WE shouldn’t be dismissive of films and TV series that fight for equality or shine a light on miscarriages of justice.

There’s a litany of recent examples that tell the stories of the oppressed, marginalised or discredited and their fight for the truth.

We need only look at television series’ like ‘Hillsborough’, ‘The Murder of Stephen Lawrence’ and, more recently, the Old Oak, Sorry I Missed You, or anything from Ken Loach, to find how film and TV can galvanise mainstream interest in matters of injustice, ignite activism and bring about change.

Why shouldn’t the arts and culture act as an impetus for social and political change? It always has.

Why shouldn’t scriptwriters, artists, actors, directors, and producers seize the mantle and tell the stories of those within our movement? It would, of course, be far more preferential for those in power to have just listened to those who are impacted by their negligence; to have believed those who were on the receiving end of injustice and disadvantage.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black: Westminster only cares about injustice if it’s on TV

But the arts, after all, is a unionised sector with workers from across our communities. They have the platform and the ability to use their voice to speak on behalf of those who feel they can’t.

Mr Bates Vs the Post Office is no exception.

For anyone still unaware, Mr Bates Vs the Post Office tells the story of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance and their campaign against the Post Office and Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon computer program. Lying on an “industrial scale” according to the previous Minister for Postal Affairs and current Lib-Dem leader Ed Davey – who himself is facing serious questions about his role in the scandal - the Post Office doggedly pursued those they falsely accused of theft and false accounting, owing to the dodgy Horizon software.

Regretfully, it has all the hallmarks of scandals that have predominantly impacted working people throughout the country for decades.

Why is it, time after time, scandal after scandal, it appears to be working people who have been denied access to justice; gaslit by those with power and authority into believing that, somehow, they – the victims in all this – are the ones to blame.

The Horizon scandal follows a similar pattern. A large organisation, with power, money, and resources to boot, inordinately pursues those with little means to defend themselves, apart from the strength of their collective solidarity, and tries to browbeat them into submission.

READ MORE: Pat Kane: Mr Bates Vs the Post Office achieves what good drama should

And browbeat they did.

Around 700 people have been convicted. At least 60 subpostmasters have died without seeing justice, with four suicides linked to the scandal. This is before we even consider the lives ruined, health destroyed, finances decimated, and people’s characters maligned all due to the Post Office and their incessant, false belief that working people were dipping the tills.

The words ‘miscarriage of justice’ doesn’t cut it.

There’s a stench of undeniable classism about it all. An implied assumption that working people were at it. ‘It’s them, the local subpostmasters and mistresses, who often serve working communities all their lives, they’re the ones we need to target.’ Not the executives and CEOs of the Post Office who, for years, denied there was a problem, made working people pay back money they never stole then, as far as we can tell, simply just kept the monies and boosted their profits.

Not the head honchos of Fujitsu who refused to take accountability for their failings. Not the Horizon helpline who lied to people, giving them the false belief that they, the postmasters, were the only ones with this software problem and that this was somehow their fault.

The National: Post Office

Why is it then that the only people to have gone to jail in this scandal are the people who did nothing wrong?

What the Horizon scandal has shown us, again, is the strength of human character; that it’s working people who have their resolve tested by, more often than not, those with money, means and resources that far outweigh their own.

When working people unite then they are a force to be reckoned with. The past 18 months of industrial action has shown the strength of a collective movement. Institutions, governments, and employers all brought to task by working people in their unions demanding a better standard of living.

Let’s not forget though, that this was the Post Office. This was a national institution. It’s still publicly owned, but increasingly franchised out to cut costs and routinely underfunded by politicians who are now desperately trying to get on the front foot.

You’ll forgive me, therefore, for not buying the outpouring of convenient concern from the UK Government, and politicians of all stripes, now that justice for subpostmasters has become in vogue.

These were ordinary men and women, some of whom sent to jail for crimes they didn’t commit, castigated and ostracised out of their communities on false charges that has caused them to campaign to clear their names.

Yes, it’s welcome that a TV series has spurred politicians and those in power to rightfully pay attention to the matter. But again, we see a failing in our political system that, with a few notable exceptions, those in power fail to act until working people demand action.

It shouldn’t necessarily take a made-for-TV drama to make politicians, conveniently in an election year (and certainly trying to earn political kudos on the wave of righteous public outrage) jolt into action with expedient haste. Finally, the UK Government seems to have acted with a compensation package and exoneration scheme but, as ever, the devil is in the detail.

The National: Mr Bates vs the Post Office Image: ITV

There are still vital questions for Scotland’s Lord Advocate too and we must see justice for all, including those across Scotland. For many, it’s too little too late.

Until, frankly, the calls of the Communication Workers Union are met: accountability for Post Office leadership and executives who presided over the scandal, a reliable IT system and contractual protections for workers and CWU recognition on behalf of postmasters, those in power will still be letting workers down.

When these campaigners are exonerated, remember their names. Not the government ministers of all political persuasions who sat on their hands for years whilst ordinary people suffered.

The only thing that must be on the horizon now is justice for subpostmasters. Nothing less will do.