What is poverty? 1969 Nottingham

An extract from the Thames Television special where we look at the St Ann’s ward of Nottingham and how poverty has driven people to desperate measures in order to make ends meet. First shown: 04/03/1969

Laurence Platt: a life very well lived in the cause of the working

THE 100 years of the Communist Party are full of stories of momentous struggles on a local, national and international level — and full of the inspirational lives of CP comrades … in their trade unions and communities, in workplaces, campaigns and daily struggles of working-class people to assert themselves and shape the world.

The CPB, as part of its centenary celebrations, looking back at its history and forwards to an equally demanding future, will be publishing a book of short biographies, Red Lives.

As a taster we publish here a contribution to it about Laurence Platt who died in January 2019 — and who contributed in so many ways to working class life, culture and struggle.

LAURENCE PLATT, born 1950, lived in the Nottingham area. The Midlands community played a big part in shaping him, but Laurence was also rooted in the world’s working class, and in its varied history and culture.

Internationalism was fundamental to him. His commitment to understanding and sharing the vibrant history of the working class was in no way “academic.”

Together they formed the essence of the man, and a life so varied — with the powerful imperative of class politics running through his 50 years of activism as a musician, historian, trade union leader and Communist Party cadre.

His love of English working-class music and tradition illustrated his politics, though Vaughan Williams’s Lark Ascending also moved him to tears.

The 1960s folk revival saw him grow as an accomplished musician with mastery of concertina and an instantly recognisable voice.

He performed throughout his life in clubs, pubs and folk festivals around the country — or just in mates’ homes and back yards with the same joy and verve, often with long-term close friend Sharon Clancy, whose first impression was “how he moved like a dancer … a beautiful man inside and out.”

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