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Days of Hope (1975) – directed by Ken Loach – Episode 4 – General Strike


“Episode Four: General Strike” 

The final episode, “General Strike”, is the longest (135 minutes) of the series. It presents a damning indictment of the betrayal of the miners by treacherous trade union leaders at a time when the Strike could have brought down the Government and led to a radical change in British society following a Trotskyite rather than Stalinist model. Scrupulously researched and historically accurate, despite contemporary charges of bias, Allen and Loach’s series used discursive models of political discussion adopted later in Land of Freedom to avoid the dangerously monological approach of most political dramas such as the pro-Israel US mini-series Holocaust and War and Remembrance. It also illustrates the political and personal tensions within the Hargreaves and Matthews families. While Ben and Sarah condemn the Labour Party and trade union leadership’s betrayal of the working-class, Philip pompously follows a right-wing revisionist line. This line would later characterise future Labour politicians who left their Party to found the Social Democrats in the 1980s, to say nothing of Thatcher’s real heir, Tony Blair. This episode also reveals that the BBC under John Reith (the founding director general) was also a tool of government.

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