Whether they know it or not, politicians aren’t that popular. That sentence may seem quite odd considering our votes elect them into office in the first place. Perhaps it’s the way they seem totally disconnected from the plight of the regular citizen or maybe it’s something to do with the way they seem to betray the public by changing their positions to suit their needs or outright lying and expecting us to believe whatever they say. Someone whose remained relatively consistent throughout his political career is Labour MP for Bolsover Dennis Skinner. An 85 year old socialist with a penchant for speaking his mind regardless of the consequences, Skinner has been in parliament for 47 years. His brand of politics has made him an enemy of the establishment and a working class hero. Unsurprisingly there’s a documentary on him called Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast.
One of the key parts of a documentary is the way information about the documentary subject is presented. Skinner himself provides his own indepth commentary on his life and his political career which is interwoven with interview testimony from his four surviving brothers, residents from his constituency and archive footage of previous interviews and speeches along with news alerts. The interviews with Skinner and his surviving family gives a more personal twist that gives a very authentic feel. It also brings alive a time most of us could never know, an era in politics that seems set to repeat itself and a figure rarely seen in British politics. Skinner doesn’t appear as a standard British politician. He’s a former coal miner turned politician from a small working class town in Derbyshire.
One of the more interesting aspects that is explored in the documentary and is one of Skinner’s key issues is the way in which the poor and working class are treated in contrast to those with wealth. It’s somewhat disheartening to know that despite efforts to change the status quo, there is still a major divide between the working class, the middle class and the wealthy/political elite. Some of the wealthy seem to have everything to their advantage whilst the rest of us are paying the price for a broken economy with cuts after cuts to essential services. Whilst it’s a shame that wealth inequality is an issue that runs rampant today, Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast gives an ounce of hope for those who feel they don’t have the resources to make a difference or those who feel politicians will always be narcissists hungry for power. If a young coal miner from Clay Cross could rise up to become one of the most memorable and effective members of parliament, there is hope for the rest of us.
Whether you agree with his far left political views or not, there’s no denying his unique presence in the British political zeitgeist. An indepth documentary that goes beyond the Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast is a must watch for anyone with an interest in British politics.
Dennis Skinner: Nature Of The Beast is out 8th Sept