Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml en-gb 30 Sat 25 Apr 2015 23:43:44 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml Gillianian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=95#comment20 Big Sister (13) Hear! Hear!...and beautifully said, too.One of my strongest memories from that time is of a meeting in NE Scotland which was addressed by a few of the striking miners' wives. Hearing them speak about the role of the mining industry, and the effects of the strike, on their own communities was heartbreaking. Thu 05 Mar 2009 14:48:36 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=90#comment19 SSB,Lao Tzu, Jesus, and then Bob Zimmerman....Sages all. Thu 05 Mar 2009 13:07:07 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=85#comment18 Big Sis 10 etc...I agree with all you've said. Thu 05 Mar 2009 11:58:10 GMT+1 SeriousSoundBiter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=80#comment17 Yes.The social costs of closure were so high that only someone stupid could think it the right policy.Margaret Thatcher had a degree that might have been half way useful, had she researched something more important htan hte appearance of ice creamBut all that chemistry! It rots the mind. Makes one think people are different in kinds, like the the elements. Some base, some bright, some acidic an so on.And an Oxford education, despite it's well known capacity for licensing fools, seems to reinforce the idea.(It could be that the reinforcement is in the intense elitist ideology that the 'Oxbridge orientated' secondary schools trade in. (Their 'success' depends on PLACES there, not on value))As a result there are those who beleive that miners are miners are miners, and Thatchers entitled to generation after generation of highly paid dangerous opinionating.So I repeat a modest proposal.As the singer on my TV screen tells meThe slow one nowWill later be fastAnd the loser nowLater will winAs the first one nowWill later be last.We corral the intergenerationally idle here in public schools.When we re - open the pits we should recruit our labour force from their sixth forms.Those planning a tax on the rest of us for their knowledge of Latin and Greek will be sorely missed, of course.But Oxford physics and chemistry always did limp along and an engineer worth his salt rightly hides the fact that his degree was from there rather than UMIST.Meanwhile it's philosophy lives on in its permenent crisis.So let us transform the place into Ruskin University with the sons and daughters of miners and the grandchildren of slaves strolling the groves of the academe, as their ancestors would wish.Check these youngsters out. They show real wisdom and humility. Surely their time has come.Selection by background, please. It's only reasonable.Rugby, March 5th 2009 Thu 05 Mar 2009 11:40:43 GMT+1 makeitclear http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=76#comment16 Big SisYes, perhaps I should qualify, inasmuch as to say my "nobody" refers to the media pundits, who tend to characterize Scargill as some kind of mad dog leader, concentrating on his rhetoric to the neglect of his very powerful arguments which don't really get an airing.This isn't surprising, the media is establishment biased, and Scargill doesn't cut a sympathetic figure, but the stark accuracy of his fundamental argument and predictions doesn't receive the attention and recognition that it should.History sometimes does reflect over time and to a greter or lesser degree rehabilitate those who have been unfairly treated. Arthur Scargill, a flawed individual perhaps, has never had such sympathetic reassessment, and that's a shame. Thu 05 Mar 2009 10:54:45 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=71#comment15 Thinking about all this has made me very sad. For those of you who were either not around at the time, or who want to revisit the period, this little video seems to recapture much of the the mood.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw9zbTsKNAA Thu 05 Mar 2009 10:43:29 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=66#comment14 makeitclear: I agree with every word you have said, except for this:"as nobody sees fit to recognise, Scargill WAS right."Both at the time, and since, I know of many who recognised this fact. Unfortunately, he muddied his own argument by his actions and in so doing handed Thatcher victory on a plate.This whole debate will, in the light of the economic crisis, be re-evaluated, of this I am sure. It was a foolish action to discard an industry in this way, and we have suffered economically as a result. There were many things that needed reforming in the coal industry, but the baby was thrown out with the bathwater in the 1980s. Thu 05 Mar 2009 09:59:41 GMT+1 makeitclear http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=61#comment13 Big SisWell said, and as you already know, I agree.Yes there was a malaise in the relations between government and unions, and some unpalatable "medicine" was inevitable. However there were two parallel missions at the centre of the mners' strike, Scargill's to save his industry, and Thatcher's to destroy it and to put down a marker to the whole of the TU movement...this was just the begining; it was Pearl HarbourScargill's rhetoric about bringing down the government may have grown out of a recognition that this was an inevitable consequence (given Thatcher's position) of a miners' victory. However he adopted it as an aim and verbalized it with foolish enthusiasm, and this was a grave mistake.Thatcher did not administer the "medicine" of reform with frmness and compassion, but relishing the brutal battle on which she embarked, and almost certainly jubilant to have such a driven and incautious adversary whose heart (and mouth) overuled his head; for her this was a god send.No it was not one of the finest moments in our history. Incredible disregard and cruelty by a government to its people, while the Labour Party bickered and wrung it's hands.And as nobody sees fit to recognise, Scargill WAS right...She set out to destroy the already modernised British coal industry (whilst Germany was heavily subsidising hers), and this is what she did. Now Germany has an invaluable energy back up, and we are dependent on imports from Russia and the like.At the risk of repeating myself, the woman was, is, and always will be remembered for being a total bastard. Thu 05 Mar 2009 09:43:54 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=57#comment12 I agree, makeitclear, that Scargill was more complex than he is usually presented, and anybody present at one of his famous speeches (and I was one who heard him speak at Brighton before the Strike) could not doubt the passion that drove him. However, and for reasons I understand, he did not allow a vote on the Strike, and this gave Mrs. Thatcher the ammunition she sought.The whole issue was extremely complex on both sides, as any of us who lived through that period and who bothered to inform themselves would know.There is no doubt in my mind (and the evidence is there, if you examine it) that Mrs. Thatcher had made it her mission to break the power of the unions. She was aware of their role in the demise of her predecessor and knew that her plans for 'reform' would lead to union unrest. Scargill, for his part, was driven by a messianic desire to protect the industry, but his behaviour, to many within and without the industry, came across as arrogant and undemocratic.I don't think many people, looking back at the sixties and seventies, would now think that it was acceptable for unions to drive the political agenda in the way that they did, and it was, I believe, necessary to create a better balance between union power and the wider needs of the country. But, in the case of the miners, theirs was an industry which was palpably under threat, and not only were thousands on jobs on the line, but also scores of communities which had grown up around the pits. Thatcher, in my opinion, was cruel in her approach to this, and it is one of the reasons that I could never forgive many of her actions while she was in power. The image of miners being charged by baton-wielding police on horseback will never leave me, and I know I'm not alone in this.Whatever the rights or wrongs in the conduct of the two parties, the Government of the day had a duty of care towards its citizens, and throughout the miners' strike it failed spectacularly to exercise that duty. Thu 05 Mar 2009 09:12:48 GMT+1 SeriousSoundBiter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=52#comment11 Was there a single pit which was more economical to close than to keep open?Of course not.But that social cost calculation was kept out of the public debate until late in the strike.Why? Thu 05 Mar 2009 09:10:08 GMT+1 makeitclear http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=47#comment10 Big SisNo neither did emerge with credit. But Scargill needs to be understood. He ha an extreme ideaological position, this is true. This became hardened in his early years as a shop steward when he was targetted by the coal board and sent to work alone in a distant part of the pit crawling a long way through narrow tunnels and for three years working in isolation. it didnt' break him, but I wager, hardened and radicalised him.His extreme ideological osition was a problem, as was his abysmal timing and infallible hubris when he embarked on this action, such that it was doomed from the start.But many of his arguments were sound, and he was starkly right in one crucial thing: he perceived that it was Thatchers intention to annihilate the coal industry in the UK. This was heavily denied at the time, but has proved to be entirely proved beyond dispute.This was his last stand on behalf of the miners, against the class enemy (and I use the word advisedly) Margaret Thatcher.This woman had complete disregard for the "collateral damage" of her meglamaniac obsession to beat Scargill and smash the miners. They were the sacraficial lamb she had to kill, the vanguard of the working class trade union movement. This was the first step in a broader strategy to break it. Scargill was a poor strategist, but he had heart and ideals (a well as ideology). Thatcher was the supreme strategist, but a cold calculating liar, Machiavellian to the core, a dreadful woman who did dreadful things.The BBC aided and abetted, sadly. No, little credit all round, I have to agree,but great sadness indeed. Thu 05 Mar 2009 03:27:28 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=42#comment9 The year of the Falklands War, 1982, I had the great privilege of doing my teaching practice in a school in the Rhondda. Already, the majority of the pits had been closed, and there was considerable hardship in the area. I made many good friends in the valley community where I worked and I felt this was one of the richest years of my life. The sense of community was wonderful: the poverty was heartwrenching. As a student, and with no independent support of my own, I felt very much one with my Welsh colleagues, my pupils, and their families. I wanted to stay on to work in the area, but was debarred because I am not a Welsh speaker.The following year, and at the time the miners struck, I believe there was only one working colliery left in the area, but I knew already how the closure of the other pits had hit hard in that part of the Rhondda. I was in close touch with my friends during that time and know it was a time of even greater strife in the communities in the area.I never forget this time. I remember the collections in the streets where I lived, the scenes on the television, the stories from my brother of life in the Nottingham fields (his father in law was a shop steward near Ollerton) .... It was awful to see communities destroyed by that dreadful confrontation. Neither Scargill nor Thatcher emerged, to my mind, with any glory, but thousands of families were up against the wall by the end of the Strike.I'll be listening to Hugh's report with great interest. Thu 05 Mar 2009 00:00:46 GMT+1 The_Grim_Reaper http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=38#comment8 V@100"In 1981 when Arthur Scargill became President of the National Union of Mineworkers he had an agenda to turn the UK into the 15th republic of the USSR, and abused his union to that purpose. Our country was saved by the best and most courageous peace time Prime Minister of the 20th Century Baroness Thatcher."Your proof would be? Wed 04 Mar 2009 21:24:13 GMT+1 Verisimilitude100 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=33#comment7 The first 40% of this story has been omitted, let’s start at the beginning. Miners pay in 1972 had fallen behind other union workers whom the miners measured their pay structure against. Under the very moderate leadership of Joe Gormley they asked for a reasonable pay raise which as far as I can remember the vast majority of the population, including the middle classes thought justified. The inept and effete Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath decided on confrontation (I admit I voted for him in 1970). He lost the confrontation, and in 1974 when the miners again asked for a pay rise he called a snap election and lost (I voted Liberal).In 1981 when Arthur Scargill became President of the National Union of Mineworkers he had an agenda to turn the UK into the 15th republic of the USSR, and abused his union to that purpose. Our country was saved by the best and most courageous peace time Prime Minister of the 20th Century Baroness Thatcher.The villain of this story was Edward Heath who through his inept sailing sunk more British ships than the U-boats in WW2, and gave civil servants index linked salaries and pensions. Wed 04 Mar 2009 20:59:36 GMT+1 makeitclear http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=28#comment6 Pleasant parks and sitting areas to replace what were coal mines adjudged to be anachronistic and irelevant to modern society.Well, if we can do something about the traffic there may yet be a positive future for Westminster.(Sorry...serious subject and all, but I didn't hear the broadcast so can't really say anything very sensible, other than that Maggie Thatcher was, is and always will be remembered for being, a total bastard ) Wed 04 Mar 2009 20:53:39 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=23#comment5 SSB @ 5, I think I am now forced to class you officially as being one of the 'antis', along with Geert. I don't think you are pro anything in particular, just anti anyone you see as being in any way unlike what you identify yourself as being. That's rather sad. Wed 04 Mar 2009 20:00:46 GMT+1 SeriousSoundBiter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=19#comment4 Let's hope when we reopen the pits with clean coal technology we direct the right people down there.A sort of modern middle class land army would do nicelyPM could report their very nice poems. Wed 04 Mar 2009 18:49:14 GMT+1 gossipmistress http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=14#comment3 Hugh's report was almost all I heard on tonight's programme. It was insightful, sympathetic and unexpectedly optimistic. I could listen to Hugh all day! Wed 04 Mar 2009 18:47:32 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=9#comment2 Hugh, NamasteNo matter where you go, you bring it truly alive. Thanks Hugh, yet again.Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peaceed Wed 04 Mar 2009 17:47:31 GMT+1 foreignkate http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=4#comment1 That was quite amazing to hear Hugh and his interviewees, then and now. Great radio. Wed 04 Mar 2009 17:37:46 GMT+1 The_Grim_Reaper http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/03/hugh_sykes_he_covered_the_mine.shtml?page=0#comment0 Brave men. Brave families.A foolish Union - Yes, YOU Mr Scargill.A foolish Government - Yes, YOU Margaret Thatcher.So much damage to industry, UK economy, families, communities, innocent Police officers/forces.Unforgivable stupidity, by all. Wed 04 Mar 2009 17:01:05 GMT+1