Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ethel MacDonald

Britain has its own radical tradition which is overlooked, ignored or written out of history - but occasionally breaks through into the mainstream media. One example is the new film about the life of Ethel MacDonald, who hitchhiked across Europe in 1936 to take part in the fight against Franco. She arrived in Barcelona to find the city in the midst of heavy fighting, but as a pacifist, decided to do this through propaganda, producing an english-language newsletter and broadcasting on radio where her broad Scottish accent rapidly became familiar. Phil Miller writes in The Herald: "She went on to help dozens of fellow activists escape by setting up secret lines of communication between Spain and France, earning herself the name "the Scots Scarlet Pimpernel" in the UK press. After she was arrested, questions over her fate were asked in the House of Commons. While in jail, she risked execution by setting up a smuggling network using empty food cans to get letters out."

Read Phil's complete article here:

The film will be broadcast on BBC2 Scotland on January 24th at 9.00 p.m. Perhaps one day soon the BBC will let the rest of us see it?