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In the 1980s, Liverpool's fortunes plummeted. Docks shut, jobs vanished and neighbourhoods erupted into riots. Into this fractious world stepped a group of hard-left politicians that would be celebrated and vilified in turn - Militant.

Three and a half decades on, Militant is still a loaded word in British politics. In Liverpool, many families will never forgive them. But for others, they were heroes.

This is the story of how a secretive group of left-wingers captured power in one of Britain's great cities, and took on Margaret Thatcher. It's about what happens when you try to put your ideals into practice - and how it can go spectacularly wrong. It involves skulduggery, taxis and a case of missing orchids.

This is the story of the most controversial group in British politics. It's the story of Militant in Liverpool.

The Brink Laudable

    • Dokumentation

In the 1980s, Liverpool's fortunes plummeted. Docks shut, jobs vanished and neighbourhoods erupted into riots. Into this fractious world stepped a group of hard-left politicians that would be celebrated and vilified in turn - Militant.

Three and a half decades on, Militant is still a loaded word in British politics. In Liverpool, many families will never forgive them. But for others, they were heroes.

This is the story of how a secretive group of left-wingers captured power in one of Britain's great cities, and took on Margaret Thatcher. It's about what happens when you try to put your ideals into practice - and how it can go spectacularly wrong. It involves skulduggery, taxis and a case of missing orchids.

This is the story of the most controversial group in British politics. It's the story of Militant in Liverpool.

    Scuttling around in taxis

    Scuttling around in taxis

    In the final episode of The Brink – the podcast that travels back to 1980s Liverpool to look at the rise and fall of Militant – we see the nadir of the political group.

    The Liverpool Echo's Julia Rampen speaks to key figures from the time, including former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, Militant's Derek Hatton, and more.

    She explores the famous Neil Kinnock speech, aimed at Militant, their expulsion from the Labour party, and whether the 30,000 redundancy notices were actually "scuttled around" in taxis.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 32 Min.
    Militant on the brink

    Militant on the brink

    After winning a game of brinkmanship with the Thatcher government in 1984, Liverpool Council is enlisted in the rate-cap rebellion of 1985. But when almost all the other rebel councils cave in, the city finds itself on its own.

    The councillors face an option: raise the rates, or back an illegal budget. The latter could result in them voting for their own bankruptcy.

    In this episode, Julia Rampen explores the consequences of Militant's actions, the 30,000 redundancy notices, and whether Liverpool council underestimated Thatcher.

    She speaks to key figures from the time, including former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, Militant's Derek Hatton, and more.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 17 Min.
    Dented shield or no shield at all?

    Dented shield or no shield at all?

    At a time when Liverpool was fragmenting in the early 1980s, the city found an unlikely ally in a Tory minister.

    Michael Heseltine - nicknamed Tarzan - spent three weeks walking the streets, until he became something of a bizarre local attraction for the neighbourhood kids.

    He listed the Albert Dock, organised the Garden Festival and stood up for the city in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet meetings when others were ready to condemn it to "managed decline".

    But then Heseltine was moved to defence, just at the time when a Militant-dominated council pledged to resist Thatcher's cuts.

    The result was a game of brinkmanship between the Iron Lady and a group of councillors who were prepared to risk everything - even personal ruin - for their ideals.

    Julia Rampen speaks to key figures from the time, including Michael Heseltine, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, Militant's Derek Hatton, and more.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 22 Min.
    Orchids, housing, and race relations

    Orchids, housing, and race relations

    In the latest episode of The Brink, Julia Rampen moves the focus from Liverpool’s fight with Westminster to the changes that were happening in the city after Britain’s most left-wing local council got into power.

    She travels back to 1980s Liverpool and looks at the challenges faced by the Militant-dominated Labour council.

    From orchids to housing to race relations, Julia talks to the key figures and experts, including Derek Hatton, Malik Al-Nasir, Professor Jon Tonge, Lesley Mahmood, and more.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 20 Min.
    Militant City - Meet the new regime

    Militant City - Meet the new regime

    In 1983, as Margaret Thatcher re-enters 10 Downing Street, a Militant-dominated Labour Party wins a sweeping majority in Liverpool.

    Taking control of Liverpool City Council, the Labour group is led by John Hamilton, Derek Hatton, and Tony Byrne.

    But who are these mismatch of leaders? Are they part of the Militant movement, or are some of them puppets?

    Travel back to 1980s Liverpool and see the fight between Militant and the Thatcher government.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 18 Min.
    Liverpool in the 1980s

    Liverpool in the 1980s

    In this episode, Julia Rampen travels back to 1980s Liverpool, where the Militant-controlled council is poised to clash with Margaret Thatcher.

    By 1980, a city once known for its millionaires is almost unrecognisable.

    The docks lie empty. Hundreds of factories have closed, taking thousands and thousands of jobs with them. One in four workers is unemployed.

    Margaret Thatcher's cutting money to local government is hitting Liverpool the hardest.

    Julia speaks to those who remember the desperate days in the city, where houses became slums, and the government prepares for managed decline.

    Presented and produced by Julia Rampen

    Edited by Daniel J. McLaughlin

    • 22 Min.

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