Search

Editorial comment: Showdown at cinema like seeing Benn blast Labour

PUBLISHED: 08:30 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 02 November 2018

Queues stretched around the block before the meeting. Picture: SIORNA ASHBY

Queues stretched around the block before the meeting. Picture: SIORNA ASHBY

@siornaphotography

To witness Phoenix staff member Nathan Cable tearing into the cinema’s board of trustees was like watching a Labour Party conference in the late 1970s.

There, Tony Benn would stand, tearing apart why Labour had lost in 1979, or the policies turned down by his party’s leadership, while the top table sat gloomy-faced just touching distance away.

And so it was on Sunday when, Benn-like, Mr Cable tore into the expressionless board.

“Why are we asking Curzon to take over the running of the cinemas when there is still time to turn things around by putting a fundraising strategy in place?” he asked.

“Why has there been almost no fundraising for the past four years? And why have the staff been actively preventing from fundraising on behalf of the Phoenix?”

The passion from Mr Cable at the lectern and the community on the floor was a stark contrast to James Kessler’s blasé approach.

But it was another re-run of a Bennite argument that seemed most pertinent. If the Phoenix needed to be handed over to a private chain to keep the lights on and to pay its debts, community involvement would ostensibly be gone. As one woman said: “We put our trust in you to run this cinema properly, not to give it away.”

In a society that increasingly owns little, the community in north London has a strong sense of ownership over the Phoenix. To paraphrase former prime minister Harold MacMillan, it felt like the trustees were talking about “selling off the family silver”.

Much like anything handed over to private ownership, it leaves punters prone to price rises, poor performance and the whims of management, with no say about it. Mr Kessler’s reassurance of a break clause fell on deaf ears.

Many will be waiting with baited breath for the board’s decision. Its legacy won’t just affect the next few months, or years, but decades to come for the Phoenix.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Crouch End inventor is crowdfunding to launch an innovative and wearable air pollution monitor inspired by his own worries as a new dad.

Friday, December 7, 2018

British Transport Police are looking to speak to a man about three women being racially abused on an underground train.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Carlton Tavern could be reopened in April, nine months after the planning inspectorate told them to rebuild it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Coffee isn’t the only thing Deniz Korkmaz is brewing up in Kentish Town.

Friday, December 7, 2018

We chat to five local designers and artists who tell us about the one thing they must have or do at home that puts them in the Christmas mood

Friday, December 7, 2018

An application to redevelop a house in Swiss Cottage, owned by an off-shore company linked to an address in the Panama Papers and billionaire property mogul Sol Zakay, has been approved.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two sisters from Muswell Hill were lucky enough to meet the Queen this week after playing a pivotal role in publication of a book about an adoption pioneer.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fears of rising knife crime dominated a community meeting held in West Hampstead last night, while local police called on vigilant locals to help them do their jobs by making sure to report crime.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now