Sunday, 20 July 2014

Trouble at The Mill

"It used to be our moral duty to take care of the poor and the vulnerable. That's what the carpenter's son from Nazareth preached. But our parliamentarians could teach that humble water walker a thing or two. Teaching that poverty is a crime and the criminals are the paupers. It's their idleness, insobriety and vice that causes poverty.

The English labourer did not cause the downturn. A banking crisis in America started it. So why should he suffer?

The 'wise' men in Westminster know that the solution to poverty is not to increase wages or end unemployment, no. The solution to poverty is to make the hungry hungrier. Inflict even more suffering and indignity upon the unfortunate so that sooner of later they will find employment or die. Either outcome reduces the financial burden on the ratepayer"

That impassioned, well reasoned diatribe against the government's stance on the working class is not in fact one that is levelled at the present Coalition of 2014, but rather one against the government of 1838 and spoken by John Doherty, the Irish born and Manchester based campaigner for workers rights, played by Aidan McArdle in John Fay's excellent factually based historical drama series The Mill, which returned tonight to Channel 4 for a second series. 

But I'm sure you'll agree, as you read it, that those very words accurately sum up the present too and the government's determination to blame all the world's ills on the poorest people in society to justify their desecration of the Welfare State. Let's not forget we live in an age of Atos and Esther McVey (the cunt) whose belief is that heartless Tory policy actually 'liberates' people from benefit. Hmm, yeah. Like the Nazis 'liberated' the Jews from existence.

The first series of The Mill was, when broadcast last year, Channel 4's biggest ratings winner. A beautifully bleak, stirring and politicised tale set and indeed filmed in Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire, it featured a stand out performance from young Liverpudlian actress Kerrie Hayes as bolshie Mill girl Esther Price (she's thankfully back for this second run) and helped restore my faith in television to see socialist politics appear on prime time once more. As the exchange from tonight's episode above proves the writer John Fay makes it his business to not only educate the viewer on what life was like in the 1800s, but also cleverly compares and contrasts the situation of the day with the one we find ourselves in now. The message is that very little has changed sadly, but in taking a platform to point that out one hopes that he may just help to bring awareness to a nation who, for these past few years, have become increasingly apolitical, to its own detriment. 

And kudos too to Fay for slipping one of the funniest tongue in cheek lines possible in this series two debut as Matthew McNulty's heroic honest man of toil Daniel (pictured above) was faced with the arrival to Quarry Bank of new economic migrants from the south, where work is scarce to non existent he sympathised by saying "I know it's grim down south" One in the eye for all those lazy London-centric critics who took one look at The Mill last year and churned out the stereotypical "Eee it's grim 'oop north' comments by way of a 'review'.

The Mill will air on Sunday nights, 8pm on Channel 4 for the next five weeks and is seriously recommended viewing.

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