9 October 2008

Hero

Arthur Scargill is seventy years old. Leader of the British coal miners' union in the late seventies and early eighties, this right-thinking and honourable Yorkshireman was turned into a figure of national hatred and ridicule by the gutter press and its Tory paymasters. He wasn't trying to hold the country to ransom. He was standing up for his members and he was fighting for the very future of British coal. Little did he know that Thatcher would do whatever it took to crush the miners' strike of 1984-1985 and the men and women who wore that simple yellow badge - "Coal Not Dole".
How strange to think that this all happened almost a quarter of a century back in time. Britain still sits on massive coal deposits while we import ship loads of the stuff from Poland and beyond. And even today the horrid legacy of Thatcher's extremism still blights the former pit villages of South Yorkshire and South Wales.

Arthur Scargill said:-

"All too often miners, and indeed other trade unionists, underestimate the economic strength they have."

"Yet what you need is not marches, demonstrations, rallies or wide associations, all of them are important. What you need is direct action. The sooner people understand that, the sooner we'll begin to change things."

7 comments:

  1. One of my favourite movies is 'Brassed Off' - enlightened me years ago to the devastating effect the Thatcher years had on the industry.

    Something for you over at my place, old bean.

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  2. I came here from Katherine's blog. I can't think why I've not been here before. Funny that I had to go all the way to New Zealand to get to Sheffield from Oldham!

    I'll be back.

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  3. unionworkeruk11:53 am

    Scargill should be remembered as one of Britain's greatest trade unionists and socialists along with Tom Mann, Willie Gallacher and Scottish born James Connolly.
    He gave working people a glimpse of their potential for organising and running society for peoples benefit and not private profit.
    He and the miners lost to Thatcherist capitalism and look where that has got us today.

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  4. As every day passes and modern capitalism goes through its hideous, drawn-out death throes I grow ever more certain that Arthur was right.

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  5. Remember "Arthur Scargill Walks on Water?" -- - - and I've got that badge too. I once heard him speak at Leeds Town Hall and he was terrific. And correct about the mining industry.

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  6. My father was a miner, my mothers cousin died in the pits, I named my son Joshua after him.
    Any one with any heart could never forgive the Tory's for Orgreave.
    Good on ya mate !

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