25th anniversary of the Miners’ Industrial Action of 1984

1972 Birmingham and action taken by miners led to the Battle of Saltley Gate. In consequence a divisive Tory Government led by Edward Heath toppled. By 1984 Labour administrations had come and gone and once more the Tories were back with Margaret Thatcher as leader. A definitive history of these times still has to be written. Meanwhile we have dominating the scene biased right wing media which have run with the “enemy within” myth spouted by Thatcher at the time. This was believed by the gullible as they believed in the justification of the sinking of the Argentinian battleship the Belgrano.
As we endure another round of Toryism complete with new “austerity” measures foisted on us it is becoming abundantly clear who was, and is the “enemy within”: those responsible for allowing British industry to virtually disappear from swathes of industrial Britain leaving whole communities devoid of employment prospects and hope. We became dependent on foreign sources of energy, both costly and unreliable, as our mining industry was first sold off to private hands and then rapidly closed down.
In 2009 a meeting was held at the Conway Halls in Red Lion Square, London, when a number of those present came together to put the record straight. As with the 40th anniversary of Saltley Gate in 2012 the leading figure of Arthur Scargill took centre stage. Largely ignored by mainstream media and dismissed along with others in the forefront of the fight for Socialism as the answer to the crisis of Capitalism it is worth listening to his account of events. This along, with Seamus Milnes corrective “The Enemy Within” are the essentials for an understanding recent history so completely represented by one side with the power to distort and cover up at will.
One of the issues the miners’ leaders were charged with was a failure of democracy within the NUM. As Scargill points out this was far from the case. who took their own decisions. The national leadership were in no position to dictate to them even if they wished to do so. Others criticised them for holding a strike “in the wrong place at the wrong time” while members of the Labour Party and other union leaders wring their hands. There were honourable exceptions, and as Moira Symons, Secretary of the Labour Party in Birmingham in 1972 there were those like Jim Mortimore, present at the meeting on Red Lion Square, who gave their strong support.

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