The Rotherham revival has become a political and emotional rollercoaster for Yvonne Ridley, who's standing for Respect in the South Yorkshire town's by-election tomorrow.
A successful journalist and campaigner, Ridley has now come back to her northern roots.
Born and raised in Co Durham, she's at home in this northern town.
Ridley says she's "definitely in it to win it. I have a close affinity to the people of Rotherham. I come from Stanley, a mining and steel community. I know why there are so many angry working-class people in Rotherham. I'm a coalminer's daughter."
She campaigned for a public inquiry into policing of the miners' strike, which she covered daily at the start of her 30-year career.
Ridley says: "I'll continue to support the Orgreave men who are demanding justice. The pits and jobs have gone but they're still here."
During the strike, 23-year-old Ridley was working on a local paper in Co Durham. She was sent out every day to give personal accounts from "aggressive" picket lines.
"You're told to be impartial, but there is right and wrong, justice and injustice. I come from mining stock with coal dust on my fingers, so to see these men being battered and provoked by the police in Durham was very hard to take."
In Stanley, Ridley's home town, during the miners' strike Asda and the Co-op supermarkets had shopping trolleys to donate food because the miners were starving.
Ridley says you wouldn't see that now. She remembers buying tins of salmon and "someone said what are you doing that for? You'd get much more for your money of Spam or whatever. I said, why shouldn't the miners eat salmon? Why shouldn't they have a treat?
"There was collusion with the government and the BBC portraying miners as thuggish violent brutes," she says of the strike.
"Reports were edited out of sequence giving the impression that the miners started the conflict" at the Battle of Orgreave.
"The broadcast media lost the miners' public support."
She believes that "there are parallels between Palestine and Gaza. The Palestinians are the ones who are portrayed as the aggressors. According to the media, Israel's mainly reacting and often it's the other way around."
Ridley has a strong record on standing up to Islamophobia, an issue that has recently been launched to the forefront of the local political scene.
Yorkshire human rights organisation Just has reported increased attacks on Asians following high-profile grooming cases involving Asian men.
This is despite the recent findings by the children's commissioner showing that the incidence of child sex exploitation by white perpetrators was several times higher than by Asians.
The far-right is trying hard to capitalise on local tension over the issue, with both the BNP and a local English Defence League organiser among the candidates.
"You know, people forget Hitler was democratically elected," Ridley sighs as a gang of youths shout insults to a group of Muslims outside Respect's borrowed office.
"We're nowhere near the stage where the Jews were at in the 1930s, but we're at the head of that street and we cannot afford to be dragged down that road. History's repeating itself except this time its not Jews that are the targets."
Ridley is bemused by accusations that she was radicalised by Islam. She is famous for having been captured by the Taliban in 2001 while working as a reporter and securing her release by promising to study the Koran.
Ridley kept her promise and converted to Islam some years later.
"I was supposed to come back and tell everybody that I'd been gang raped, burned and tortured and they wanted to hear these stories, but it didn't happen."
Ridley says: "I've held the same views all my life about Palestine, but as soon as I put a headscarf on I was quoted as an extremist.
"Nobody was calling me that when I wasn't wearing a headscarf. I've been fighting the corner for the Palestinians since I was 14."
"I was radicalised by Thatcher's politics. You see the next generation after that - Thatcher's children - and they're products of this corporate greed. There's no camaraderie, no solidarity. It's whats-in-it-for-me politics. That's Thatcher's legacy."
Ridley thinks that the major parties are out of touch.
"Politics should be the soul of communities, the solidarity and there just isn't that," she says. "Young people today have no idea what its like to have solidarity with your co-workers."
Ridley wants to see Rotherham communities take back decisions from councillors who she believes "couldn't give a stuff who gets into Westminster, but they don't want me to get in. They know that would just be the beginning.
"They know that after me there will be Respect in the council. In Bradford, we contested eight seats and won five, unseating the Labour council leader. That hurt.
"They don't want Respect meddling with local politics. People look at Bradford and think: 'Oh, it was the Muslim vote,' but it wasn't.
"If I win, it proves that Respect isn't just about getting the Muslim vote," she says.
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