Saturday, 4 January 2014

to destroy the coal industry and the NUM

 
Three days into the new year and already I feel gutted is the truth. I don’t suppose for one moment that I will be on my own in this respect.

Many comrades and friends who were around and active during the Great Miners Strike of 84/85 will be still raging and furious at yesterday's revelations in regard to that dispute, of that I’m in no doubt. Of course, it will not have come as a complete and shocking surprise, but nevertheless such deep wounds still hurt many especially in former mining communities up and down the country.

“The policies of this government are clear - to destroy the coal industry and the NUM”.

Arthur Scargill said it and, time has proven the existence of truth and that he was indeed correct. At this point forgive me for the deviation from what is to be my intended thread, but writing and thinking back to that time seems to release some emotion, but don’t worry I am not sitting in a pool of tears as I write this post. However, I do have to say that Arthur Scargill was for many years a driving inspiration for me in my youth and when as he was back then the President of the Yorkshire NUM. I suppose in a way, and yes, I looked upon him as a hero in what now seems to me to be strange, all these many years latter, political maturity along with a better understanding of socialism has cured and relieved me of them symptoms of hero worship, thank the good Lord above.

Growing up in Scunthorpe and then working on the steelworks, which is very close to South Yorkshire and the then coalfields which were still working, ment that in his early career as a trade unionist he was always on our telly or in the local news, and of course my home town being predominantly a steel community had many links to and with our mining neighbours and especially when it came to trade unions. I can also tell you that I have met Scargill on many occasions in the past and shared a platform with him once in Scunthorpe, well of course comrades, all that is a story in itself and maybe one day I will put some more meat onto the bones and elaborate a wee bit more - just maybe?”

The one thing that I will say about Scargill, that he is a man of great integrity a wonderful orator with a great sense of wit and humor, and I very much doubt if there is anybody that possesses such skills today.

Well that’s the end of my deviation now back to the thread of this here post.

The release and disclosure of cabinet papers from the Thatcher era of her government and pertaining to the miners year long strike, and as the BBC has put it - “Scargill was right”.

The NEWLY-released Cabinet papers from 1984 justify mineworkers' union leader Arthur Scargill's long-held claim that there was a "secret hit-list" of more than 70 pits marked for closure. Over the years many people have told me that Scargill was right all along, and now the evidence is in the public domain for all to see, and let us be under no illusion here, this revelation will have far reaching consequences even today all of thirty years on. If nothing else it will harden many people up to the fact that government has only one intention, not to serve the people but to run the system of capitalism in the interests of capitalism only. That democracy is nothing more than a controlled confidence trick practiced by whoever is the majority party governing, that loyalty is not towards the people the majority, but for the minority who never have any passing interest in the welfare of others if it interferes with their profit system. That class of parasites expect government to work on their behalf, to keep slave labour in its place, to use the whole apparatus of the state if necessary to stamp out any revolt of workers who have the audacity to demand better pay, working conditions or a bigger slice of the whole cake. They tell us that its only through their hard work that they have got and earned the lifestyle that only they enjoy, when if fact it is us the workers who have created all wealth and profit and we receive so little.

Yesterday's disclosure proves the Conservative government headed by Minister Margaret Thatcher "had no credibility whatsoever". That the so-called rule of law was twisted and bent so much so that innocent principled miners and indeed their supporters, came face to face with such violence that has stained police forces up and down the country for ever more, no more so than the South Yorkshire force, and of course the brutal picket line clashes such as the infamous “Battle of Orgreave”. As I recall the coal that was heading to Scunthorpe steel works.

Coal stocks were plummeting and – alongside the miners – the dockers had gone out on strike. So in July 1984, the cabinet documents show, the government seriously considered calling in troops to move coal. Conservative policy chief John Redwood put it, the National Coal Board was “crumbling”. In a powerfully worded, single-copy letter Redwood warned Thatcher that the far left was engaged in a revolutionary strategy to “destroy” the government - Oh what a Dickhead!”

The miners strike is today depicted as one of those “inescapable” events that history is littered with: a doomed workforce staging a last ditch battle in the face of progress (what progress ?”). If you were involved – I was – it was more complicated.  

“Violence will not succeed for the police and courts will not bow to it. They are the servants not of government but of the law itself,” Mrs Thatcher said in her Mansion House speech that year.

The documents released yesterday reveal this was pure fiction. And so I say, may she rot in hell for the rest of infinite eternity

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