Why I won’t be celebrating Thatcher’s death


4:39 pm - April 8th 2013

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by Kate Smurthwaite

What a strange day. The television is full of politicians being sad, the internet is full of people I know being happy.

Personally I just can’t get on the bandwagon with the gleeful grave-dancers. Not because I agreed with her policies or liked her in spite of them. No, there is no doubt that her legacy is a shameful one.

But, firstly, that legacy is alive and well. The current government are on a privatisation spree, benefits are being ripped away from those who need them most and who are least able to fight back. Even healthcare and education are being sliced up and handed to the private sector to be run for maximum profit rather than for the sick and the next generation.

No individual, however much of a figurehead, can change laws and decide budgets alone. Her party and her ideology continue at full pace.

Secondly no discussion of her life or death seems free from the taint of sexism. People I know who wouldn’t tolerate prejudiced language anywhere else are using terms like “witch”, “harridan” and “ugly cow”. I’m pretty sure the miners in the 80s were angry about her closing the collieries, not her lack of “doability”.

Plus rather than saying that Cameron and Osborne’s policies are similar to Thatcher’s, all I hear is that they “suckle on her teats” and “are the spawn of her fetid ovaries”. The choice of language implies childbearing and breastfeeding are vile, unnatural things. They’re not. Grow up.

Finally the people who are really celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher today aren’t the left at all. The reality is that headline-grabbing news like this couldn’t come at a more ideal time, taking the heat off the slashing of disability benefits.

I am cynical enough to think the coalition might pick a “busy news day” like today to quietly do something awful and hope it slips under the radar.

Tomorrow when we wake up still wrapped in the “Thatcher’s dead” bunting we’ll notice it seems oddly quiet and as the hangover fog starts to fade we’ll suddenly realise the government has taken our children.

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Reader comments


1. Hazel Humphreys

Good point about burying bad news Kate, but for many people up North in the 1980s the government did effectively take their children, due to the dearth of opportunities in their towns and cities. Hence the apparently over-proportionate glee at a mad old lady’s passing.

Thatcherism or Scargilism? No choice there, so I joined the Liberals. During the miners strike I provoked Barnsley folk to write to me, passed their letters round the pub and we had a little vote. Six one to the miners. And that from people living in Hertfordshire, well away from coal mines.

3. David Ellis

Bad news is being buried and we should tramp the dirt down but whilst 10% of my anger is directed at the benighted zombie Thatcher the rest is reserved for her facilitators especially on the left.

She made many errors but this is not the time to discuss them; her legacy is certainly not shameful.

Thatcher was a great leader and fine prime minister.

RIP Margaret Thatcher: a great woman.

http://www.businessinsider.com/thatcher-and-the-winter-of-discontent-2013-4

It was all so much better before 1979, wasn’t it?!

Well, said – her policies were her policies and her person was her person and there should be no difficulty in liking one and not the other or liking/disliking both but they are not the same thing and those who spend their entire time vilifying someone’s person because they don’t like the policies will never effect any change and more likely hamper it.
I think a lot more time will have to pass before her legacy can be assessed dispassionately but nothing has changed today other than the death of an old woman with alzheimer’s. A sad time for her family and friends but really nothing to do with the rest of us since it’s two decades since she left politics

Kate Smurthwaite:

But, firstly, that legacy is alive and well.

We know. That’s why the death of the architect of that legacy is significant.

Secondly no discussion of her life or death seems free from the taint of sexism.

Regrettable, especially when a sentiment such as ‘burn in hell forever’ might cover it instead. This is a sub-category of ‘people who are outraged by the response to Thatcher’s death’, most likely to be (a) be appropriated by the likes of Louise Mensch and (b) drowned out by right-wingers looking for something to be offended by (such as, erm, Louise Mensch).

The reality is that headline-grabbing news like this couldn’t come at a more ideal time, taking the heat off the slashing of disability benefits.

I’d see it more as an ironic juxtaposition of her politics and her legacy. Maybe her last words were: ‘Mission: Accomplished.’ Plus, sneaking bad news out on a ‘big news’ day is what governments do.

I can’t say I’ve resisted the urge to snark, but on the other hand that sits alongside remembering what Thatcher stood for and did while PM.

8. Kismet Hardy

Aw let people be happy. We all know those idiots who want to waste a perfectly good time machine just go back and shoot Hitler wouldn’t have made much difference to the tip Germany were on, or killing Saddam made things any better. But when a person who makes others suffer dies, it’s okay to rejoice

9. ludicrous pseudonym

This article reads very much like a straw man attack. Perhaps the OP could link to some examples? The only vitriol I have seen has very much focussed on the amount of misery Thatcher caused and the consequences of her ideology.
Also I’m fairly sure the miners used stronger and more offensive terms than “witch”.

10. Michael Mahon

The reason we must rejoice at her passing, is so that others can see what hatred she has inspired. And we are not blinded by her frailty in her later years.
To inspire such hate, and division, in my eyes, means that she at very least was not person who was conductive to the public good.
And the most important reason is so her followers can not rewrite history!

I’ve not seen any of the sexist comments cited, just a certain amount of gladness that she’s gone.

And we need to counter the inevitable hagiographies that will come from the right, which no doubt *will* aim to use this news to both bolster her “legacy” and use the news to drown out details of their latest spiteful little atrocities.

I’m slightly embarrassed by all this celebration, not because I feel sorry for her memory, but because it just comes across as impotent rage.
People have a right to be angry at her and even be happy that she’s dead, (I saw plenty of giddy comments about Chavez on the internet when he died). She was largely before my time so I don’t have that strong an opinion about her (I just have a vague notion that she invented greed in the 80s), but I realise she inspired intense views and for many the hatred is justified.
I just wish there was something more constructive on the horizon for the left. Until there is, we’re stuck with her legacy. There’s no point celebrating if she’s not really dead.

She was a black-hearted, family-destroying – no, SOCIETY-destroying piece of shit, Adam – you have NO IDEA how much she’s hated here in the north east of England.

Her grave will hopefully become a public toilet for any right-minded individul to make liberal use of, and I agree with what Frankie Boyle said about her when the question came up about whether she should get a state funeral: it’s not so much about whether she should get a state funeral, but whether we should have had to wait until she died before we buried her.

There’ll be parties in the streets up here when they finally put the evil bitch under the ground.

14. Charlieman

@10. Michael Mahon: “The reason we must rejoice at her passing, is so that others can see what hatred she has inspired.”

That is not logical. We can understand the consequences of her governance without celebrating Thatcher’s death.

Well it’s very big of you, Kate, to be so magnanimous. I guess you never lived through Thatcher’s reign then.

16. Derek Hattons Tailor

Most of the people celebrating don’t appear to have even been born or were children in the 1980s. They don’t even understand what they are celebrating

17. Hazel Humphreys

Weird – I was 8 when she came into power, but I wasted time today arguing with someone in their 20s about the rightness/wrongness of celebrating her death. If you grew up in the North in the 70s/80s and were not somehow massively rich – it’s kind of a given you’ll have been vaguely pleased (despite it being illogical) that she is gone from this earth.

Hazel

“If you grew up in the North in the 70s/80s and were not somehow massively rich – it’s kind of a given you’ll have been vaguely pleased (despite it being illogical) that she is gone from this earth.”

The north really needs to worry, not because of Mrs T, but because of this:

“London schools have improved so rapidly over the past 10 years that even children in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods can expect to do better than the average pupil living outside the capital.”
[FT 13 January 2013]

“‘A first-rate city with a second-rate country attached.’ That is how one rather brutal friend of mine describes London. . . . The Office for National Statistics reckons that the average Londoner contributes 70% more to Britain’s national income than people in the rest of the country – a difference of £16,000 each a year.” [BBC website]

19. Charlieman

@17. Hazel Humphreys: “Weird – I was 8 when she came into power, but I wasted time today arguing with someone in their 20s about the rightness/wrongness of celebrating her death. If you grew up in the North in the 70s/80s and were not somehow massively rich – it’s kind of a given you’ll have been vaguely pleased (despite it being illogical) that she is gone from this earth.”

Perhaps, Hazel, you might reflect.

Before Margaret Thatcher died, she was an old lady. She ceased to be Prime Minister before the WWW existed-ish. She was an old crock. Look after the old bird and look after all of her age. That is called civility or manners.

Margaret Thatcher is dead, and it makes no difference.

I really worry that the obsession with demonising Mrs Thatcher blots out recollection of the very real problems with the economy in the 1970s.

It is unnecassry to be a Thatcherite to recall that Britain was seen as being the sick economy of W Europe in the 1970s and correctly so if the data are analysed. It is pure fantasy to think that all was well until Mrs T became PM on May 1979. The Thatcher governments made many bad policy decisions but those are better coldly analysed. The evidence is that the performance of Britain’s economy did improve relative to that of European peer-group countries since the end of the 1970s.

It is unnecessary to believe that Monetarism was anything but thoroughly confused – it was formally abandoned in the autumn of 1985. What caused the greater contraction of industry was a combination of many factors – low productivity, an appreciating Pound exchange rate because of North Sea oil coming on stream at a time of high world oil prices, the pressing need to squeeze inflationary expectations out of the economy, poor management etc etc. Demonization blankets out illuminating analysis of the situation.

21. Gallbladder

What I don’t get is that it seems to be largely the same people who are angry about closing coal mines as well as angry about burning coal and emitting CO2. Doesn’t look very consistent.

22. John Reid

6cjcj, how ever bad the winter of discontent was, there was no one dyeing on NHS trolleys in corridors, or 1000′s of people sleeping in cardboard boxes , before Thatcher, and 4 million unemployed was unheard of too.

A few months ago I was out with a group of friend when one (who works for the Guardian – no joke) said he’d be celebrating on the day Margaret Thather died …….. dancing on her metaphorical grave and other crap. I told him he was pathetic and he should get over it as it made him sound like a Pratt.

I have the same opinion about any of those who are jumping for joy at her death.

As far as the supposed hatered for her up north, especially by those connected with mining – tough, she didn’t pick the fight Scargill did and you can hardly blame her for sticking at it until the miners impoverished themselves so much they had to return to work by which time they had proved the point that the country could survive without them.

I have to confess, I posted the YouTube clip from The Wizard of Oz (The Wicked Witch is Dead) on my blog, until someone pointed out it was sexist. Sorry. Anyway, I replaced it with a video accompanied by John McCullagh’s “I’ll Dance On Your Grave, Mrs Thatcher.”

And, yes, I know that Thatcherism isn’t dead. But she still remains the figurehead for the transformation of my country from a bit of a shambles into a complete shithouse. And I can assure you that if that bastard Blair pops his clogs before me, I’ll be just as delighted and just as rude and nasty about him.

25. Porkbeast

“The best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient and rebellious. They are quite right to be so”.

Oscar Wilde

What I don’t get is that it seems to be largely the same people who are angry about closing coal mines as well as angry about burning coal and emitting CO2. Doesn’t look very consistent.

It’s not so much the loss of the coal industry per se that’s the issue (for me, anyway), it’s the ruthless and sadistic manner in which it was done. The objective was not merely the reform of an industry, but rather the destruction of an entire culture. You can think that coal mining is a bad idea without wanting to see miners and their communities suffer unnecessarily. You can try and make some sort of provision for alternative employment and retraining, some attempt at a gradual transition… Or you can simply tear it all down and salt the Earth behind you, whilst demonising your victims as sub-human scrounging scum.

“As far as the supposed hatered for her up north, especially by those connected with mining – tough, she didn’t pick the fight Scargill did and you can hardly blame her for sticking at it until the miners impoverished themselves so much they had to return to work by which time they had proved the point that the country could survive without them.”
I think she did, why build up coal reserves at power stations.
She was lucky that Scargill was such inept union leader but she and McGregor knew what they were doing.

28. Sean Halsey

Thank goodness Liberal Conspiracy was here – I had thought that Thatcher’s death would magically end neo-liberalism, but apparently it didn’t?! I’ll run out and inform everyone to stop celebrating!

“Thank goodness Liberal Conspiracy was here – I had thought that Thatcher’s death would magically end neo-liberalism, but apparently it didn’t?! I’ll run out and inform everyone to stop celebrating!”
Strange comment.

I agree with the article – Thatcher’s legacy was appalling and people shouldn’t be cowed from talking about that or required to applaud out of patriotism. But staging / attending a party to celebrate a death is at best weird, and to many people a lot worse than that.

You may say “oh, they don’t understand what she did to my people”, and yes, correct, most probably don’t. For example, I was three at the time of the miner’s strike.

But you know, they’re not about to say “oh, all these people dancing on the grave of an old lady I know little about, she must have done something really bad”. They’re going to look at people dancing on the grave of someone they know little about, over some old political dispute they know little of, and think: surely these are hate-filled evil people. No matter how justified you think the hatred is: that is what they will see.

I really wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a significant drop in support for left wing parties generally as a result of publicity around this.

Jungle: “Thatcher’s legacy was appalling ”

Compare Sam Brittan writing in the FT: “The relative decline of the British economy in the century up to the late 1970s has been reversed. Since then, the UK has caught up with and even overtaken its principal trading partners. The previous two sentences are neither a typing mistake nor a daydream. They are the sober conclusions of the country’s leading quantitative historian, Prof Nicholas Crafts”
http://www.samuelbrittan.co.uk/text399_p.html

32. Porkbeast

?hen the Germans closed their coalmines down not one miner left the coal industry before another job was created. No social devistation or ripped appart socila fabric. They are civilised.

Thatcher was a class war thug who wanted to punish.

33. Porkbeast

?hen the Germans closed their coalmines down not one miner left the coal industry before another job was created. No social devistation or ripped appart socila fabric. They are civilised.

Thatcher was a class war thug who wanted to punish.

Check out the massive external financing of the nationalised Coal Board reported in David Butler: Twentieth Century Political Facts 1900-2000, page 444.

1979 – £600m; 1980 – £700m; 1981 – £800m; 1982 – £1,200m; 1983 – £1,000m; 1984 – £1,200m; 1985 – 1,700m; 1986 – £400m; 1987 – £900m; 1988 – £900m; 1989 – £800m; 1990 – £1,300m; 1991 – £900m; 1992 – £600m; 1993 – £800m; 1994 – £1,400m; 1995 – £700m.

That taxpayers’ money could have built or renovated a lot of hospitals and schools.

In the lead up to the 1984/85 minining strike, there was massive over-production of coal. So much coal was being stockpiled at power stations and pit heads that it was challenging to find room to stock more.

With record stocks of coal above ground, the strike began in South Yorkshire in the spring of 1984 without a strike ballot. In the following summer months with warmer weather, the demand for electricity and coal went down. The strike was about getting even larger subsidies for coal mining regardless of the consequences for anyone else. Little wonder then that neither the Labour Party or the TUC backed the strike. The strike was costly for all and totally daft.

It’s worth reading Peter Walker on the strike as he was the secretary of state with ministerial responsibility for the nationalised coal industry at the time:

“The Conservative Government wanted to avoid any strike or confrontation. . . ”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3503545.stm

“It’s worth reading Peter Walker on the strike as he was the secretary of state with ministerial responsibility for the nationalised coal industry at the time:

“The Conservative Government wanted to avoid any strike or confrontation. . . ”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3503545.stm
Bob he isn’t going to the opposite.
I agree with you totally about Scargill but the government at the time lied about the number of pit closures. They both wanted the conflict for different reasons

The case for Maggie economically is open but you do get the dark feeling that she and her supporters (kojak, cjcj, Tim J, Tone and SmFS) regret that she couldn’t implement the methods of pinochets secret police on many lefties including you Sunny, liberals and a few members of her own party.
Also will there be empty chairs for Jimmy Saville (who spent every X mas with maggie) and Jim Davidson at the expensive state funded funeral

P.Diddy

“I agree with you totally about Scargill but the government at the time lied about the number of pit closures. They both wanted the conflict for different reasons”

There had to be pit closures because too much subsidised coal was being produced but strikes are costly and because, in due course, the world price of oil halved in 1985/86 – that mattered because the price paid by the electricity boards for coal derived from the world oil price.

The Conservatives had planned for the eventualty of a strike. Compare this about the Ridley report, leaked to The Economist where it was reported in May 1978. NUM members may not read The Economist but you can bet that Prof Vic Allen of Leeds Uni, who was advising Scargill, knew about the Ridley Plan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridley_Plan

BBCTV2 broadcast a series of programmes in late 1999 on the Spying Game in which Prof Vic Allen was uncovered as an agent of the defunct East German intelligence organisation – the infamous Stasi. The Guardian reported: “Prof Allen was an ally of Arthur Scargill during the 1984-85 miners’ strike. In 1987 he published a book, The Russians Are Coming. His pro-Soviet views were well known. . .” [Guardian 20 September 1999]

34

So now we pay out around £51 billion in tax-credits and housing benefit, mainly for the employed, still, as I’ve mentioned in another thread, the redistribution is more equally spread.

39. Laughing at the Left

Are lefties the thickest people in the country? How stupid do you have to be to imagine that acting like the Westboros Baptist crazies at a funeral could actually do anything other than damage your cause?

Good points Bob

“Are lefties the thickest people in the country?”
Probably but you sound like a very close second

p.diddy @36 – completely bonkers!

43. Alex Higgins

Yep, stay away from Thatcher’s funeral.

Do this – highlight the people Thatcher hurt by donating to causes and campaigns that show her ideology and conduct in government up:

http://donthatedonate.com/

p.diddy @36 – completely bonkers!
I know but the feeling still lurks there.

Oh noes! Tony Blair has piped up and said that the street parties are in poor taste. Probably because that fucker will be getting the same treatment on his passing too.

Amid the efforts being made by Conservatives to canonise Mrs Thatcher, recall the circumstances in which she resigned:

Margaret Thatcher is to stand down as prime minister after her Cabinet refused to back her in a second round of leadership elections.

She will remain in office until a successor is elected, but will not continue to fight Michael Heseltine for the Conservative Party leadership.

The former secretary of state for the environment [namely, Heseltine] threw down the gauntlet after a string of serious disputes over Britain’s involvement in the European Union.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/22/newsid_2549000/2549189.stm

Mrs Thatcher had come to be seen by many Conservatives in 1990 as an electoral liability.

What I dislike most about the current debate is the persistent attempts made to rewrite history on a grand scale in order to promote various political causes. We need solid, accurate history because documented evidence is the only sure way to evaluate whether particular policies have been successful or not.

Events have rather vindicated Mrs Thatcher’s inclination towards Euroscepticism rather than Heseltine’s enthusiasm for Britain joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in October 1990, which led to the debacle of September 1992 when Britain was forced out of the ERM at some cost to Britain’s foreign currency reserves in the efforts made to fend off mounting speculative attacks.

p.diddy re comment 27:

Thanks for the message.

“I think she did, why build up coal reserves at power stations.
She was lucky that Scargill was such inept union leader but she and McGregor knew what they were doing.”

As a member of the former Heath government I suspect Thatcher thought the miners were out to get her and she was smart enough to cave into their demands during her first term. It wasn’t until her second term that there was sufficient coal stockpiled at power stations and contracts agreed for imports – once they were in place she stood a good chance of winning and allowed Scargill to walk into his own trap, which like a true bozo he did with great enthusiasm.

Call me what you will but I regard the bleating in support of former miners as completely pointless and misguided. They were up for the fight and lost. It sounds to me like the descendants of a losing boxer berating the memory of the winning boxer for consigning them to a life without the future winnings they believed they deserved to inherit.

“Scargill to walk into his own trap, which like a true bozo he did with great enthusiasm.”

Scargill really isn’t dumb. I doubt that he cared about winning the strike. Doing damage to the economy and parading a working class revolutionary challenge to the capitalist system is what the strike was about from his perspective. And then there was his connection with Prof Vic Allen, later uncovered as a Stasi spy.

Mick Mcgahey – NUM vice president at the time of the strike – became increasingly critical of Scargill: “We are a movement, not a monument.”

“As a member of the former Heath government I suspect Thatcher thought the miners were out to get her and she was smart enough to cave into their demands during her first term. It wasn’t until her second term that there was sufficient coal stockpiled at power stations and contracts agreed for imports – once they were in place she stood a good chance of winning and allowed Scargill to walk into his own trap, which like a true bozo he did with great enthusiasm.”
Thanks for making my point.

“Call me what you will but I regard the bleating in support of former miners as completely pointless and misguided”
Well no surprise there. I would have been very taken aback if you would have taken the opposite view.

“Scargill really isn’t dumb. I doubt that he cared about winning the strike. Doing damage to the economy and parading a working class revolutionary challenge to the capitalist system is what the strike was about from his perspective. And then there was his connection with Prof Vic Allen, later uncovered as a Stasi spy.”
Agreed but I think he was dumb.
Surely not getting a ballot, which he would have won, would have given him the moral high ground with non striking miners. That was pretty dumb

51. the a&e charge nurse

Thatch’s death is undoubtably leavened by her age – I seem to recall similar mixed emotions when her mate, the aging gangster pinochet was called to account.

Now had her fatal stroke occurred while she was busy shutting down half of wales and the north then I’m sure the party would really have got going – mind you I doubt if Mensch would be mixing on the decks?

“Surely not getting a ballot, which he would have won, would have given him the moral high ground with non striking miners. That was pretty dumb”

Scargill had extensive sources of intelligence gathering in the coal fields and probably learned that winning a strike ballot in the Yorkshire coalfield wasn’t certain, while he wanted a strike to make a political point.

The strike spread out of Corton Wood Colliery in Rotherham but faced with a ballot paper, other Yorkshire pits could have taken a realistic view that, in spring time, with coal stocks at power stations and pit heads at record levels, that was not good timing for a winning a strike. Terrible pressures were applied to miners who didn’t strike to ensure “solidarity”.

FWIW I think Scargill wanted a strike as a political demonstration against Thatcher winning the election in September 1983 with a majority of 140 seats. That was not expected in Yorkshire where Labour supporters really believed that the 1983 Manifesto was a winner.

Believe me, Scargill isn’t dumb. He just has very eccentric politics and gathers friends and colleagues around him who share and bolster those beliefs. His Socialist Labour Party usually attracts fewer votes in South Yorkshire than the BNP and similar. Local politics in Doncaster, which has the most active mining politics in the county, have been a local disaster.

Recall that Stella Rimmington of MI5 had South Yorkshire very thoroughly under surveillance during the strike.

“Secondly no discussion of her life or death seems free from the taint of sexism”.

What the blazes has “Sexism” got to do with her legacy? She didn’t do anything for women during her premiership.

“Recall that Stella Rimmington of MI5 had South Yorkshire very thoroughly under surveillance during the strike.”
No police state there then.
Any agent provocateurs then.
I don’t know Bob anyone with a modicum of common sense would have run that campaign more successfully, even his own union leaders thought he was thick.
Also if he was a commie agent. He wasn’t very good because we all thought he was one. Surely if he had any intelligence or guile or if he was an agent of reds he would have played the role of the reasonable man.

“even [Scargill's] own union leaders thought he was thick.”

Not so in my experience – and that doesn’t explain why thousands used to turn up for the picket lines at Orgreave om 1984 nor the large vote that Scargill attracted in the ballot for the NUM Presidency in 1981 or when he was voted President of the NUM for life after the mining strike.

“Not so in my experience – and that doesn’t explain why thousands used to turn up for the picket lines at Orgreave om 1984 nor the large vote that Scargill attracted in the ballot for the NUM Presidency in 1981 or when he was voted President of the NUM for life after the mining strike”
Well he had the sympathy vote and unfortunately he was able to use the left’s achilles heel. I am my enemies enemy.
I am sorry Bob but my old man met him once and he thought he was a thick and would not listen to any argument with an open mind.
He and Thatcher were typical conviction politicians

Lets start she ,et the ,press use so many lies they ruined peoples lives, to the point they incited hatred.
she sold councul homes so cheaply and didn’t use the money to build new ones,
She oted ,against every piece of equality legislation, and was snobbish with the greed she created,
shecused the police to the point she turned a blind eye to some excesses

Wasted North Sea oil, took credit for consumerism and economy

And supported fascist regimes in Chile and South Africa,

,when Reagan wanted nuclear weapons gone she wanted more

The Destruction of theNHS ,crime , child poverty unemployment all tripled

The French now own our gas electric and water

“Scargill and Thatcher were typical conviction politicians”

Scargill was certainly a conviction politician but neither he, nor Mrs T, was stupid.

From Scargill’s perspective, the 1984/85 was intended as a political demonstration to arouse working class consciousness. Actually winning more subsidies from the government for a nationalised coal industry producing too much coal was a secondary consideration. From his starting point, he behaved logically. The votes he attracted in the NUM elections for the presidency show us that he had a great deal of popular support in the NUM.

“but rather the destruction of an entire culture.”

As for that mining culture, Thatcher’s cabinet was of a generation that remembered – as I can – the power cuts during that long, bitterly cold winter of 1946/47 with snow on the ground from January through to mid March.

In 1946, Douglas Jay had warned the cabinet that coal stocks were running perilously low and that coal production should be increased by employing more miners. But the NUM blocked jobs for displaced Polish miners who were living in Britain. Try this from the entry in Wikipedia:

The effects of the cold winter were made worse by problems in the energy sector which included low supplies of coal. The coal and electricity industries had been recently nationalised by Clement Attlee’s government and put under the control of the Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell. Shinwell oversaw efforts to increase production, but there were concerns that the coal supply was inadequate. At the start of the winter the coal stockpiles contained enough coal to last for just four weeks, compared to the usual supplies of ten to twelve weeks which existed before the war. However Shinwell allowed himself to be lulled into a false sense of security by over-optimistic productivity reports from the miners’ union (NUM). These reports failed to translate into real production as the government feared to take on the NUM, whose members’ absentee rates were 2.5 times that of pre-war. The risk of a coal shortage caused the public to buy electric fires to ensure a source of heat for their homes. This, in turn, put a greater strain on the supply of electricity – the monthly demand increase caused by electric fires in 1946 was roughly the same as the annual increase in generating capacity. Shinwell was warned in mid-October 1946 that a coal shortage was possible, but gambled on a mild winter to keep consumption low so that he would not have to risk a confrontation with the miners.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_1946%E2%80%931947_in_the_United_Kingdom

Attlee sacked Shinwell. There is an extended discussion of this in Alec Cairncross: Years of Recovery 1945-51

Try this from Prof Mary Davis, Centre for Trade Union Studies on: The Labour Movement and World War Two:

“Until 1941 when the Soviet Union entered the war, communists in Britain, having little commitment to the war effort, refused to be bound by the national unity consensus and in particular the ban on strike action. During the first few months of the war, there were over 900 strikes, almost all of them very short but illegal nonetheless. Despite the provisions of Order 1305 there were very few prosecutions until 1941 since Bevin, anxious to avoid the labour unrest of the First World War, sought to promote conciliation rather than conflict. The number of strikes increased each year until 1944, almost half of them in support of wage demands and the remainder being defensive actions against deteriorations in workplace conditions. Coal and engineering were particularly affected. A strike in the Betteshanger colliery in Kent in 1942 prompted the first mass prosecutions under Order 1305. Three officials of the Betteshanger branch were imprisoned and over a thousand strikers were fined. Such repression and the general ‘shoulders to the wheel’ approach to industrial production in support of the war effort (strongly backed by the Communist Party after 1941) did not stop strikes. The fact that so many strikes took place in the mining industry was due in the main to the fact that the designation of coal mining as essential war work entailed the direction of selected conscripts to work in the mines (‘Bevin boys’). This was very unpopular among regular miners.”

On the evidence, miners didn’t give a sod about the rest of us.

The NUM has form – see Correlli Barnett: Audit of War, and, The Lost Victory, on the mining strikes during WW2:

“More working days were lost through strikes every year from 1942 to 1945 than in 1938, the last full year of peacetime. Coal was far and away the worst offender, with no fewer than 1.2 million man-days and 2 millions tons of coal lost in the first quarter of 1944 alone. Usually a coal strike was about wages, which really meant the miner’s place in the industrial pecking order. But one local strike during the Normandy invasion year of 1944, costing a 1000 tons of production, took place simply because the miners wanted to get rid of the canteen lady.” [The Lost Victory (1995), p.34]

61. youneed toread

When people give in to violent and agressive passions it disrupts and divides society. IS money be-hind it all? What some have in mind for public schools is to warped to mention, CHECK it out. MASSRESISTANCE ORG And if U dont do something today what will tomorrow be like ? What is fatalism ? A view that undermines personal responsibility. When politicians have no principles all they have is an office. When you pay attention to the dictates of the conscience it can keep you from physical pains and mental anguish. If i leave the pig alone would he leave my past alone? ALL blood cries out for justice. Put your meats on trial and see if they turn and try the mind. And that is Biblical. PS 107 MK 5 Pay attention to the word tomb in Mark it reffers to a warring mind. Dont be a pain in the neck u could end up with one. PRO 29 :1 The swine were also symbols of obscurantist tendencies to ignorance, gluttony, lust and selfishness. Who has the discernment to see the connection between food a warring mind and the results of not knowing the GOD of the HOLY BIBLE? And how he reached out to a man who did’nt even ask for help. When seeking the God of compassion you’ll need a heart of humility. OR your living a life that’s unpredicatable.

Excellent article except it is not ‘sexism’ it is rampant male hatred and male contempt for Margaret Thatcher the woman not Margaret Thatcher the politician.

Male politicians are never called sexually insulting names and neither are they denigrated because their sex happens to be male. Are male politicians routinely called ‘pr….s?’ No because the sex of male politicians is irrelevant but men continue to see women as ‘sex’ and the late Margaret Thatcher is no exception.

Misogyny and blatant male hatred/male contempt is the issue – not sexism which can be levied at both sexes.


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