Socialist Party :: Film – Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast


Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/968/26367

From The Socialist newspaper, October 25, 2017

Film – Dennis Skinner: The Nature of the Beast

Dennis Skinner speaking at the 2016 Durham Miners Gala, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)

Tony Mulhearn Socialist Party of Liverpool

This biopic on Dennis Skinner, directed by Dan Draper of Liverpool, portrays the individual as a whole.

In addition to his famous political aggressiveness when he attacks the Tories and their institutions, his love of nature, of singing – which is natural for good karaoke – and his love of walking in great parks come to life.

The film is most gripping when it portrays his unequivocal rejection of capitalist toryism, hypocrisy and inequality, and his identification with struggling workers.

Stand firm with dockers jailed in Pentonville for defying the 1971 industrial relations law of Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath.

Provide unequivocal support to Clay Cross advisers when they defied Heath’s housing finance law.

Declare in the Commons that he would be on the picket lines of the miners and give his salary to the struggle. And implacably opposing the expulsion of socialist councilors from Liverpool.

Dennis used the parliamentary platform to expose millions of people to the crimes of capitalism and the virtues of socialist policies.

In a revealing clip, he explains that he has never been on an all-party “fact-finding” foreign expedition, saying the prospect of socializing with conservatives and liberals appalled him.

It looks like a man who has never lost touch with his class. A miner who brought the values ​​of class solidarity to Westminster.

The film was primarily shot in 2014, before Jeremy Corbyn assumed his current authority. The lack of any reference to him gave the film extra strength.

Unlike many right-wing “converts” to Corbynism, he has maintained his sweeping statements even when the establishment viewed them as “unpopular.”

However, without the checks and balances of party democracy – torn apart by former Labor leader Neil Kinnock and his cronies – even some good class fighters can lose their socialist compass.

This is shown by a report in The Independent on September 26, 1998, titled “Meet Tony Blair’s New Best Friend: Dennis Skinner.” He continued, “Tony Blair has found a new best friend.

“Dennis Skinner, the left winger known as the Bolsover Beast, has become a surprising confidant of the Prime Minister.

Downing Street has indicated that Mr Blair would be delighted if Mr Skinner is, as expected, re-elected to the Labor National Executive Committee this week.

“The MP for Bolsover, Derbyshire, a former miner, has become the unofficial link between the Prime Minister and the so-called ‘clumsy team’ of leftists in the Commons.

“Mr Blair phones him regularly for advice and invites him for tea in his parliamentary office. ‘They get along very well,” said a source from Downing Street. “The Prime Minister has a very high opinion of Dennis – he has a soft spot for him like we all do.

“‘The Dennis Skinner of 1998 is not the Dennis Skinner of 1988 or 1978. He has become much more constructive in his vision and approach’.”

Subsequent events revealed to many on the left that any reliance on Blair was a calamitous error in judgment.

Nonetheless, if Labor’s 600,000 members are empowered to select the parliamentary candidates of their choice, they could do worse than candidates who embrace the best of the values ​​Dennis Skinner has championed for decades.

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