A moving, brutal account of a nation on the brink of revolution, Robert Rae’s startling account of the impact of the 1926 General Strike offers irresistible parallels with a world in economic crisis in 2012. March 1926: the Samuel Commission recommends …

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Miners Film Happy Lands-1572210

A moving, brutal account of a nation on the brink of revolution, Robert Rae’s startling
account of the impact of the 1926 General Strike offers irresistible parallels with a world in
economic crisis in 2012.

March 1926: the Samuel Commission recommends a 13.5% reduction in wages, removal of
government subsidy, and longer working hours for miners – and blames the debt. October 2012: George Osborne announces £10 billion welfare cuts, and plans to allow companies to waive employee rights in exchange for shares – and blames the debt.

Set at a time when a Conservative-Liberal pact was slashing wages and the rights of the poorest in society, The Happy Lands may be viewed as a damning indictment of Cameron’s Government – and a prescient warning of what could lie ahead.

With Fife badly hit by the recession and unemployment at a twelve year high, The Happy Lands offers tangible evidence of the real impact film can have in transforming lives, investing in local jobs, business and education, creating a legacy that will last a lifetime.

“Not a penny off the pay, not a minute on the day!” – Slogan of the 1926 General Strike

Mining in 2012

In 2010 the world held its breath as 33 Chilean miners were rescued, following 69 days trapped
underground.

Since August 2012 over 75,000 miners have gone on strike in South Africa, demanding improvements to their rights and pay, with violent unrest resulting in more than 50 deaths.

The incidents are a stark reminder of the on-going human rights struggles of those working in the mining industry around the world today.

The cause has garnered high profile champions including Leonardo Di Caprio, star of 2006’s Blood Diamond, the account of how conflicts are funded by the mining of diamonds and other minerals, and Bono, who has met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to demand stricter rules in the international mining trade.

The Happy Lands portrays the harsh, gritty day-to-day reality for miners in uncompromising terms, with an intimate portrait of a way of life faced by millions across the globe in 2012.

Educational importance

It is a conflict which, if it is fought out to a conclusion can only end in the overthrow of parliamentary government or its decisive victory.” – Winston Churchill, Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer

1926 saw the first and only General Strike in British history: called by the Trade Union Congress, 1.7 million people participated, closing mines, transport, newspapers, docks and power stations. For nine days, not a wheel turned nor a light shone without the permission of the workers. It was a show of might like never before, a watershed moment that shaped the evolution of social justice and workers’ rights.

The Happy Lands presents the human face of this historic moment, featuring first-hand accounts and testimonies of those who live in Fife, told in their own voices.

Based on extensive research led by Robert Rae, with the National Mining Museum Scotland and the Fife Mining Heritage Group, the film draws on the memories, stories, resources and research contributed by more than 100 local Fife people, The Happy Lands is a compelling study of a heroic period that must never be forgotten.

The film has been screened as part of National Schools Film Week in London and Edinburgh, with a view to developing relationships with partners in the education sector, and Fife schools are developing Educational Material and the film now features as part of Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

Councillor Clarke would be keen to see a copy of the DVD going into every school in the area as this is a story now told that must be kept alive” – Joe McGuinness, Fife Council Area Services Manager


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.