BBC TwoPower to the People


Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Power To The People: The Invasion of Islington
Power to the People is a three-part series of mischievous documentaries presented by Tim Samuels, who helps some of the most disenfranchised people in society make their voice heard.

Lanreath twinned with Islington sign
The Invasion Of Islington
Monday 14 May 2007
2100 BST on BBC Two

Tim Samuels joins an entire Cornish village which is on the brink of extinction as they pack up sheep, cows and morris dancers to travel en masse to London and seize the frappuccino-swilling New Labour heartland of Islington.

Lanreath was once a thriving village - in its heyday there were three pubs, two shops, a post office, and a museum.

But recently it lost its post office, shop, pub and bus service. And now their beloved primary school is under threat.

Cows and farmers walking towards Islington Green
Farmers struggle because of aggressive supermarket pricing
Cornwall County Council have announced that Lanreath Primary could be next for the chop. Even though it has a glowing Ofsted report, is popular with both pupils and parents, and has stood as a pillar of village life for the last 200 years.

It is a tiny school - only 19 kids, split into two classes - and the council says it could get even smaller. They say it would be too expensive to justify, and cover too big an age range for the one class that would remain.

The parents say class numbers always fluctuate, and they will pick up again soon once some new affordable housing is completed in the village.

Breaking point

Councils around the country are shutting village schools: in total, eight closed down last year.

And it is not just schools - since Labour came to power in 1997, some 4000 post offices have closed, and another 2500 are due to close in the next two years.

It is remarkable how the loss of a service or school can impact the community, and people's lives.

The village was badly affected when the post office closed two years ago.

And they do not want the school to close either.

John Prescott scarecrow
An 86-year-old villager created a John Prescott scarecrow

Pushed to breaking point, the countryside comes to town - Islington Green - to get its voice heard.

Tim Samuels even unwittingly manages to get permission for the Cornish invasion from the Mayor of Islington.

Power To The People: The Invasion of Islington was broadcast on Monday 14 May 2007 at 2100 BST on BBC Two.

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