Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Chance to See Me Talk About My Book!

Janine Booth gives a presentation about her new book, Guilty and Proud of it! Poplar's rebel councillors and guardians 1919-1925.

Wednesday 4 November, 7pm
Venue: Pages of Hackney bookshop, 70 Lower Clapton Road
Sponsored by Hackney TUC

Free entry. Refreshments provided. The book will be on sale at this event at the reduced price of £10 (RRP £12.95)

Please email Eleanor at Pages of Hackney to book your seat.


In the aftermath of the First World War, thirty Labour councillors went to prison rather than accepting an unfair funding system. With unemployment rising in 1921, Poplar Borough Council could not help provide relief drawing only on the limited wealth of one poor London borough.

Poplar councillors, including future Labour leader George Lansbury, demanded that rates from richer areas should help. So Poplar refused to pay over rates to the London County Council, and thus began the Poplar Revolt. In contrast, Hackney Council - led by Herbert Morrison - refused to confront the law and insisted on remaining 'respectable'.

This book tells the story of the support mobilised by Poplar Council, beginning when newly-enfranchised working-class voters elected Labour to run the Council in 1919. For the next two years, it improved life for Poplar residents, coming into ever-increasing conflict with the central authorities and the local government funding system. The crisis came in 1921, when Poplar Council refused to levy a portion of its rates.

Poplar's fight took its Councillors to prison in September 1921. After six weeks, the courts released them from prison and the government changed the law to redistribute funding from richer to poorer boroughs: they had won!

With local councils today once again preparing to cut services and/or increase rents and charges, this book - and this event - tells a story that is very relevant and inspiring today.


The author is the former President of Hackney TUC, and Secretary of RMT's London Transport Regional Council.

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