The Socialist

The Socialist 9 June 2021

1137

The Socialist issue 1137

G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism

Tory school catch-up plan: Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need

Post-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

G7 green hypocrisy

New book - coming soon: The Struggle for World Socialism

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism


Tory splits and infighting growing


'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

We're building for 3 July NHS protests


Goodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

Revolt against 'social partnership' at Wales Trades Union Congress 2021

Douwe Egberts workers strike against pay cuts of up to 12,000 a year

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

Fight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

Workplace news in brief


The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


Cladding safety: Protests demand developers and government pay

"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

Hundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Shame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord


Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?


TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Readers' Opinion

 
 
 
 
 

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TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

History as written by the bosses

Miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair

Miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair   (Click to enlarge)

Eric Segal, Kent Socialist Party

'Mrs Thatcher vs The Miners, the Battle for Britain', a documentary recently screened on Channel 5, is a transparent attempt by the bosses to rewrite history. History is written by the victors, but this account demands scrutiny by workers.

Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), came to prominence as a miners' leader in 1972 when he organised 'flying pickets' of Saltey Gate depot. Having won this dispute, the NUM again struck in 1974, which forced the Tories to call a general election. After losing that election, and another in 1974, the Tories chose a new leader, Mrs Thatcher who was elected as prime minister in 1979. The documentary presents the miners' strike as a personal struggle between Thatcher and Scargill.

Stephen Sherbourne, Thatcher's sycophantic private secretary, comments: "She presented simple messages again and again"; "To the outside world she's not only clear and inflexible, she's clear focused and determined"; "Thatcher had one plan on her mind and that was to control the unions". Neil Kinnock, wealthy failed ex-leader of the Labour Party, is contemptuous of Scargill: "Margaret Thatcher and Scargill deserved each other, absolutely no one else deserved them". "She planned and she was prepared, he postured and banged his chest, and shouted".

Matthew Parris, ex-Tory MP whose mild-mannered mask slipped, said: "In politics there are some battles you have to win, some things you can't do without confrontation, sometimes you have to have a fight and win." And so the ruling class made detailed plans to break the NUM. In 1981 the National Coal Board (NCB) announced that 23 pits were to close, this led to a walk out. However, the Tories feared that the timing wasn't right to take on the miners. Coal stocks were deemed too low, and so Thatcher, in a humiliating defeat, was forced to postpone the pit closure programme.

Charles Moore, Thatcher's biographer, commented: "She then set about building up coal stocks. She made secondary picketing illegal, organised a national police force trained in methods used in Northern Ireland to control riots." The tactics of bribing scabs, and deliberately starving working-class women and children came later.

The leadership, strategy and tactics of the strike must be studied, but workers will know that the miners had no choice but to fight. The defeat of the miners in 1985 wasn't about a lack of courage, determination or working-class support.

The victory of the ruling class wasn't due to their strengths, but because the right-wing leaders of the labour and trade union movement stabbed the miners in the back by refusing to mobilise the rest of the working class in solidarity. This led to social and economic devastation in the mining communities. The miners who fought that battle, the miners' wives and their communities will inspire future generations.

This documentary is a naked attempt by the bosses to intimidate the working class. It is an attempt to warn a new, young layer of workers looking towards workers' struggle not to go down the road of militant trade unionism. The documentary poses a challenge to aspiring trade unionists: Are you prepared to stand your ground against the bosses?

For a true account of the strike from the standpoint of the working class read: 'A Civil War Without Guns, The Lessons of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike' written by Ken Smith and available to buy at leftbooks.co.uk

  • 'Mrs Thatcher vs The Miners' can be streamed on my5

In this issue


News

G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism

Tory school catch-up plan: Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need

Post-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

G7 green hypocrisy

New book - coming soon: The Struggle for World Socialism

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism


What we think

Tory splits and infighting growing


NHS

'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

We're building for 3 July NHS protests


Workplace news

Goodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

Revolt against 'social partnership' at Wales Trades Union Congress 2021

Douwe Egberts workers strike against pay cuts of up to 12,000 a year

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

Fight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

Workplace news in brief


Lessons from history

The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


Campaigns news

Cladding safety: Protests demand developers and government pay

"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

Hundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Shame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord


Israel/Palestine

Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?


Readers' opinion

TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Readers' Opinion


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 June 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

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