Activist and comedian Mark Thomas’ new book, The Liar’s Quartet, features three plays.
The first is Bravo Figaro!, a touching story reflecting on his relationship with his dad. Cuckooed, the second, is the story of him as an activist for Campaign Against Arms Trade and finding out one of his best friends was a corporate spy.
Cuckooed gives an insight into the cruel and undemocratic operations of corporations and the police. It includes real stories from others with similar experiences, including one woman who found out her partner was a police spy.
The stories are shocking and awful but it’s not completely surprising how low the state and corporations will go to maintain the system.
They will allow someone not only to spy on a campaign, but to begin close relationshps with activists and cause emotional trauma.
Mark rails against this interference with the democratic right to protest. It highlights how democratic Britain is if we can’t express our political views without fear of being spied upon.
There are constant reminders of the police as protectors of the state.
This is particularly clear in The Red Shed, the third play. It’s about Mark’s experience of the Miners’ Strike and it shares its name with the Labour club in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
In this final play, he takes us on a journey back to when he visited miners’ picket lines, recalling the police beating everyone with truncheons.
He also makes links with the state’s role in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and to the policing of resistance today.
We hear how police intervened in the bakers’ union’s protests against McDonald’s use of zero hour contracts and how our taxes pay to protect a company that evades tax.
It is amazing to read about the Miners’ Strike, the battle they had against the Tories and how important solidarity in struggle is. And struggles today show the strength of workers and the necessity to resist.
Scattered throughout are contributions by friends and fellow activists that are an interesting read. Stories rarely told but that should be heard.
I’d recommend this to any avid Tory hater. It’s an easy, enjoyable read and a clear reminder of the brutal Tory legacy that underlines why we should get them out and fight for Jeremy Corbyn’s policies.
We don’t want five more years of those bastards.