Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Common (2014) & the Joint Enterprise Law


Common was a one off drama, broadcast on BBC1 on the 6th July this year, and written by the great  Jimmy McGovern.

McGovern, the man who once said "why write drama that doesn't matter?" could certainly not be accused of doing so himself, and it's to the benefit of television and its audience as a whole.

OK, so this 90 minute feature about the controversial Joint Enterprise Law (the kind of law that has seen the likes of Jordan Cunliffe - no relation I hasten to add - languishing in prison for the murder of Warrington family man Gary Newlove, simply for being in the vicinity that fateful night) is not McGovern's finest work, and it's nothing necessarily new from him either -  feeling like a longer episode of his anthology series The Street or, more particularly given the legal issues at its heart, Accused - but by God, it still has something to say and it's good to hear such things in a society that is becoming more and more passive and accepting.

An excellent cast (including Nico Mirellegro, Susan Lynch, Daniel Mays, Jodhi May and Michael Gambon) help deliver the message and there was also a great soundtrack from Robert Wyatt.

So what exactly is the Joint Enterprise Law? Well, when I say that it's a 300 year old law that was originally put in place to discourage duelling you'll agree it has no place in modern society. When I tell you that it is currently actively being used to find people - often young working class people - guilty of crimes based on the proposition that, by being in the vicinity, they may feasibly have lent encouragement to the main perpetrator then I hope you'll be horrified and that you'll want to sign the following petitions

change.org

e-petitions

and visit the website for more info here

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