This is from a comrade in the North London branch. He is the branch treasurer and a member of the branch committee.

“My film is Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) based on a novel of the same name by Alan Sillitoe who also wrote the screenplay. It’s about the life of a lathe worker at the Raleigh bicycle factory in Nottingham, my hometown, called Arthur Seaton. I first saw it in the early 1970s. It was striking to see Nottingham  working-class life depicted on screen in an accurate (apart from the accents!) ,authentic and non-patronising way. What I got from the film was not a personal morality tale (Arthur was having an affair with the wife of one of his fellow workers). Nor did I see him as the harbinger of  a more individualistic, materialistic strand in working-class life which would  eventually lead to the Thatcher regime in the 1980s. Far from it.

What I recognised (and liked) was Arthur’s attitude and outlook : he hates the bosses (“don’t let the bastards grind you down”) ; he despises social climbing ( about the foreman : “he wants to get on – yes Mr Robbo, no Mr Robbo”) ; and he has a fighting spirit (“I’ve still got some fight in me, not like most people”).

The film prodded me to find a political outlet for this attitude and outlook. The obvious route, Labour, was discredited by a right-wing machine which controlled the city for no apparent benefit (apart from its own) or purpose. Such scepticism was confirmed by a visit to a university Labour Club in 1975. The speaker was Bill Rodgers MP ,one of the ‘Gang of Four’ who defected to form the Social Democratic Party six years later. His audience was a bunch of posh boys (and they were all boys) doubtless destined for lucrative careers in the City, policy or Parliament.

Next came an International Marxist Group rally addressed by the well-known Trotskyist Ernest Mandel. His speech was followed by a succession of ‘contributions’ by young men (and they were all men)  in woolly roll neck jumpers and beards who confidently predicted a British Revolution in the coming months. Whatever planet it was they inhabited in order to arrive at such a  prediction, it certainly wasn’t  proletarian Nottingham.

Every Saturday afternoon I made a pilgrimage to the record and book shops in the city centre. This entailed a walk through the Market Square where, come rain or shine, a middle-aged man would be giving a speech, sometimes to just a handful of people. He was John Peck ,ex-RAF officer and Communist community organiser (before the phrase was invented) in the Bulwell district of the city. Every Saturday night our pub crawl (another Arthur Seaton habit) would begin at The Bell Inn. Equally regularly, there would be a group of young Communists at the bar discussing an article in The Morning Star or Challenge (increasingly loudly as the evening wore on , it has to be said). A growing interest was turned into a commitment by the news from my brother that a cousin, ex-coalminer and then bus driver, had joined the Party after John Peck had helped him to sort out a rent dispute with the council. These were Arthur Seaton’s kind of people.

What ties ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ and this story together is that John Peck appears fleetingly in the film, addressing a factory gate meeting as Arthur Seaton cycles past. The symbolism of this scene escapes me.

Next review coming soon
Hidden content


  1. The Tragedy of the Worker The Tragedy of the Worker is a crucial account of how the the natural world is being destroyed by the death cult of capitalism, says ANDY HEDGECOCK
  2. System Change Not Climate Change Ideological imperatives ignore pressing current concerns about impending environmental disaster
  3. Parents For a Future Urgent call for radical action on climate crisis
  4. On the history of the Coal Industry
  5. A review about the French Revolution
  6. Middle class membership of the Communist Party 
  7. Britain’s communists by John Green
  8. A bibliography of the Communist Party 
  9. A critique of the Communist Party by Ben Harker
  10. Raising the Red Flag in Wales