What might have been

York Press: What might have been What might have been

Thirty years on since the miners’ strike of 1984, recollection suggests that had the previous NUM leader Joe Gormley been in charge:

A. No strike would have been called;

B. Neither would he have subjected his members and their families to the financial and social hardships they had to endure, plus the demise of the once-proud national union would not have accelerated at the pace it did.

However, with the benefit of hindsight how many other misfortunes of history could have been avoided?

Peter Rickaby, West Park, Selby.

Comments (13)

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10:56am Wed 15 Jan 14

Jonthan says...

The thing about pointless speculation is that it is rooted in the prejudices of the author and has no basis in fact.
The thing about pointless speculation is that it is rooted in the prejudices of the author and has no basis in fact. Jonthan
  • Score: 3

11:47am Wed 15 Jan 14

Zetkin says...

Despite agreeing with Jonathan, I'll indulge some speculation of my own.

The miners' strike went down to defeat because the leaders of the Labour Party and of various trade unions refused to offer solidarity and support. had such support been forthcoming the miners may well have won, and Britain might have been a rather different place today.

As it was, the miners' struggle provided a focus for many who opposed Thatcher; without that focus and the opposition it engendered, Thatcher would in my opinion have proceeded much further and much more quickly with her vicious anti-working class agenda.

Tragically her acolytes Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Gove, et al are now implementing the measures whe could not in the 1980s.

It may take a similarly titanic struggle to stop them in their tracks before thet bring us all to ruination.
Despite agreeing with Jonathan, I'll indulge some speculation of my own. The miners' strike went down to defeat because the leaders of the Labour Party and of various trade unions refused to offer solidarity and support. had such support been forthcoming the miners may well have won, and Britain might have been a rather different place today. As it was, the miners' struggle provided a focus for many who opposed Thatcher; without that focus and the opposition it engendered, Thatcher would in my opinion have proceeded much further and much more quickly with her vicious anti-working class agenda. Tragically her acolytes Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Gove, et al are now implementing the measures whe could not in the 1980s. It may take a similarly titanic struggle to stop them in their tracks before thet bring us all to ruination. Zetkin
  • Score: 4

12:08pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Pinza-C55 says...

"However, with the benefit of hindsight how many other misfortunes of history could have been avoided?"
True. Thatcher's father could have been working night shift the night she was conceived, or her mother could have had a headache.
"However, with the benefit of hindsight how many other misfortunes of history could have been avoided?" True. Thatcher's father could have been working night shift the night she was conceived, or her mother could have had a headache. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 7

1:36pm Wed 15 Jan 14

old_geezer says...

Zetkin wrote:
Despite agreeing with Jonathan, I'll indulge some speculation of my own.

The miners' strike went down to defeat because the leaders of the Labour Party and of various trade unions refused to offer solidarity and support. had such support been forthcoming the miners may well have won, and Britain might have been a rather different place today.

As it was, the miners' struggle provided a focus for many who opposed Thatcher; without that focus and the opposition it engendered, Thatcher would in my opinion have proceeded much further and much more quickly with her vicious anti-working class agenda.

Tragically her acolytes Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Gove, et al are now implementing the measures whe could not in the 1980s.

It may take a similarly titanic struggle to stop them in their tracks before thet bring us all to ruination.
You missed out Blair.
[quote][p][bold]Zetkin[/bold] wrote: Despite agreeing with Jonathan, I'll indulge some speculation of my own. The miners' strike went down to defeat because the leaders of the Labour Party and of various trade unions refused to offer solidarity and support. had such support been forthcoming the miners may well have won, and Britain might have been a rather different place today. As it was, the miners' struggle provided a focus for many who opposed Thatcher; without that focus and the opposition it engendered, Thatcher would in my opinion have proceeded much further and much more quickly with her vicious anti-working class agenda. Tragically her acolytes Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Gove, et al are now implementing the measures whe could not in the 1980s. It may take a similarly titanic struggle to stop them in their tracks before thet bring us all to ruination.[/p][/quote]You missed out Blair. old_geezer
  • Score: 22

2:23pm Wed 15 Jan 14

wallman says...

Blair has been the biggest liar of all time
Blair has been the biggest liar of all time wallman
  • Score: 17

7:31pm Wed 15 Jan 14

gwen4me says...

Joe Gormley had his own strike with Ted Heath.
Joe Gormley had his own strike with Ted Heath. gwen4me
  • Score: 6

11:40pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Tug job says...

Perhaps Mr Rickaby might not have been conceived?
Perhaps Mr Rickaby might not have been conceived? Tug job
  • Score: 0

11:42pm Wed 15 Jan 14

ColdAsChristmas says...

You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it!
I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.
You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it! I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt. ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: 3

5:38pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Pinza-C55 says...

ColdAsChristmas wrote:
You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it!
I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.
And Nigel Lawson said that the only reason she pushed for nuclear power was that she saw it as a tool to crush the miners.
And don't forget we import about 45% of our gas - according to this article, 23 out of 25 EU countries are gas importers with only Holland and Denmark being exporters.
http://www.depletion
-scotland.org.uk/gas
_deptn.htm
[quote][p][bold]ColdAsChristmas[/bold] wrote: You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it! I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.[/p][/quote]And Nigel Lawson said that the only reason she pushed for nuclear power was that she saw it as a tool to crush the miners. And don't forget we import about 45% of our gas - according to this article, 23 out of 25 EU countries are gas importers with only Holland and Denmark being exporters. http://www.depletion -scotland.org.uk/gas _deptn.htm Pinza-C55
  • Score: 3

5:59pm Thu 16 Jan 14

York Fox says...

ColdAsChristmas wrote:
You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it!
I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.
UK taxpayers paid £1.3billion in subsidies in 1983 to pull the stuff out of the ground. We have foreign coal because it was, and still is, much cheaper than UK coal. In a nutshell that is why the industry died. Simple globalised economics, we expect much higher wages than most of the world, therefore labour intensive resources cost more to produce here than abroad. It was almost 50% more expensive in the 1980's than coal from America and Australia.

Labour in the years before Thatcher shut down more pits and reduced coal production to a greater extent than Thatcher did, yet get no blame. Coal was dying, losing money and was increasingly unacceptable in a world which was environmentally aware.

I will also say that the UK public would not have accepted the continuation of strikes whoever was in control of the NUM - Thatcher was acting on behalf of the majority, and rightly so. That's democracy for you.
[quote][p][bold]ColdAsChristmas[/bold] wrote: You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it! I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.[/p][/quote]UK taxpayers paid £1.3billion in subsidies in 1983 to pull the stuff out of the ground. We have foreign coal because it was, and still is, much cheaper than UK coal. In a nutshell that is why the industry died. Simple globalised economics, we expect much higher wages than most of the world, therefore labour intensive resources cost more to produce here than abroad. It was almost 50% more expensive in the 1980's than coal from America and Australia. Labour in the years before Thatcher shut down more pits and reduced coal production to a greater extent than Thatcher did, yet get no blame. Coal was dying, losing money and was increasingly unacceptable in a world which was environmentally aware. I will also say that the UK public would not have accepted the continuation of strikes whoever was in control of the NUM - Thatcher was acting on behalf of the majority, and rightly so. That's democracy for you. York Fox
  • Score: -3

6:19pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Jonthan says...

York Fox wrote:
ColdAsChristmas wrote:
You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it!
I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.
UK taxpayers paid £1.3billion in subsidies in 1983 to pull the stuff out of the ground. We have foreign coal because it was, and still is, much cheaper than UK coal. In a nutshell that is why the industry died. Simple globalised economics, we expect much higher wages than most of the world, therefore labour intensive resources cost more to produce here than abroad. It was almost 50% more expensive in the 1980's than coal from America and Australia.

Labour in the years before Thatcher shut down more pits and reduced coal production to a greater extent than Thatcher did, yet get no blame. Coal was dying, losing money and was increasingly unacceptable in a world which was environmentally aware.

I will also say that the UK public would not have accepted the continuation of strikes whoever was in control of the NUM - Thatcher was acting on behalf of the majority, and rightly so. That's democracy for you.
Might be a more rounded picture if you mentioned the subsidy to Nuclear, which dwarfs subsidies to all other energy sources.
Worth remembering too that although coal was, as you correctly say, subsidised in the 80's, the subsidy was much less than that of our competitors, hence making coal unviable. We all know from recent revelations that this was a strategic decision by the Thatcher government about which they lied at the time
[quote][p][bold]York Fox[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ColdAsChristmas[/bold] wrote: You all missed the main point: Mrs T was not only determined to destroy the NUM but also the Coal Industry. Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham even commented that coal was dirty and this was the start of the dash for gas and the start of high energy bills. Even an elderly American was appointed to help run down the industry. Downsizing I think he called it! I would have thought you Greenies would have been pleased that miners lost their pit jobs? And now we import coal, adding to our national debt.[/p][/quote]UK taxpayers paid £1.3billion in subsidies in 1983 to pull the stuff out of the ground. We have foreign coal because it was, and still is, much cheaper than UK coal. In a nutshell that is why the industry died. Simple globalised economics, we expect much higher wages than most of the world, therefore labour intensive resources cost more to produce here than abroad. It was almost 50% more expensive in the 1980's than coal from America and Australia. Labour in the years before Thatcher shut down more pits and reduced coal production to a greater extent than Thatcher did, yet get no blame. Coal was dying, losing money and was increasingly unacceptable in a world which was environmentally aware. I will also say that the UK public would not have accepted the continuation of strikes whoever was in control of the NUM - Thatcher was acting on behalf of the majority, and rightly so. That's democracy for you.[/p][/quote]Might be a more rounded picture if you mentioned the subsidy to Nuclear, which dwarfs subsidies to all other energy sources. Worth remembering too that although coal was, as you correctly say, subsidised in the 80's, the subsidy was much less than that of our competitors, hence making coal unviable. We all know from recent revelations that this was a strategic decision by the Thatcher government about which they lied at the time Jonthan
  • Score: 2

8:30pm Thu 16 Jan 14

York Fox says...

Might also be worth comparing 1980s with the 1980s not the 2010s. Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me. Nor do I know foreign subsidies in 1983, so please do tell me to create a fuller picture.

If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did? Or are we just going to ignore that one?

And of course it was a strategic decision. If my government hadn't acted strategically to shut down a failing, costly and anachronistic industry I would have been angry.

As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. One industry should never control the entire country's economy and ruin everyone else's life through blackmail for their own profit. Had the unions won that battle in the mid 1980's and the socialist slow death of Britain had continued, I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now. Luckily the unions lost, and socialism was largely banished from serious politics to become the hobby of a few down the pub as their dream communist dictatorships imploded around world.
Might also be worth comparing 1980s with the 1980s not the 2010s. Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me. Nor do I know foreign subsidies in 1983, so please do tell me to create a fuller picture. If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did? Or are we just going to ignore that one? And of course it was a strategic decision. If my government hadn't acted strategically to shut down a failing, costly and anachronistic industry I would have been angry. As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. One industry should never control the entire country's economy and ruin everyone else's life through blackmail for their own profit. Had the unions won that battle in the mid 1980's and the socialist slow death of Britain had continued, I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now. Luckily the unions lost, and socialism was largely banished from serious politics to become the hobby of a few down the pub as their dream communist dictatorships imploded around world. York Fox
  • Score: -3

8:52pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Pinza-C55 says...

York Fox wrote:
Might also be worth comparing 1980s with the 1980s not the 2010s. Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me. Nor do I know foreign subsidies in 1983, so please do tell me to create a fuller picture.

If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did? Or are we just going to ignore that one?

And of course it was a strategic decision. If my government hadn't acted strategically to shut down a failing, costly and anachronistic industry I would have been angry.

As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. One industry should never control the entire country's economy and ruin everyone else's life through blackmail for their own profit. Had the unions won that battle in the mid 1980's and the socialist slow death of Britain had continued, I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now. Luckily the unions lost, and socialism was largely banished from serious politics to become the hobby of a few down the pub as their dream communist dictatorships imploded around world.
"Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me."
Nor I, but here is the current situation.
http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/finance/newsb
ysector/energy/10525
538/Subsidies-for-UK
-nuclear-plant-could
-reach-17bn-and-may-
be-unnecessary.html
You are very fond of quoting a "£1.3 billion subsidy to the NCB" from an unspecified time period but you have yet to post a link to a source. Can you do that?
" If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did?"
That's an interesting assertion and as the person making the claim you have the burden of proof - can you link to an independent source backing your claim?
"As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. "
The unions represented a workforce which did an arduous and sometimes fatal job. Are you in favour of the same treatment being dished out to the Establishment of the UK such as the unelected monarch and house of lords?
"I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now."
You reveal your true colours now. I remember a Britain before the EU where we had an NHS which was free at the point of use and not a pseudo-privatised industry, and where we had a manufacturing base instead of importing nearly everything from Europe or China.
[quote][p][bold]York Fox[/bold] wrote: Might also be worth comparing 1980s with the 1980s not the 2010s. Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me. Nor do I know foreign subsidies in 1983, so please do tell me to create a fuller picture. If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did? Or are we just going to ignore that one? And of course it was a strategic decision. If my government hadn't acted strategically to shut down a failing, costly and anachronistic industry I would have been angry. As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. One industry should never control the entire country's economy and ruin everyone else's life through blackmail for their own profit. Had the unions won that battle in the mid 1980's and the socialist slow death of Britain had continued, I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now. Luckily the unions lost, and socialism was largely banished from serious politics to become the hobby of a few down the pub as their dream communist dictatorships imploded around world.[/p][/quote]"Can't find any information on subsidies for nuclear in the '80s, but feel free to tell me." Nor I, but here is the current situation. http://www.telegraph .co.uk/finance/newsb ysector/energy/10525 538/Subsidies-for-UK -nuclear-plant-could -reach-17bn-and-may- be-unnecessary.html You are very fond of quoting a "£1.3 billion subsidy to the NCB" from an unspecified time period but you have yet to post a link to a source. Can you do that? " If Thatcher is 'responsible', would you care to counter the fact that coal production had been in terminal decline since 1914, and that Thatcher's Labour predecessors closed more pits than Thatcher did, and reduced coal production further than Thatcher did?" That's an interesting assertion and as the person making the claim you have the burden of proof - can you link to an independent source backing your claim? "As an aside, I also believe the unions had massively over played their power in the UK and needed bringing down a peg or two. " The unions represented a workforce which did an arduous and sometimes fatal job. Are you in favour of the same treatment being dished out to the Establishment of the UK such as the unelected monarch and house of lords? "I hate to imagine the third world soviet hell hole that Britain would have been by now." You reveal your true colours now. I remember a Britain before the EU where we had an NHS which was free at the point of use and not a pseudo-privatised industry, and where we had a manufacturing base instead of importing nearly everything from Europe or China. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 1

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