Seeing this, Maggie Thatcher picture brandishing, young man, who got egged at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, reminded me of another northern anti-tory demo, in Sheffield in 1983. That’s me on the right. Or left, if we’re talking politically. The Thatcher Unwelcoming Committee, around the Cutler’s Hall, was another very loud, but peaceful, (save for a couple of errant eggings) show of contempt for tory policies that were hurting the worst off. As in Manchester, the atmosphere was charged, the pent up disgust, palpable..
It was the year after I left my 5 year stint in a factory, to do comedy full time; the year before the miner’s strike began, and the year before the film, Threads portrayed the city, in post-apocalypse nightmare. Folk turned out en masse, to protest at Maggie’s turning up in our city, to attend the lavish Cutler’s Feast, whilst her government were busy closing down our industries and destroying livelihoods, increasing unemployment, reducing the power of the trade unions and escalating nuclear spending. The placards held up thirty-two years ago, such as Jobs Not Bombs, and Trade Union banners, were similar to those in Manchester this week. They say it’s Labour that want to go back to the 80s, but the government seems to be doing a good job of re-creating it, themselves..
I was never that keen on demos and marching, as it took up too much valuable drinking time. So I was happier, after a day’s ‘Maggie Maggie Maggie, Out Out Out’-ing, when the shenanigans continued at local venue, The Leadmill, where the day’s news footage was replayed on a big screen, onstage. Many hadn’t been able to see their iron-lady nemesis arrive, behind the crowds and security, during the day, so not surprisingly, a huge cacophony of extending booing drowned out the news commentary, as she emerged from a car, up on the screen. Someone lobbed a drink at the screen, well, there’s always one, isn’t there? Then local band, The Mysterons played a set, finishing with a 40 minute version of Stand Down Margaret. I have never danced so hard..
Keep on Keeping On