John Dunn was recruited into the Labour Party by Dennis Skinner.
Not long after joining the party, John became a councillor in Cray Cross, Derbyshire. Cray Cross council was run by a avowedly socialist Labour Group and when Edward Heath's Tory government put forward legislation to increase rent for council tenants in 1972, John and the other councillors decided to fight it. After a campaign that went national - and reached the High Court - Cray Cross councillors (including John) were surcharged ‘jointly and severally’ a total of £6,350 and effectively prohibited from running for office.
John worked at Markham Colliery and was an active member of the NUM. When Margaret Thatcher's government drew up plans to close down mines and threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of miners, John and many others went on strike.
In June 1984, John was attacked by police while he was picketing and experienced severe concussion. He was then charged by police and given two criminal convictions without being arrested. You can hear his story here: https://youtu.be/gOcFkqi8Wz8
What happened to John happened to thousands of miners and they are still seeking justice through the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign.
John has been suspended from the Labour Party a few times for speaking out. He's not one to mince words. Most notably when he challenged Owen Smith when Smith decided to launch his campaign for Labour leader in Orgreave in 2016.
Since lockdown, John has become a regular newspaper reviewer on Sunday morning's 'Not the Andrew Marr Show' and his cutting and hilarious comments have made the show very popular.
On 'Castaway with John Dunn', John chose his favourite seven songs and three books and spoke about what they meant to him.
These are the songs that John chose (with YouTube links).
Bob Dylan - The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUYCGyAlytQ
Gorecki - Symphony of Sorrowful Songs 2nd Movementhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5fg8-VWNo0
Leonard Cohen - The Partisanhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs5hOhI4pEE&lc=UggjrK1c5Ssj6HgCoAEC
Bruce Springsteen - No Surrenderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD3DdskaPhs
Joe Solo - No Pasaranhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqfomuTNJsY
Gerry and the Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alonehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV5_LQArLa0
Mal Finch/Flamin Nerve - Women of the Working Classhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGOEAtxNgbY
These are the books:
Gunter Grass - The Tin Drum
Carlo Levi - Christ stopped at Eboli
Che Guevara - Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War