Mudcat Café message #97293 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12277   Message #97293
Posted By: George
20-Jul-99 - 08:57 AM
Thread Name: Music: Police and Striking Miners
Subject: RE: Police and Striking Miners
A few points from this thread:

Someone asked: > Ah, but was Scargill right in principle?

Yes, actually, history suggests he was. He claimed there were plans to virtually shut down the mining industry in the UK and that was what the strike was about. That was never the public perception of the strike, but his prediction proved true.

Whether he was right in how he conducted the strike is another matter. In particular, in his insistence in defying the law FOR THE SAKE OF DOING SO (as in not calling a strike ballot when he would clearly have won such a vote) - well, IMO there were cases (as just instanced) where I belive he was seriously and dangerously wrong.

As for violence on both sides of this dispute - to my mind one characteristic of this strike was the level and amount of deliberate, planned violence by the police against the miners. And, indeed, the high level of other illegality on the part of the police (illegal road blocks; illegal confiscation of food destined for strikers). It seems to me that the police were - unofficially - given 'carte blance' in their conduct of the policing of the dispute, with a clear sub-text that anything they could do to undermine the dispute would meet with the Government's approval. And by heavens did they make use of that licence. [Which is not in any way to condone violence initiated by strikers.]

As for the deaths during the strike. As my memory serves me (do correct me if anyone knows better) the case of murder was where a large stone was tipped from a bridge onto a blackleg's car. If this is the case referred to, it's important to note that on appeal the conviction was reduced to one for manslaughter.

Again IIRC Gaughan's "True and Bold" LP was NOT a miners' strike benefit (I'll have to check at home) but a Scotish TUC celbration. However there was a double-tape benefit recording (on Fuse records, IIRC; that being Roy Bailey's label). Very varied material, almost all excellent. It was my favourite in-car listening for many years (to the extent that the tape stretched!). I could look out track listings if anyone's interested. Opens and closes with a wonderful speech of Tony Benn's in the House of Commons, dubbed over the Grimethorpe Collery Band playing "Raise your banners".

And - while strictly not on-topic - don't forget the film "Brassed off" . .

Just my few bob's worth

But as for Scargill's "Socialist Labour Party" claim to be the 4th biggest party in English politics - dream on, Arthur!!

G.