18 December 2015

Kellingley

Miner Gary Ward could not hide his emotions after he finished his final shift at the Kellingley Colliery as it ended coal production today

Today was a momentous day in the history of British industry. Our last deep coal mine was shut down and our last four hundred and fifty deep coal miners lost their jobs. In the proud history of coal mining, Kellingley Colliery, Yorkshire will now forever occupy a very sad footnote - the place where it all ended. 

Millions of tons of coal still lie underground at Kellingley as huge ships bring vast quantities of cheap coal to our island from Russia, Poland and even from as far away as Colombia. It just doesn't seem right and it feels as if the closure of Kellingley Colliery  is the late Margaret Thatcher's final act of vengeance upon coal  mining communities and upon an industry that gave this country so much for so many years. So many lives were lost. It is truly the last waltz. Lest we forget...
___________________________________________

Kellingley
December 18th 2015

All is quiet now
Only darkness remains
Thick black velvet darkness
As black as coal
Pressed into eye sockets
Like thumbs.
Yes
All is quiet now
Yet somewhere
Deep in this awful labyrinth
Voices chant distantly
Please cup your ears
To hear them
Sweet like forgotten birdsong
Resounding in some
Primeval forest long ago:
"The miners united
Will never be defeated!"
Fading...fading
Melting into the darkness
"will never be..."
"defeated..."
It's all over now
Nothing left to say.
All is silent.

22 comments:

  1. Same thing is happening here...the coal industry is suffering badly...and all the Greenies are jumping up and down with glee and in the meanwhile people are losing their jobs, homes, etc.

    Australia produces clean coal and it was a booming industry...all the flag-wavers have nothing worthwhile with which to replace what they're desperately trying to take away except all their rhetoric. They can't have it both ways!

    Australia produces clean coal.

    The slice of the cake are getting thinner and thinner....

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    1. To create electricity we will need to use coal for the forseeable future. Three large coal burning power stations are within ten miles of Kellingley. Colombia is 5263 miles further.

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    2. I know, Yorkie...but try telling that to the flag-wavers....bloody mob of idiots! They need to be brought back to the real world!

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  2. How outrageous to import coal from where the environmental rules are probably less strict. The same thing is happening in the USA, while China is opening coal powered plants which are not "clean" in astounding number. Where I live in California sad to say but people fight successfully against offshore air turbines, and solar panel farms in the desert, etc.

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    1. It is a mad world isn't it Terra? So many contradictions.

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  3. I saw this chap on the news and his words of hoping to find work to support his family were really touching.

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    1. Many of the older men are fit for nothing else but mining. I couldn't see them flipping burgers in McDonalds. Maybe the younger man will find opportunities.

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  4. It's the same with so many other things that are being imported from places where they are being produced much cheaper, where less strict (if any) regulations are in place and the workforce is so much bigger and less demanding. Of course consumers contribute to this by wanting to spend less and less on products and services - everything has to come as cheap as possible. That can't go without consequences. But it is very unfair to those who were there first, so to speak.
    Actually, I am surprised there was still a colliery going - I thought they had all been shut down years ago.
    So sorry for those directly hit by the shut down, and their families.

    The Ruhrgebiet in Germany was the area where most of the coal mining and steel forging etc. was done in this country. The people there are proud of their past, and say about themselves that "black blood" (as black as coal) is running through their veins.
    The Ruhrgebiet was also, admittedly, the ugliest, dirtiest part of Germany for a long time, not an area you wanted to visit for a holiday.

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    1. "Black blood" - I like that image. At Kellingley, some of the wives agreed that a positive about the pit closure is that they will now be able to have white sheets on their beds.

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    2. That's what I said, when the last deep pit in North Staffordshire closed....
      It's been a long drawn out death, but inevitable really.... :-(

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  5. I don't know much about international trade agreements and protectionism and all that, but it seems sensible to me to levy import duties on foreign products (like coal) in order to make domestic products (with their justifiably higher labor costs owing to better payment and treatment of workers) more competitive. Wouldn't you think?

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    1. You have grasped the nub of the issue Steve and my answer is therefore - Yes!

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  6. I still think that allowing the closure of the deep coal mines is short-sighted, It may be cheaper now to ship it from places like Colombia, but will that always be the case?

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    1. No - as sure as parrots will continue to squawk - that will not always be the case Mr P. Very short-sighted.

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  7. Everybody is right here. The mines should have been kept open. Even tho the work is dangerous and dirty and not the best way to live, the miners know no other way of life. The cost of starting up again is prohibitive.

    In Colorado, over the last 100 years, people have tried to start up again in silver and gold mines and other precious metals but have had to shut down because the cost to do business was more than the price they could get for their product.

    I don't know why people have to buy so much from foreign countries. I look at an item of clothing made in China and think to myself that I would not have my child work in a factory in unfavorable conditions so why would anybody be willing to buy something that a child made in another country working long hours in miserable conditions for very little pay? I just can't do it!

    Back to my sewing machine.

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    1. I wish there was something funny I could say in response to your comment Mama Thyme but there isn't, there just isn't.

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  8. There's a post to get everyone going.

    I blame Maggie Thatcher for all this.. and who was the mining magnate in Britain who said he would take all the coal out of the mine and pitch it into the sea if the miners wouldn't work for the pittance he wanted to pay them?

    It's hard to go past that logic isn't it?

    Ms Soup

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    1. To get everyone going Alphie? ...Perhaps only those who feel an allegiance with miners and have more than their fair share of common sense. I don't know who made that vile threat.

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  9. Sad. Isn't it strange that so much has been said in recent times about the need to provide an ethical footprint with regard to food-miles, yet the great clod-hopping strides of fuel-miles are allowed to trample down traditions, livelihoods and the people that count?

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    1. Characteristically, you have spoken truly Elizabeth.

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  10. I'm obviously going to get a lot of stick for this but coal mining should stop. You don't have to be a greenie to see this - there's no such thing as clean carbon. It's pollution that is killing the planet. I'm sorry to see the last Yorkshire coal miners losing their jobs (my family worked down the mines near Wakefield for generations) but the coal should stay in the ground.

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    Replies
    1. But what about the imports Michael? We haven't reached a time when we can rely wholly on renewables.

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