"In Lancashire, babies don't toddle, they side-step. Queuing women talk of 'nipping round the blindside'. Rugby league provides our cultural adrenalin. It's a physical manifestation of our rules of life, comradeship, honest endeavour, and a staunch, often ponderous allegiance to fair play." Colin Welland The quote from Oscar-winning writer Colin Welland has been repeated amongst… Continue reading Seize The Day: Twelve Ways To Make Rugby League Great Again
Today, as we approach another World Cup, the government is advising fans not to travel for their own safety rather than the opponents. As for the stadiums, we now look set to move into yet another era. The seats that signified the age of the fan as the customer—rather than the caged animal—will be ripped out as a… Continue reading Hostile Environment: When Football Fans Were Treated Like ‘Slum People’
In 1979 42% of the British population lived in a council house. Today the figure is less than 8%. The drop has led to an inflated housing market, insecure tenancies and a sustained cultural attack on the working class. As Britain endures its worst housing crisis since the war, with 1.8m households on the waiting list, can Labour revitalise the municipal dream? Municipal… Continue reading Broken Dreams: The Rise and Fall of British Council Housing
1972 was a tumultuous year in Britain's history. The Heath Government faced down unprecedented industrial and social conflict. The National Front was on the rise. Labour swung to the left and unemployment hit the fatal one million mark. Amidst the chaos, Great Britain RL appointed the first black captain of any British national side. It was done without mass… Continue reading Clive Sullivan: The Man Who Broke Rugby’s Racial Barrier
Six months working in the bargain basement of the British economy almost finished James Bloodworth off. His inside account is a shocking insight into the dystopian practices that govern the new working class, who are working harder than ever for their poverty. “We are living in a world in which nobody is free, in which hardly anybody… Continue reading Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain
It’s an inconvenient truth that Rugby League is at a major crossroads in its history. At the same time the Labour Party must confront its traditional voters over Brexit. As League looks to new markets in Toronto, Boston and New York, Labour is increasingly reliant on its inner city activist base to win the next election. Are they in danger of… Continue reading Managed Decline: Will Labour and Rugby League break with their Heartlands?
Winston Churchill only rode on the underground once. It was in 1926 during the General Strike. As Gary Oldman's new film is dismissed as a fantasy, there remains a deep hatred for Churchill in the coalfields of Wales and Northern England. It was the aftermath of the great war that remained with every miner, docker and steelworker forever. Labour won in 1945… Continue reading Churchill vs The Miners: His ‘Darkest Hour’
At the beginning of the 1990s, single mothers became the 'enemy of the people' in the eyes of hard-right Conservative MPs. But when the party looked to moralise on the issue, they discovered that single mothers were not an alien from an unruly underclass - but within everyone's families, especially the ones of high-ranking Tory Cabinet Ministers.… Continue reading Sex, Lies and Hypocrisy: The Last Time Sleaze Brought Down The Tories