An opening collage of recorded speeches from Churchill to Cameron shows that steelworkers’ jobs have long been threatened and never more so than with the current sale of Tata Steel.
Unlike his contemporary George Bernard Shaw, who thought it fine to identify the devil so long as you gave him the best tunes, Galsworthy maintained that the secret of good drama was impartiality. So both the company chairman, John Anthony, and the workers’ spokesman, David Roberts, are depicted as equally bigoted and, indeed, come fleetingly together in their mutual defeat.
It is possible that Edwardian audiences applauded such even-handedness. Today, however, despite Roberts’s intransigence (powerfully conveyed by Ian Hughes), it is impossible not to endorse the striking workers, whose wives and children starve, while board members complain about the inadequate hotel fare.