Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 26 April 2013 at 11:38 GMT

Thatcher's funeral day event in Newbridge

Thatcher's funeral day event in Newbridge   (Click to enlarge)

Thatcher funeral day event in Newbridge

The 17th of April was not a day to remember Margaret Thatcher. It was a day to reflect with pride on the working class heroes who fought her.

That was the verdict of the crowd in the Newbridge hotel, in South Wales. At the front of the club was the South Wales NUM banner with the slogan "The past we inherit, the future we build through socialism".

The mood in the club was buoyant. People wanted to remember how the miners' strike had brought everyone together to fight, but also they wanted the young people in the crowd to know just what forces the state had been prepared to use to try to crush us.

Ron Stoat, Penallta Colliery NUM lodge secretary, spoke about how you had to drive over the mountain just to get to Celynen South to picket, because the police were sending back all the cars on the main road that had more than one man in them, even if they were going in to work at the local Girlings plant.

He told about reporting to sign in twice a day at the police station when they were bound over to 'keep the peace' and identifying themselves as "the enemy within" just to wind up the officer on duty.

Ron told how the police - supposedly impartial - went around trying to get people to go back to work. How when they went to Orgreave, for once there were no road blocks, because the police were luring them in - how men were driven over a 20 foot drop at a culvert and how the police wrecked the town when men fled there.


Ron talked about how deeply everyone felt the solidarity from near and far; how solid the organisation was - scabs were as rare as Tories in South Wales, after all - and how women who had never been involved in anything before had risen to the challenge, starting out organising food, moving quickly onto the picket lines and then on to speak at meetings of hundreds of people.

All through the 25 minute speech young people at the front sat rapt, drinking in every word. When Ron had finished, the applause roared through the room.

People gathered round to shake Ron's hand and then they spent the rest of the night glad to be all together, proud to be South Wales miners and their families.

A South Wales NUM member

Welsh Labour: less class-consciousness than a nine-year old?

On the day of Thatcher's funeral, my nine-year old son, Harry, came home from school to say that they had been made to watch part of the ceremony.

I was just reaching for a pen to compose an angry letter to the school when Harry told me he had already complained himself.

When his teacher asked why he objected, he said that it was "... because of what she had done to the miners and because she lied all the time". It made me a proud dad.

Unfortunately, it seems that some of the leaders of Welsh Labour haven't got an equal class understanding.

Welsh government First Minister, Carwyn Jones, was among the great and good of Labour who went to the funeral to pay their respects.

When Neil Kinnock said that Thatcher had been "... fortunate in her enemies", I thought he had come to a belated understanding of the role he had played in extending her premiership, by attacking socialists rather than the Tories.

Unfortunately not; he wasn't referring to himself but to Arthur Scargill. If Kinnock had shown the same understanding of who the class enemy was as Scargill, or even my son Harry, then we wouldn't have had to wait until the poll tax to turn the iron lady into scrap.

Welsh Labour's honouring of Thatcher is one more indication that we need to build a genuine, fighting, alternative to bury everything she stood for.

The TUSC Wales organising meeting (Saturday 27 April) is hopefully a step in that direction.

Ronnie Job, Swansea

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 26 April 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:

South Wales:

triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleWarts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

triangleBron Afon housing workers step up strike


triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleWelsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP


triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody


triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleTory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

Margaret Thatcher:

triangleLeft comic's take on politics will have you in tears

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice