by Jay Wolfe, Editor of The Wolfian Press Review 2018
Liberty is a neat little book, mixing an excellent overview of history with the dramatisation of the central events of the story. Mixed in with interesting historical photographs and newspaper cuttings we first get to see Deptford's history and its place in this narrative, and then the driving forces for the events as they unfold.
During the Depression of the 1930s, the unemployed organised themselves into the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) who arranged marches, speeches, and demonstrations alongside other workers' organisations.
Kath Duncan's place in this history is as a school teacher, Communist, and speaker in 1930s Deptford.
Ray very skillfully mixes table-top scenes with Hansard reports to produce a drama that ranges from plotting peaceful protest to discussions in parliament, to charges of breaches of the peace, the prison governor's office, and a judicial panel.
Through this we are taken on a journey charting the rise of recognised civil rights within English law (one would say British, but must be mindful that Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legal systems).
Kath's strength, of purpose and of character, are evident, as is the dilemma she posed for the authorities. Ray brings these issues sharply into focus in a book whose themes continue to resonate and have sharp relevance to this day.
Editor, The Wolfian Press Review 2018