The Miners Strike - 1984

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 'Miners Strike'. Last night, I was watching a documentary, shown on BBC 4, about the impact of the strike in Hatfield, one of the pits at the centre of the dispute.

A number of things struck me about this dispute. The bitterness and division that lingers to this day, both within this community against strike-breakers and Thatcher, against miners from other, non-striking collieries, and amongst both the miners and the police.

What struck me most of all, regardless of the rights and wrongs of this particular dispute, was the deep sense of solidarity that these miners' felt, the collective will to succeed against the immense forces deployed against them, the pride they felt in both themselves and their community, and the intense pride they had in their chosen occupation.

I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.
 
I think when the right buttons are pushed it is still there, just rmember the contractors strike over the way foreign workers were being hired a short time ago.

It was not just the miners who showed that solidarity, the workers they picketed did too. One of my neigbhors at the time worked for the local electricty board (remeber them) and he was doing power station maintainance, and told me that absenteeism in the power stations was almost zero, they were not going to have the miners tell them whether they were going to work or not. At the time I lived in a minig community that also had a big coal fired power station in it. The community was very much split between the miners and the rest.

In many ways I felt it sad to see men striking for the right to die early from painful lung diseases and for the right of their sons and grandsons to do the same.
 

RABC

LE
There just aren't the communities built up around industries like mining anymore, except perhaps what is left of our car manufacturing

Ironically, we seem to have ethnic and religious communities more now !!
 
I think of it as 'violent, ideologically driven minority attempts to hold the rest of the country hostage in order to perpetuate its traditional lifestyle at the expense of the rest of society, fails due to resolve of government and their own ineptitude, and middle aged men get romantic and misty eyed about it behind their rose tinted spectacles forever...'
 
RABC said:
There just aren't the communities built up around industries like mining anymore, except perhaps what is left of our car manufacturing

Ironically, we seem to have ethnic and religious communities more now !!

And all the more worrying for it. :(
 
The miners' strike saw 203 (Elswick) Fd Bty RA (V) achieve an amazing peak of training and capability. I would love to lodge a FOIA request asking how many MTDs were expended in that unit between 1983-1984 and then say 1988-89!
 
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.

Tragic for the communities, a blessing for the rest of UK industry, and an investment in the UKs future. The coal, after all, is still in the ground. When it becomes economic to extract it (and it will), then mining will resume. Just not with unionised Labour puppets.

I think it was a bit more than that. Arthur Scargil was the last in the breed of "you cant touch me Im part of the Union " Bde that brought the country almost to its knees in the 70's. He was a man who believed in his own destiny and believed that the strike was not just about uneconomic mines, but a class struggle against the anti working class establishment. Never mind the state of public finances, his demands that a mine should remain open, even if operating at a substantial loss was the duty of the Government. Unfortunatly for him and the miners, his destiny co-incided with Maggie who needed to work out the financial mess she had inherited.....the rest as they say is History
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
Bradstyley said:
I think of it as 'violent, ideologically driven minority attempts to hold the rest of the country hostage in order to perpetuate its traditional lifestyle at the expense of the rest of society, fails due to resolve of government and their own ineptitude, and middle aged men get romantic and misty eyed about it behind their rose tinted spectacles forever...'

Whilst the strike-loving Labour government, now in power weighs them (and their solicitors) out with billions of pounds of taxpayers money as a sort of way of saying "Never mind eh, here's some dosh to put things right!". Of course, that's not strictly speaking true. The miners are being paid out for their health defects from working the pits - health that has been ravaged by the very industry they fought to protect. 8O
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
Cuddles said:
The miners' strike saw 203 (Elswick) Fd Bty RA (V) achieve an amazing peak of training and capability. I would love to lodge a FOIA request asking how many MTDs were expended in that unit between 1983-1984 and then say 1988-89!

I seem to recall that there was a big exercise in Germany during the first summer of the strike (Lionheart?), and the Daily Hate was up in arms that a load of striking miners were being paid by the government to make a mess of the german countryside.
 

brokerboy

War Hero
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.
.
no , you prize cock, it was about men striking to try to save their jobs , they were lions led by donkeys admittedly, but they have been proved right, look what is left of our coal industry now,the foreign coal was cheaper for a few reasons , among them that a lot of it was imported from the old eastern bloc and the ther being that the foreign coal exporters saw what was happening and waited until they had us over a barrel as they do now, the foreign coal isnt cheap anymore, and ive no ties to the mining industry either , in fact im a tory voting futures broker from london.
 

slopsjon

Old-Salt
The Strike was doomed from day one and Scargill knew why. There was two years of coal laying on the surface, giving the government time to sign new contracts or convert coal fire stations to oil burning. The week the strike started truck after truck loads of coal turned up at Ripon barracks, so much they had to pile in on the barracks road. This was happening in every camp, power station, hospital, factory etc.

The reason for the community spirit was partly because you'd be pretty unpopular if you had a different opinion to the NUM leadership. Something proved by the fact that they never held a ballot of all miners. You had no choice but to, toe the line.

I remember the 70's and the NUM was just a rent a mob turning up at every dispute they wanted to. It's a wonder they got any coal dug.
 
brokerboy said:
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.
.
no , you prize c***, it was about men striking to try to save their jobs , they were lions led by donkeys admittedly, but they have been proved right, look what is left of our coal industry now,the foreign coal was cheaper for a few reasons , among them that a lot of it was imported from the old eastern bloc and the ther being that the foreign coal exporters saw what was happening and waited until they had us over a barrel as they do now, the foreign coal isnt cheap anymore, and ive no ties to the mining industry either , in fact im a tory voting futures broker from london.

So, what you are saying is that the Eastern Block countries (then the USSR) saw the end of Communism coming in 10 years time and thought "hang on comrade, if we wait 25 years we can have the UK over a barrell"? No wonder your a futures broker! Whats next weeks lottery and when can I safely invest in Lloyds?
 

brokerboy

War Hero
roadster280 said:
brokerboy said:
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.
.
no , you prize c***, it was about men striking to try to save their jobs , they were lions led by donkeys admittedly, but they have been proved right, look what is left of our coal industry now,the foreign coal was cheaper for a few reasons , among them that a lot of it was imported from the old eastern bloc and the ther being that the foreign coal exporters saw what was happening and waited until they had us over a barrel as they do now, the foreign coal isnt cheap anymore, and ive no ties to the mining industry either , in fact im a tory voting futures broker from london.

"I want to save my job."."I know, I'll go on strike, that'll learn 'em".

And you call me a "prize c***"?
like i said , lions led by donkeys,if they'd started the strike when coal stocks were low they might have had a chance, you should check your facts before dismissing the miners, look at the recent tube drivers strike , "i know ill go on strike to stop redundancies that'll learn em" well it did didnt it, the rail companies caved in , no jobs were lost , and the train drivers won, so yes you are a prize cock.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
roadster280 said:
"I want to save my job."."I know, I'll go on strike, that'll learn 'em".

And you call me a "prize c***"?

Yeah - the miners, the dockers, the shipyard workers - all went on strike to make sure they got theirs, and so they did, their P45s.
 
Mr_Fingerz said:
Cuddles said:
The miners' strike saw 203 (Elswick) Fd Bty RA (V) achieve an amazing peak of training and capability. I would love to lodge a FOIA request asking how many MTDs were expended in that unit between 1983-1984 and then say 1988-89!

I seem to recall that there was a big exercise in Germany during the first summer of the strike (Lionheart?), and the Daily Hate was up in arms that a load of striking miners were being paid by the government to make a mess of the german countryside.

Lionheart or Keystone...I disremember. We had a full orbat, plus limbers/odds and sods. In fact there were so many random troops crawling out of the Northumbrian woodwork, the pipe-band was able to go off on tour!
 

brokerboy

War Hero
drain_sniffer said:
brokerboy said:
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.
.
no , you prize c***, it was about men striking to try to save their jobs , they were lions led by donkeys admittedly, but they have been proved right, look what is left of our coal industry now,the foreign coal was cheaper for a few reasons , among them that a lot of it was imported from the old eastern bloc and the ther being that the foreign coal exporters saw what was happening and waited until they had us over a barrel as they do now, the foreign coal isnt cheap anymore, and ive no ties to the mining industry either , in fact im a tory voting futures broker from london.

So, what you are saying is that the Eastern Block countries (then the USSR) saw the end of Communism coming in 10 years time and thought "hang on comrade, if we wait 25 years we can have the UK over a barrell"? No wonder your a futures broker! Whats next weeks lottery and when can I safely invest in Lloyds?
i'll say it slowly so you have a chance to understand beore you jump in with both feet and make yourself look sill again, i said a lot , not all was imported from the eastern bloc, and for your information , the eastern bloc comprised more than the ussr, perhaps you should go away and do some research before you post again ?
 
brokerboy said:
roadster280 said:
brokerboy said:
roadster280 said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
I wonder if this sense of community still exists, or if it is something that has, like so many great British attributes and qualities, fallen victim to the 'me' and 'self-preservation' culture.

Wasn't the strike all about "'me' and 'self-preservation' culture"? Didn't the miners object to closure of uneconomic pits (ie "me"), and didn't they rebel about the elimination of their occupation (ie "self preservation").

What a pity that the miners could not see that their own wage demands had made themselves redundant. If it's cheaper to buy coal (or steel, or make ships) overseas than it is to produce domestically, then some serious thinking on the part of the union leaders should have happened. But no.
.
no , you prize c***, it was about men striking to try to save their jobs , they were lions led by donkeys admittedly, but they have been proved right, look what is left of our coal industry now,the foreign coal was cheaper for a few reasons , among them that a lot of it was imported from the old eastern bloc and the ther being that the foreign coal exporters saw what was happening and waited until they had us over a barrel as they do now, the foreign coal isnt cheap anymore, and ive no ties to the mining industry either , in fact im a tory voting futures broker from london.

"I want to save my job."."I know, I'll go on strike, that'll learn 'em".

And you call me a "prize c***"?
like i said , lions led by donkeys,if they'd started the strike when coal stocks were low they might have had a chance, you should check your facts before dismissing the miners, look at the recent tube drivers strike , "i know ill go on strike to stop redundancies that'll learn em" well it did didnt it, the rail companies caved in , no jobs were lost , and the train drivers won, so yes you are a prize c***.

Perhaps as one who advises others to check facts, perhaps you should do the same regarding the Underground. Has F all in common with the miners and under completley different circumstances. Thatcher knew that the mines had to be trimmed, and knew Scargill would fight on a class war, hence the coal stockpile. The miners would never ever win. As for your "lions" piece, what are your thoughts regarding the treatment of those that went back to work to feed their families by those still on strike. More like the actions of hyienas and vultures
 
Scargill was and is a communist. Not a paper communist but the real thing.
He genuinely believed that he could bring down the Thatcher government, he had good grounds to believe that. All you have to do is look at the 1974 strike and the results of it.
He made some big mistakes, notably failing to take into account the coal stockpiles all over the country.
Thatcher had no choice but break the unions and the NUM was pretty much the most powerful of all. What she didn't have to do was gut the industrial base of Britain, there was no need to kill the coal, steel and shipbuilding industries that built this country.
For all those of you out there that believed that British coal was dead because its expensive, the real cost saving from buying Columbian coal was 12 pence a ton. We made tens of thousands unemployed and destroyed whole towns for a few pence.
We still see the knock on effects in many mining towns around the country now. Yeh, sure, most have now some employment in call centres etc but not the good living that was earned 30 years ago. We are now into the 3rd generation of dole wallas and layabouts thanks to Thatcher and Scargill
Some still defend pit closures now as being due to market forces, that bullshit, it was simply down to a power struggle between the unions and the government. I strongly believe the unions had to have their power taken off them (they were not elected by the country to dictate policy to government)
End result is that we de-industrialised and became a service based economy, that worked out well in the end didn't it?
 
jagman said:
For all those of you out there that believed that British coal was dead because its expensive, the real cost saving from buying Columbian coal was 12 pence a ton. We made tens of thousands unemployed and destroyed whole towns for a few pence.
We still see the knock on effects in many mining towns around the country now. Yeh, sure, most have now some employment in call centres etc but not the good living that was earned 30 years ago.

But where there not more savings from the fact that alot (not all) mines were working at an operating loss of £3mill per annum (figure I heard on Radio 5 so I could very well be wrong)

As for bringing down the rest of manufacturing, was it not the case that most such industries were over employed thanks to the union structure and couldnt adapt to the change? I look at Leyland as an example?
 

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