Labour MP Chris Williamson certainly seems to have enjoyed Mike Leigh’s new film Peterloo, which recreates the 1819 massacre in St Peter’s Field in Manchester. Williamson, the Corbynite member for Derby North quoted in his enthusiastic tweet the Shelley poem, The Mask of Anarchy. Shelley wrote it to commemorate the massacre during which 15 people were killed and an estimated 700 injured when armed yeomanry attacked 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters
Williamson is a keen supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party – one that celebrates proletarian struggle and solidarity, even when it has sometimes led to conflict. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, infamously described the violent student protests of 2010 as “the best of our movement”. So it was always likely that Peterloo, a film about the bloody suppression of a popular demonstration would find favour on the left.
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