"On a political level, the serial began with Harold Wilson's election campaign of 1964, and it was finally scheduled to be broadcast at a time when the country was once again poised to restore an idealistic, revitalised Labour party to power.
The cycle of positivty leading to seemingly inevitable cynicism may be Flannery's way of predicting the ultimate demise of traditional idealology as the driving force of British politics. This is an assumption that would have seemed unthinkable when the play was originally written, but now seems a realistic possibility in light of 13 years of New Labour and a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.
In 1996 Flannery admitted he would be voting for Tony Blair's New Labour in the forthcoming election. "I'd love to believe that a New Labour victory would start a clean-up in politics, but I'm afraid they'll be trapped by the very institutions that support them."
The lasting message of Flannery's serial is, however, clear and positive: betrayals by our institutions and politicians may be inevitable, but the society built on friendship surpasses and transcends them all."
Marcus Hearn, Our Friends in the North: Viewers' Notes