Cessnock may have gained national attention this week for its One Nation vote, but many years ago it was the Communist Party that held sway in the area.
So says Brian Lout from Cessnock, who contacted us after we compared Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon's comments about having a crack at the Labor leadership to the cult TV series Game of Thrones.
We'd written that Fitzy had "copped a dagger to the midriff from Pauline Hanson's One Nation" and that coal miners out Cessnock-way have had a gutful.
The narrative to emerge from the election result in the Hunter Valley was that coal miners weren't happy about Labor's policy on climate change. They were worried about their livelihoods.
Fitzy said on Monday that Labor needs to "re-engage with our blue-collar base and put more focus on regional and rural Australia".
But Brian - who was a Labor Party member for about 20 years - questioned whether coal miners, in particular, could still be defined as "blue-collar".
He reckoned that "coal miners today aren't like coal miners in decades past".
"The vast majority who work in the coal industry today work in open-cuts," he said.
"Instead of being working class, I call them the working bourgeoisie. They ride around in salary-sacrificed four-wheel drives and send their kids to private school. To me, they are not working class."
Topics: "So they're not really blue collar? Well, they're definitely not white collar. We're trying to think about an in-between collar. Are they more purple collar?
Brian: "Well they're not red, we can say that. Coal miners used to be the doyen of the working class, quite militant. In fact, during Cessnock's history, it used to be referred to as the Red Shire".
"In the period between 1944 and 1947, Cessnock or the Kearsley Shire was controlled by the Communist Party. The Communists had a majority on the Kearsley Shire.
"I know we talk of Joy Cummings being the first lady mayoress. And all the tributes should go to her for that. But Nellie Simm, a communist, was a deputy mayor on the Kearsley Shire. She stepped up and filled the casual mayor's vacancy for a period. You could well argue that Nellie Simm predated Joy Cummings."
Brian added there had already been a "cosmic shift" in the Upper Hunter at the last state election away from the ALP to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
"There was no Shooters candidate standing at the federal election. My reading is, they've shifted from the Shooters to One Nation at the federal level.
"They broke the nexus between identifying themselves as working people and the ALP. Having broken it, they haven't returned. Now they've chucked their lot in with One Nation."
All this talk about coal miners and the working class has us wondering, do they drink craft beer or VB?
VB is supposed to be the working man's beer, isn't it? It used to be, anyhow.
In a statement on its website, VB announced it would be giving away free beer for two hours on Sunday at 143 pubs across Australia, including a few in the Hunter.
The beer brand's marketing people appear to be tapping into the election result.
"There's been a lot of talk over the last few months. While we don't know what's coming next, we do know this. It's the start of another week and it's time to get back to doing what we do best: working hard," the statement said.
"That's the only way we are going to push this country forward. For everyone ready to get on with the job of making Australia a better place, it's our shout."
In Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, free VB will be on offer from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday at Honeysuckle Hotel, Mattara Hotel at Charlestown, Jewells Tavern and Iron Horse Inn at Cardiff.
Thing is, will the folks who have flocked to craft and foreign beer be able to bring themselves to taste VB?
The Working Poor
Speaking of class, a Newcastle reader recalled on Facebook after the election that "John Howard convinced the working class that they were middle class".
"He called them 'aspirational'. This notion is based on the lie that we can all rise to the top, that we can all be wealthy, despite the fact our economy is not at all structured for us all to enjoy a slice of the wealth.
"In fact, there is very little room at the top. Those who are there are held in place by the rest of us below. The lie tells us we can all be middle class and enjoy all the things middle class people have enjoyed. The reality is that the majority of wealth is held by a few, and that the rest of us form the base of the pyramid. We play a supporting role to those at the top through our labour, our debt and a misguided belief in the possibility we can rise to the top. The reality is that the so-called middle class are quickly becoming the working poor."
During the election, we were chatting to a couple of blokes at a coffee shop. They reckon that anyone can rise to the top and make a lot of money in Australia if they really put their mind to it. We should add that these two blokes are bankers.