British Universities Film & Video Council

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People’s Flag, The (5 Parts)

Synopsis
A series of five programmes offering an alternative socialist history of Britain in the 20th century.
Part 1: looks at how the Labour Party developed at a time when the British Empire was still strong. It contrasts Labour’s support for the First World War with the anti-war stance of the Russian Bolsheviks. Considers the impact of the Russian revolution on the British labour movement, and describes the militancy of the post-war period which culminated in the 1926 General Strike. Examines both the first short-lived Labour government, swept away by a ‘red scare’ in 1924, and the second Labour government of 1929. Ends with the fall of the latter government in 1931, and its leader Ramsay MacDonald’s act of betrayal in heading a right-wing ‘National Government’.
Part 2: Set against the slump of the 1930s, the rise of Fascism, and the Second World War. How industrialists in Germany and Italy funded Fascism in order to crush the left. Relates how the British establishment supported Mosley’s Blackshirts, and how they appeased Hitler in the hope that he would attack the Soviet Union rather than compete for colonies. The role of the Communist Party in leading the struggle against cuts in unemployment benefit in the 1930s and in organising volunteers to fight against the fascist rebellion in Spain. How workers in Britain did not always have the same motives as the Tories for fighting Facism. How the establishment switched after 1941 from being anti-Soviet to being pro-Soviet. The radicalising effect of the war on British people, and ends with Labour’s landslide post-war election victory in 1945.
Part 3: Looks at the years when Labour and the Tories agreed that welfare capitalism was possible and desirable. Examines the reforms of the post-war Labour government, Labour’s involvement with colonial warfare in Vietnam and Malaya, and the anti-communism of the period. Relates how the United States’ influence on British society increased, through the Marshall Plan and the siting of bases in Britain. Describes the upheavals in the Labour movement that followed two key events in 1956: Soviet leader Khruschev’s speech condemning Stalin and the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Gives voice to the arguments of the Labour Party over atomic weapons, and charts the birth of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Ends with the decline of the economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s, and the defeat of the Tories in 1964, which led to Labour taking office under Harold Wilson.
Part 4: Covers the period when the post-war boom came to an end. The Wilson government’s attempt to modernise the British economy and the defeat of its proposals to control the unions. The continuing ‘special relationship’ with the United States led to Wilson’s failure to condemn the horrors of the American invasion of Vietnam. New political forces emerged on the left, prompted by disillusionment with Labour’s actions. Attacks on black people began as the economic situation deteriorated. The introduction of troops into Northern Ireland in 1969. The industrial conflicts of 1970, ending with the defeat of Tory prime minister Edward Heath by the miners in 1974. The election of Labour in 1974 and Tony Benn’s experience as industry minister. Labour’s attempt to control wages through the ‘social contract’ and its adoption of harsh economic policies under pressure from the International Monetary Fund. Labour’s defeat in 1979 signals the end of welfare capitalism.
Part 5: How the Conservatives, along with financiers and multinationals, have brought about major changes in Britain’s economy. How the Labour Party has handled the issues of defence, racism and Northern Ireland. Questions whether a future Labour government would be able to reconcile a compassionate social policy with the demands of the present economic system.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of production
1987
Documentation
Accompanying chronology and bibliography.
Uses
Undergraduate courses on modern British political history.*
Subjects
History; Politics & government
Keywords
Fascism; Labour Party (Great Britain); socialism; United Kingdom

Credits

Director
Chris Reeves
Producer
Lin Solomon
Writer
Stuart Hood
Contributor
Derek Jones

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 0 PAL
Price
£60.00
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
300 minutes
Year
2009

Sections

Title
First betrayal, The (1914-31)
Synopsis
Part 1: looks at how the Labour Party developed at a time when the British Empire was still strong. It contrasts Labour's support for the First World War with the anti-war stance of the Russian Bolsheviks. Considers the impact of the Russian revolution on

Title
Fascism and war (1931-45)
Synopsis
Part 2: Set against the slump of the 1930s, the rise of Fascism, and the Second World War. How industrialists in Germany and Italy funded Fascism in order to crush the left. Relates how the British establishment supported Mosley's Blackshirts, and how the

Title
Victory to consensus (1945-64)
Synopsis
Part 3: Looks at the years when Labour and the Tories agreed that welfare capitalism was possible and desirable. Examines the reforms of the post-war Labour government, Labour's involvement with colonial warfare in Vietnam and Malaya, and the anti-communi

Title
Who runs the country? (1964-79)
Synopsis
Part 4: Covers the period when the post-war boom came to an end. The Wilson government's attempt to modernise the British economy and the defeat of its proposals to control the unions. The continuing 'special relationship' with the United States led to Wi

Title
Enemy within, The
Synopsis
Part 5: How the Conservatives, along with financiers and multinationals, have brought about major changes in Britain's economy. How the Labour Party has handled the issues of defence, racism and Northern Ireland. Questions whether a future Labour governme

Production Company

Name

Platform Films

Web
http://www.platformfilms.co.uk External site opens in new window

Sponsor

Name

Channel Four Television

Phone
071-396 4444
Address
LONDON
SW1P 2TX

Distributor

Name

Platform Films

Email
Platform.films@virgin.net
Web
http://www.platformfilms.co.uk/html%20Site/index.html External site opens in new window
Phone
07973 278956
Fax
020 7278 8394
Address
Unit 14 Pennybank Chambers
33-35 St John’s Square
LONDON
EC1M 4DS

Record Stats

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