Well here we are back to Margaret Thatcher, one of the worst Prime Ministers this country has ever had.
I know this goes against the popular belief that she was the saviour of this country, but lets review the evidence.
Well firstly, I can’t stand the woman, which should be enough for any man, I shall be organising a dance party on her grave when she finally passes away. Perhaps I won’t actually do that, I’m too well brought up for that, but you get my drift.
Everyone assumes she made this country great again by breaking the unions and that is certainly a point, she did force the unions to accept more modern working practices and let the weak industries go to the wall.
However she also had the bonanza of the North Sea oil revenues which she squandered on tax cuts for the wealthy and not so wealthy, who can forget the ‘loads a money’ culture. Perhaps in retrospect that money might have been better spent investing in British industry.
However when she took up arms against the strong unions she also trampled over the weak, my union Equity being a case in question.
Now the Actors Union, Equity was never a strong union, the only thing we had in our favour was the closed shop, which for those of you not familiar with it meant no one was allowed to work without first getting an Equity card….and to get the card first you had to work!!
I know this may seem a little silly but it’s not that daft, think of it as an apprenticeship, if any one out there can remember what an apprenticeship was. No one from the union stipulated the quality of the work to be done, so you could actually start from the bottom and like I did, work your way up to the bottom.
Acting was always a crowded profession and having eventually gained your coveted Equity card you did feel there was a little protection from people from outside the profession stealing our jobs.
Not quite the case today as every small time reality show contestant can now be ‘on tele’ and everyone is now having their fifteen minutes of fame, for what it’s worth. There’s a future blog subject ‘reality tv shows, God how I hate them’.
However, it’s worth keeping up your Equity card as they will fight your case when you haven’t been paid,(sadly all to often nowadays) or fight an injury claim on your behalf.
No need for Injury Lawers Are Us if you are an Equity member and I would still encourage the younger members of our profession to try to attain one. It also protects your name,(or stage name) there can only be one ‘Joe Wells’ in Equity and some of you may be thinking thank God for that, one is more than enough… you’re entitled to your opinion.
We are still working to wage agreement negotiated in 1989, I still think £100 is a good weekly wage and, yes I have totally lost touch with reality.
I have just checked and find that Equity has in fact just negotiated a new minimum weekly wage for theatre and it is £400 and they seem quite pleased with that, I think plumbers earn that much in a day.
Personally, faced with the uphill struggle to find work, I took to doing student films, you never know where it might lead to, I thought. Well most of the time it led to doing the work for nothing, paying your own expenses and not receiving a copy of the film at the end, which after a while can be a little frustrating.
Ever more frustrated I tried my hand at writing and thanks to The Wireless Theatre Company have had my first short radio play produced. ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori’ is available as a download for nothing from the above website, a little tricky to find but do try, I believe I will receive a small gratuity should you do so, (that will make a change).
I have, thanks to Margaret Thatcher officially retired which as a bonus makes my car insurance cheaper, so it’s win, win there then, or not as the case may be.
I think I would prefer to be working but, I am as you know, now a ruddy faced countryman so have plenty to keep me occupied instead. Are mangleworsells a real vegetable,I’ll have to find out.