The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry

So now we know that Margaret Thatcher lied about the scale of her attack on the British mining industry.

She told the country that only 20 pits were to be closed, when in secret she and National Coal Board chief Ian Macgregor had planned to close no less than 75.

The revelation vindicates then-National Union of Mineworkers’ leader Arthur Scargill, who claimed at the time that there was a “secret hit-list” of more than 70 pits marked for closure.

Documents released under what used to be called the Thirty Year Rule show that under the plan, two-thirds of Welsh miners would become redundant, a third of those in Scotland, almost half of those in north east England, half in South Yorkshire and almost half in the South Midlands. The entire Kent coalfield would close.

The workforce was to be cut by about a third, from 202,000 to 138,000.

Thatcher went on to use the lie as an excuse to break the power of the trade unions, setting the scene for the long decline in employees’ rights that has brought us to the current sorry situation in which part-time work, zero-hours contracts and fake ‘self-employed’ status are robbing us of what few entitlements we have left.

She used the police as a political weapon to attack picket lines, sowing seeds of distrust that persist to this day. How many people who saw the scenes of carnage during the miners’ strike can honestly say they trust the police to uphold the law without fear or favour? Is it not more accurate to say they fear the police as agents of a ruling elite?

She destroyed Britain’s ability to provide fuel for our own power stations, leading us into dependence on foreign powers for our energy needs. It is this helplessness – caused by the policies of that Conservative Prime Minister – that has put so many British families into fuel poverty under the current Conservative Prime Minister, forcing them to choose between heating and eating.

In short, Margaret Thatcher owes compensation to a huge number of British people.

Some might consider it a lucky escape for her that she died last year and will avoid our wrath, but then again, considering her state of mind at the end it is unlikely that she would have recognised what it was.

Perhaps it will be possible for some of her victims to claim compensation from her estate; that will be a matter for them.

But other leading Conservatives and civil servants were in on the plot – and they should not be allowed to walk away unpunished. These include:

  • Nigel Lawson (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time).
  • Norman Tebbit (Employment Secretary).
  • Sir Robert Armstrong (now Baron Armstrong of Ilminster, Secretary of the Cabinet in 1983). Armstrong has denied that there was a cover-up – an astonishing claim when documentation shows there was an agreement not to keep records of the secret meetings in which the plans were hatched and developed.
  • Peter Gregson (although he may also be dead; attempts to determine his status have turned up nothing).
  • Michael Scholar.

These are just the names on the document market ‘Secret’ meeting at No 10 on the BBC News report of the revelation.

They all knew about the lie and could all have told the truth but they did not.

They betrayed Britain.

Will they escape justice?

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36 thoughts on “The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry

  1. Pingback: The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry | Jay's Journal

  2. jaypot2012

    Re-blogged this and commented – ‘They will all get away with it as the rich will always look after the rich, and if they can’t shut them up one way, they’ll shut them up another!’

  3. Mike Sivier

    Joseph Smith left this comment under another article but it is more appropriate here:

    “So now we know the arch Tory b**** Thatcher had a plan to close 75 mines. Not the 20 she admitted. Scargill seems to have been vindicated, too late now the cow’s dead and we paid through the nose for the funeral!!

    “We also now know that virtually all Tories are liars and will follow policy however bad to keep their jobs.

    “Does anyone think or believe the pink-cheeked wealthy one Cameron is any different?

    “We know he lied and broke every election promise, we know he supports Iain Duncan Smith and his fascist plans for Genocide. We know he lied and got the maths wrong about family allowance, and we suspect his involvement in the hacking row is much greater than he’s admitting to.

    “Get rid of him or suffer – that’s the choice. Bit stark but we must have a government which listens and in which we have influence. That means one with a tiny majority.”

    1. Allen Hedley

      this political system has been going for hundreds of years. IT DOSE NOT WORK ANY MORE. doesn’t matter who is in power they are all the same, they all work for the same people ????

  4. bob archer

    Liars then,liars now,liars in future.cameron backpeddling and erasing the manifest he was not elected on.I suggest mike that you copy everything you can from their homepage before it is all deleted,and secret it somewhere only you and one or two confidents know before the men in black [blue] pay you a visit.At least we will have some record of what these evil bastards are capable of.

  5. Joseph Smith

    Didn’t realise some of Thatcher’s co-conspirators were alive. Let’s go for their throats. Then, perhaps the current bunch of liars, thieves and murderers will learn that even hiding behind a thirty-year rule will neither save you, your reputation or family from public disgrace; the public have long memories for politicians who lie. Let’s also campaign to cut the thirty-year down to five years; that way the perpetrators of lies will be publicly disgraced within their lifetime. Thatcher’s kids must be wiping the sweat off their brows!

    1. Mike Sivier

      The thirty year rule is currently being cut down to 20 years, which is why papers are now being released on a six-monthly basis. It’s a start!

      1. Joseph Smith

        Still too long Mike, 20 yrs is a very long cushion, gives loads of time to do the biography, get comfy jobs as peace advisers etc etc. Five years is all the protection these clowns deserve. Even that’s very generous. Look at that smug t..t Owen Patterson defending cutbacks; he’s another one that needs seeing off. Isn’t it odd how London doesn’t seem terribly affected by cutbacks? Makes my p*** boil when I see these smug well-fed pigs spouting their party rhetoric. The BBC gave Paterson a really easy ride. ITV tried quite hard to pin this smug idiot down but failed. Unfortunately.

  6. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

    God this brought back memories…. coming from the South Wales valleys I remember well the devastation the mine closures caused and it’s still being felt today. Men I’d been in school with brought to their knees by Thatchers government; whole communities destroyed. Oh and the poolice (no, not a spelling mistake) I’ll never forget them… sitting in their vans on the picket lines holding their payslips up at the window, to show the miners (who weren’t getting paid obviously) all the money they’d earned in overtime…bastards!

    1. Joseph Smith

      Yes I agree, but the cops are deep in the government’s pocket. They are not and never will be even semi-independent, too many well-paid careers at stake. The miners were treated very badly by the Tories, Thatcher now a proven liar. Lying is endemic in the Tory party. Being a liar is a pre-requisite condition to join the Tory party. Lying to yourself is even more important.

      1. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

        That’s right @Joseph Smith. You only have to look at the police uniform for example…they’re more like paramilitary then bobby on the beat.
        The police are just as corrupt as the government; if you’ve time look at the way ACPO and ACRO are set up… the police service( I refuse to call it force) is being quietly privatised….God help us all then because there will be no need to police by consent then

  7. Florence

    She also used the BBC and other media to spread lies, to suit her propaganda. The highly political editing of the film of the Battle of Orgreave was only one of many such instances to falsely show the miners as the aggressors – the “enemy within” – not as the victims of her policies and her police force. Those involved in supporting the miners did not need to wait 30 years to see the truth, it’s just that the journalists at last can report it without fear or favour because it is now history. Does anyone who is informed of the policies of the current Bullingdon bullies and their fags such as IDS expect to be surprised, in 30 years, when, oh, look, they really did plan to wreck the welfare state, they were lying, they were deceivers and traitors, liars and thieves?

    Will the boys in blue and the BBC / media / journalists prove to be willing instruments of the current bunch of Tory wreckers and bullies? I think we already have the answer every day that passes with deaths piling up, poverty and hunger stalking the land, and a wall of silence from the media. Will the police accept additional fire-arms, water canon and unlimited overtime when the population erupt into riots again? You bet.

    The Tories have always been the unproductive consumers of our wealth, corporatists, raiders and toxic to the well-being of the people, the real generators of wealth.

    It might be interesting, but ultimately futile, to compare who was reporting what back then, and see how many owe us all, and more especially the miners and their families, an apology. We’ve had a load of guff (lies) about the Tory admiration and support for Nelson Mandela, uncritically reported even when the facts have been know for decades about their support for apartheid. What the press and the politicians here need is a big dose of Truth and Reconciliation. Perhaps then individuals like yourself, Mike, will no longer have to bear the brunt of getting the truth out to our fellow citizens. We remain in your debt.

    1. Joseph Smith

      Just read today’s daily liar (AKA daily mail) what an a**wipe of a so called news(?) paper not a word about thatchers lies. This has to be to renamed the daily Tory liar

      1. Allen Hedley

        the government own all our main stream media the only thing they haven’t got just now is online. but are breaking their necks to change that?

  8. tommaz

    Back in the day we all said that the tory party was about to become an endangered species. Funny how in politics s*** rises to the top.

  9. jed goodright

    This for me just confirms that all governments over the last 30 years have been engaged in the deliberate removal of the fabric of this country – whether openly or by deceit.I was very ‘active’ during the miners strike and was aware of the damage being done to whole communities by the vicious c*** Thatcher and her bully boys. the lies, the intimidation, the lies, the intimidation. What we see today – where disabled people can kill themselves and it’s okay with IDS – where people can be ruined by being sanctioned by the DWP – where homeless people can just die – where food banks for the poor are seen as a joke – where flood defences are being removed because the DoE wants to save money – where Cameron wants to censor the internet – where Tories want to do away with the Human Rights legislation – where Britain is becoming a two-nation state of haves and have nots where different rules apply to each and so on – I am angry but not extraordinary so – it just makes the fight harder.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Well, Jed, I’ve already mentioned the fact that I’m reading a book (NHS SOS) about the dismantling of the National Health Service. The roots of this decline go back decades, so I agree with you.

  10. Pingback: The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry | L8in

  11. neil

    I’m not pro Thatcher, pro Tory or any of that she*te but the country would still have suffered regardless of who was in power it was just a matter of when and things are no different now.
    Every political party that has held government since I’ve been old enough to know what’s gone on has been filled to the brim with liars, cheats and self motivated, self indulgent people who would sell their own mothers to save their own arse.
    Every political party feeds us the policies and promises they think we want to hear, they tell us how great things will be with them in charge yet as soon as they gain power those promises are broken, the policies scrapped or watered down. When things go wrong the blame is given over to what they inherited from the last government!!
    It stinks, every single nuance of it but until we, the people come up with something more democratic, that’s completely transparent it’s the way it will always be!!!

  12. Frank Mulholland

    Thatcher and her cohorts are responsible for the demise of the UK society as we knew it. They abandoned families and communities across the nation and are wholly and unequivocally responsible for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives to this day due to their attacks on the decent hard working people of this country; whose only crime was the desire to go out and do an honest hard days work and provide for their wives and children. Shame on these people when they should have used their power to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, I have nothing but utter contempt for them and those like them. I hope they suffer in the same way as the fate they condemned on others.

  13. Pingback: The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed ...

  14. Mike Waterboy

    Nice to see a balanced and unbiased article…

    We’re in the late 70s, the general public are far from happy with greedy Union demands, they feel the country is being brought to it’s knees by what appear to be unreasonable demands. The economy is a mess. The populous vote for the alternative. The alternative want to reduce the power of the Unions and they have a mandate.

    A couple of things to remember.
    1. Wilson closed more coal mines than Thatcher. Interesting one that. I wonder why? Do you think he was trying to destroy our coal industry?
    2. Scargill and Thatcher both wanted a war. Thatcher was the better General. That’s what really hurts the left.
    3. Thatcher removed the closed shop and brought in secret ballots.

    If you look at history it seems the greed of the Unions led to a backlash, which resulted in a Tory government headed by Thatcher who was hell bent on reducing the power of the Unions. Ironic.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I can’t say I disagree with your last point; my opinion is that the unions did go too far and it could well be that the electorate reacted in the way you describe as a result of that. Some might argue that this was an expression of human nature (greed) in the same way the neoliberals are taking everything that isn’t nailed down at the moment.
      That being said, it seems to me that Thatcher set out to break the ability of unions to represent their members in any meaningful way. Workers’ rights have been diminishing rapidly ever since. That was her plan; their “unreasonable” demands were her excuse. Current and future union leaders must bear that in mind.
      But were the demands unreasonable? How much of the profit from British industry was being siphoned off by people who hadn’t done much to earn it, at the time? Did the workers deserve more? That’s not a question I’m personally qualified to answer but I would be willing to host a debate on the subject (as long as everybody sticks to the house rules: discuss the issues, no profanity, no personal attacks).
      I wasn’t aware of the information about Wilson, but in any case we’re discussing two different people at two different times. It’s perfectly possible that Wilson’s decisions were not likely to cause serious harm to the coal industry; Thatcher’s, coming years later, would have a cumulative effect. I think she knew what that effect was likely to be.

  15. jeffrey davies

    Saint Arthur, but too late the bitch is dead but, sadly, she also sold us out to the wealthy who even today buy those bargain basement sell-offs provided by the tories. Yet where are the general public? Still sleeping. Wake up before it’s too late – see how many disabled, sick, unemployed are left: Less every day so the tories lied but then the bankers are still screwing us and now sadly austerity cuts mean we suffer; they don’t. Arthur, you may not have been a saint but by God you told the truth.

  16. Joseph Smith

    And any one who watched Cameron being interviewed this morning on BBC will heard the latest lies false claims evasion and downright cr**, preserve pensions my a***, pensioners being asked to delay state pension age? No you bloody liar it was made law minus debate or discussion. So pensions to be raised by triple lock, what a load of c**k, increasing inadequate state pensions by a measly 2/3% still means that the state pension is less than the 11% rise MPs want. Shove it Davey you liar and go away

    1. Paul Davies

      there is a prophesy that says that the world economy will collapse by 2020 eqivilant to the 1930s and i see nothing that makes me not believe that prophesy the amount of world debt is now crippling the western world and the omly way to save this country is to leave the eeu renationalise our main assetts and trade with a free world or stay in and face dictatorship in the next thirty years.

  17. Joseph Smith

    I’ve just watched a tv programme about the Bombing campaign during WW11, great programme, the sting in the tail was revealed by Ewan Mc Gregor following the Dresden raid. Such was the devastation that following the raid, Churchill withdrew his support from Harris ( Bomber Harris) and his policy of Bombing German cities. Harris was hung out to dry after political criticism of his tactics and policies. Few days ago we got confirmation that Thatcher did plan to close 70+ pits, move on to 2010 and Cameron’s pre election lies followed by his broken promises. Seem the Tories just can’t help lying And arse covering. I’m a former Tory supporter, now? I detest them and every thing they stand for. I really hope they get flogged to death in the next election.

  18. jeffrey davies

    but they caused so many deaths through their austerity measures will they ever be brought to justice for it nah but the fiddler in the bank is helping George keep his figures looking rather rosie but the bubble the housing onethey fixedisready to burst just like in canada

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