Keith’s car, and the march which preceded the demonstration and rally took a route off the beaten track which led us past closed industrial estates and rows of terraced houses.

The speakers included Michael Foot, Stan Orme, Eric Heffer and Tony Benn, but after 35 years I am hard pressed to remember if Denis Healey spoke or for that matter who else addressed the meeting.

Location; Birmingham

Pictures; Faces from a demonstration, 1983 Birmingham from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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