Thatcher’s legacy in the coalfields was devastation – and the bitterness is still felt today

13th April, 2013 9:11 am

By Dan Jarvis MP and Michael Dugher MP

Much has been said and written this week about Margaret Thatcher’s period in office. Friends and foes alike have rightly and on the whole respectfully acknowledged the achievements of a prime minister who won three general elections, led our country for more than 11 years and dominated the face of British politics. But the view of her premiership from the area where we represent in Barnsley is as stark as it is damning.

Barnsley was a town built on coal. The many communities that sprung up in the large pit villages in the Borough sustained an industry that powered the industrial revolution and brought tremendous wealth to our national economy. Nationally, nearly 200,000 mining jobs were lost due to pit closures from the mid-eighties. Eventually, all of Barnsley’s pits were closed.

In coalfield areas across the country, Margaret Thatcher’s legacy was one of complete devastation. Thatcher’s policy chief at the time was John Redwood, now a Conservative MP and former cabinet minister. In his tribute to Lady Thatcher in the House of Commons this week, Redwood defended what had happened to the coal industry saying that many jobs had been lost before Mrs Thatcher’s time in office. This is true enough. But Redwood argued that all they had tried to do in the 1980s was to “modernise” the industry. But the coal industry wasn’t modernised, or even consolidated, it was decimated.

Following the strike in 1984-85, many mining areas like Barnsley were knocked to their knees and have been struggling to get back up ever since. When the pits shut, a whole way of life disappeared virtually overnight. It is impossible to underestimate the trauma that this had on areas like Barnsley with the entire economic system and social infrastructure that supported mining villages vanishing. And after ‘victory’ had been secured over the striking miners, Mrs Thatcher’s government just walked away with no transition plan in place for the people and communities they had destroyed.

Today only three deep coal pits remain in the UK out of the 170 in operation in 1984. Many Conservatives still argue that the closure of many of the pits was unavoidable. But for Thatcher, defeating the miners and destroying the industry that employed them was both personal and political. She once referred to the miners – hardworking, law-abiding, tax-paying and patriotic British citizens doing a tough and often dangerous job – as the “enemy within”. By referring to them as the “enemy”, she was effectively saying that those working in the coal industry were the moral equivalent of Britain’s real enemies at the time, like the Argentine junta that seized the Falklands by force or the IRA terrorists that bombed the UK. The anger caused by her remarks is still felt today.

Many of the pits that were closed were still profitable and – despite other sources of energy becoming available – demand was still strong. Even now, the UK still consumes millions of tonnes of coal every year. Last year alone, the UK consumed 64 million tonnes, using 55 million tonnes for electricity generation. But with so few pits still running, the UK only managed to produce 16.8 million tonnes of this total. So to make up for the short fall, we imported 45 million tonnes of coal last year, with Russia, Columbia and the US being the top three exporters to the UK. Over 2 million tonnes of coking coal was even imported all the way from Australia.

According to 2011 estimates, Britain still has a total coal reserve of 3,196 million tonnes (surface and underground). And with the advent of clean coal technology, there is no reason why the coal industry couldn’t see a revival. The Carbon Capture and Storage Association estimates that the global market is worth £10bn and that the UK could gain many thousands of high skilled jobs in the next three decades if business choose to invest in the right way. These are precisely the kind of jobs we need to see in the UK in the years ahead.

Increased poverty and the return of mass long-term unemployment are what really defined Margaret Thatcher’s governments. Many miners never worked again. Some become self-employed; others eventually got jobs (often less well paid and less satisfying) in areas like retail or distribution. Others simply moved away. But even today, we are still dealing with first, second and third generation unemployment in Barnsley.

And of course all of this precipitated rocketing spending on social security benefits in the years after the pits closed. It is ironic that in the 1980s, the Conservative government pushed the unemployed, including ex-miners, onto disability benefits as a way of massaging the dole figures. Despite all the myths, the truth is welfare dependency is actually central to Thatcher’s impact on Britain.

In Barnsley, recovering from Thatcher’s legacy remains a massive challenge today. Her polices created serious structural, long-lasting and generational decay. A recent report concluded that for Barnsley to reach the average job density for the country, over 30,000 new jobs are needed and that average weekly earnings need to increase by £59.50 to reach the national average.

Of course there have been many improvements in recent years thanks to regeneration funding from Europe, the efforts of the local authority and 13 years of investment under the previous Labour government. The physical infrastructure of Barnsley was dramatically improved. Throughout Borough you can see the new houses, the retail parks, the BSF schools, the new NHS and Sure Start centres. And things like the introduction of the Future Jobs Fund, pioneered in Barnsley, helped thousands of young people gain valuable work before the scheme was scrapped by David Cameron.

The concern now is how to prevent things from slipping backwards. Places like Barnsley suffer disproportionately when times are tough and the cuts have a disproportionately bigger impact. Depressingly, we are seeing the same callous indifference from this Conservative-led government that characterised Margaret Thatcher’s attitude to areas like ours. The bitterness about what happened under the Thatcher governments remains. Many people understandably will never be able to forget, nor forgive, what Margaret Thatcher did to some of the proudest communities in Britain.

Michael Dugher and Dan Jarvis are the Labour MPs for Barnsley East and Barnsley Central respectively

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  • Dave Postles

    Thank you. Heath, furthermore, introduced metropolitan counties, including South Yorkshire, but Thatcher abolished them, causing further loss of employment in Barnsley and the loss of a strategic authority – all for political whim. She was an automaton.

    • postageincluded

      Don’t let anyone in the Tory Party know that Thatcher was an “automaton”, David. They might find the key and wind her up again.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    I’d love to see a revival of the UK coal mining industry and the jobs it generates but to achieve anything requires some realism and I’m not convinced this article appreciates modern economic realities.

    It is not the case that ‘the UK needs X coal, it produces Y and so we import the difference and so logically we could reopen deep mines to produce more and reduce imports (creating jobs in the process, reviving industry etc)’. This is naive stuff and ignores the economic realities.

    Coal is a globally traded commodity, prices are determined globally, UK mines (most of which were relatively expensive deep mines) are in competition with lower cost producers, typically open cast mines, from across the world (US, Columbia, Russia, South Africa, Australia). Buyers of coal naturally aim to keep their costs down so shop around to buy from the lowest cost providers and the competition limits the prices that high-cost producers can charge.

    UK mining output has contracted and deep mines shut because over the long term, global coal prices have been too low to support the relatively high cost, deep mined coal industry that we have/had in the UK. The deep mines we had weren’t profitable enough to invest in their continuation, expansion or sinking of new deep mines so over time they close and UK deep mining output contracts. Stood against this are the UK open-cast coal mines which are more competitive and have kept up output but of course they are often unpopular.

    The UK may have 3 billion tonnes of coal in the ground but unless someone can find a way to make it economically viable to dig it up, it will stay there.

    • Alexwilliamz

      This was one of the short term failures of the 80s response to coal, rather than invest in new technologies as insurance against future fuel poverty issues, we just slash and burned, both the expertise and the tech/machinery. Now we would be starting from virtual ground zero making the start up costs far more prohibitive than had we kept a non-profit making component going. This as ever if the massive flaw in abdicating decision making to the ‘free’ market.

      • This is true. Fuel is one of the areas where market capitalism’s failure to provide is most stark. Because everything is driven by short term profit, and strategic planning by governments is seen as something bad that needs to be rolled back as it interferes with the market, we end up with a very uncertain future. We should have been throwing massive investment into green technology decades ago, but the market forbade it as it isn’t currently profitable. It’s not a coincidence that right wing free market capitalists, particularly those influenced by Austrian economics, believe that global warming is a hoax. It is a massive threat to their world view.

        • Dave Postles

          Fundamentally, the Koch brothers are funding the coordinated attack on climate change science in the US, which illustrates your point.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Climate change – even if you subscribe to the theories – is also about 1% as threatening as human population growth, over the same time scales.

          We in the west have ignored population growth for the chimaera of climate change while we tax ourselves into poverty with green taxes, those in the East are both growing (the young people whom they plan to export to the west, at least in the mid term) and completely unconcerned with climate change.

          What is going to be a bigger problem? Twice the people in the UK, or it being 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer?

          You have to ask who is stupid, and it seems likely that it is the West.

    • Dave Postles

      I’d be interested to know how much coal is imported from the locations which you cite:

      (US, Columbia, Russia, South Africa, Australia).

      Traditionally, heavy industrial location has been sited near the source of the heaviest raw materials. No doubt transport costs and transaction costs have fallen, so that geographical location is relatively less influential, but what transaction costs are there for importing coal from these locations to the UK? Presumably Australian coal is largely destined for China. In the 80s, we needed to retain our own strategic coal and steel industries to maintain a core for technological development, as Alex indicates below. Thatcher sacrificed it. The privatized coal industry (Budge/UKCoal) as, as far as I am aware, still received large subsidies as the rump of the industry.

      • TomFairfax

        Hi Dave,
        It costs less than £200 to ship a container from Japan with your own personally imported car in it. I suspect it’s somewhat cheaper to get a boat load of coal from Australia than from Yorkshire by road to the South East.

        • Dave Postles

          Obviously, we are importing the coal, as Q_S indicates. The internal transport costs remain the same (port to power station), but obviously the initial costs must be lower (although one wonders about subsidies).

          • TomFairfax

            Road freight counts, but if the exporter has lower fuel costs (less fuel duty, so almost anywhere else) and power station has it’s own quay it rather effects the economics as well as any subsidies.

      • Quiet_Sceptic

        Data is available in the link below, Russian, Columbia and US were the top 3 sources in 2012. It also shows how UK deep mined output has shrunk and how UK open cast mining output now exceeds deep mined output.

        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/170721/et_article_coal_in_2012.pdf

        • Dave Postles

          Yes, I knew that opencast exceeded deep mine output – I’ve seen it happen in Notts. where Budge/UKCoal has operated, closing down deep mines in favour of opencast. Here’s another question: when we were importing Polish coal to subvert British coal, were there any subsidies involved at the Polish end?

    • TomFairfax

      Unfortunately you are assuming a completely free market. It isn’t.

      The last Labout government’s NEETA system fortrading electricity and it’s successors deliberately distort the market by introducing costs in two ways.

      1) Effectively adding cost because the fuel is coal, but now allowing for the fact it can be burned now without the vast emissions of CO2. So removing the incentive to invest in the clean technologies.

      2) Making the distribution cost dependent on the power stations location, not the cost of actually distributing the power. So building the facility on top of a coal field is penalised. It’s hardly surprising it’s more effective to have a power station near to the coast. Sea freight is ridiculously cheap so it really is cheaper to ship coal from abroad than drive it by lorry from the north of England.

      Those distortions also mean we have wind turbines built where the wind resource isn’t.

      It’s entirely a political construct, so can be be deconstructed in the same way. Then we could see what power generation technology and resources a level playing field would give.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Tom,

        you clearly have an great insight.

        Your point (2) seems to be a “nub”. Who made that choice?

        But, slightly against that, in a completely free or open system, if you were a power station operator, would you choose to open a power station on the coast (the cheap shipping, etc), or on the side of a British coal mine? Assuming a 30 year lifespan, so the coal supply needs to be guaranteed for that length.

        • TomFairfax

          Hi Jaime,
          That decision was taken at least at Ministerial level. Whether the Minister understood the effects of the decision is a moot point.(Insight due to the fact my ex-brother in law was a consultant employed in Whitehall to set up NEETA, and even today lots of ex-power engineers at IET (ex-IEE, Institute of Electrical Engineers) meetings, who keep on about how much better things were when they were in charge.)

          You are right about supply, hence many old coal stations built in the coal fields. But further south the old Ipswich power station had it’s own quay, so sea freight ideal, but it still was one of the early ones to close, though that had more to do with capacity.

          The real handicap though is the weighting of the distribution costs to encourage building generation further south which clearly distorts the energy market.

      • Quiet_Sceptic

        On your points, emissions taxes obviously shift the balance away from coal as it is a high co2 source of energy but I don’t think the NEETA or BETTA discriminate against coal as such. Besides whilst this influences the balance between coal and gas, it doesn’t impact where the coal is sourced.

        Existing UK coal power stations were built to be supplied by coal from UK sources and the majority of them are sited in the former coal mining areas exactly because they were built to be supplied by UK pits. There is a tendency, where possible, to build power stations on the coast because you can use sea water for cooling to increase plant efficiency.

        • TomFairfax

          I don’t disagree with your points, but the fact is those schemes for weighting the distribution costs to encourage power generation construction further south were clearly included because it was deemed necessary to distort the market to acheive whatever it was they wanted.

          If coal would have been found to be uneconomical anyway, then the case for distorting the market doesn’t exist. So whilst it can’t be proven or disproven that coal would have gone by the by, it is documented that it was intended to speed up that process, if not stated explicitly that the intention of actually help make it inevitable.

          Knowing someone deeply involved in NEETA, who told me that the intention was to move away from coal powered electricity generation, I’ve drawn my own conclusions.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    I’d love to see a revival of the UK coal mining industry and the jobs it generates but to achieve anything requires some realism and I’m not convinced this article appreciates modern economic realities.

    It is not the case that ‘the UK needs X coal, it produces Y and so we import the difference and so logically we could reopen deep mines to produce more and reduce imports (creating jobs in the process, reviving industry etc)’. This is naive stuff and ignores the economic realities.

    Coal is a globally traded commodity, prices are determined globally, UK mines (most of which were relatively expensive deep mines) are in competition with lower cost producers, typically open cast mines, from across the world (US, Columbia, Russia, South Africa, Australia). Buyers of coal naturally aim to keep their costs down so shop around to buy from the lowest cost providers and the competition limits the prices that high-cost producers can charge.

    UK mining output has contracted and deep mines shut because over the long term, global coal prices have been too low to support the relatively high cost, deep mined coal industry that we have/had in the UK. The deep mines we had weren’t profitable enough to invest in their continuation, expansion or sinking of new deep mines so over time they close and UK deep mining output contracts. Stood against this are the UK open-cast coal mines which are more competitive and have kept up output but of course they are often unpopular.

    The UK may have 3 billion tonnes of coal in the ground but unless someone can find a way to make it economically viable to dig it up, it will stay there.

  • trotters1957

    Thanks Dan and Michael for this.
    But what can you do to prove the viability of reopening the pits?
    If the reserves are there and can be economically mined, why aren’t you finding investors or looking for EU or government funding?

    • Private investors are scared off investing in British coal as Tom Fairfax explains above. There is also a political stigma associated with British coal – to the Tories it became a vendetta, and New Labour never wanted to rock the boat. Perhaps Margaret Thatcher’s death will provide an opportunity to re-examine her legacy and look again at British coal. What better way to honour her than to re-open the pits? Don’t get mad, get even.

      • Quiet_Sceptic

        Private investors have been investing in UK coal mining – there have been new open-cast coal mines opened in recent years and production has remained steady.

        I think you’d find the issue with deep mines isn’t that investors are ‘scared off’ more that they can’t run them and make a profit.

        • rekrab

          China and the emerging nations would buy and consume as much coal as Britain could bring to the surface.
          We spend a 100Bn on weapons we won’t use, for a nation of our size we just need better defence systems against potential threats.
          Q/S, I’m really at a loss why your so anti mining?

          • Quiet_Sceptic

            I’m not anti-mining.

            The problem with this article and some of the posts is that they are just not realistic and don’t confront the issues of why mines closed and what it would take to re-open them.

            Why would China and emerging nations buy all the coal we could produce when they could buy it more cheaply from other countries? Countries with far larger reserves than us who can mine coal at much lower cost and therefore sell it at a lower cost.

          • rekrab

            Emerging nations do need to conduct their business in a decent manner, buying coal form some south american nation which uses children and has no safety legislation isn’t conducive to proper trade.
            China is throwing up coal powered stations weekly, generating electricity for huge populations takes , well huge amounts but we can go further and offer more in means of carbon capture, we’re not going to stop the building of these power station so we can help them produce cleaner emission levels.

            Don’t confront the issue? for every piece you find on production and cost against there will be pieces on productions and costs for and more importantly human value.

          • Quiet_Sceptic

            Well Russia, Australia, USA are all large exporters and I don’t believe they use child labour, that aside, I still don’t see why the Chinese would be buying UK coal at any price rather than buying it at lower cost from Australia.

          • rekrab

            Well lay the working case down for terms and condition of those you’ve mentioned? and read the last paragraph?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            The reality is in global trade Derek, no-one gives “a toss” about your lovely warm sentiments about child workers. They only care about the price of the tonne of coal. They have in all probability out-sourced the supply of coal to agents who get it from whichever country is cheaper in the 15 minutes they buy it from their computer screen. No one really cares if the coal in the power station is from England, or Australia, or Finland, or Burundi, or wherever, it is only the “price at the furnace” that matters. It is burned in 15 minutes, and life moves on.

            And there is literally nothing that you will ever be able to do about that.

          • rekrab

            The real reality is Jaime, anything sailing in to British ports will be subject to increased security checks due to the world of terrorism and tensions.

            But look, if so many other nation produce coal, then why be so opposed to Britain doing the same and if the vast majority is used internally, then the cost is managed by our own terms.

            Stop being so 1980’s Thatcher minded and try to engage in a process of human values and forward solutions to the unemployment in Britain today.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I am not opposed to Britain producing coal, far from it. Let those who think they can make a business from it do so, and employ people from the coal regions.

            But the cost of coal is the only thing that matters at the British power station. If your Scottish coal is cheaper per tonne, “delivered”, you will have a big market. If it is twice the cost of coal from Australia, “delivered”, well you will be telling your workers that they are all to be made redundant, and to not bother with asking for the 35% pay rise that merely makes your coal more expensive. If you can sell your coal abroad, good for you, but you are in a global market.

  • ” the truth is welfare dependency is actually central to Thatcher’s impact on Britain.”

    Well said.

    This needs to be shouted loud to the present day careerist politicians/metropolitan elite who, having enjoyed cushy lives, seem to think it’s clever to go out of their way to find scapegoats and target ‘shirkers’.

    It’s the politicians who created the system we now have – so let’s not blame it on those who have been purposely driven into despair by ruthless politicians.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Dave,

      do you really think that there are those in politics who deliberately seek to “do down” or “make worse” the lives of ordinary people? Short of some Stalinist or Fascist programme of course, but we do not seem to have those in the UK.

      I can see that their policies may have an accidental effect of this, and they should be blamed for that, but to seek to deliberately set out to do malice to anyone or a class of people seems unlikely. Perhaps I am naive.

      • It is well documented that high unemployment was a deliberate policy of the Tory government, as it kept wages low (good for private businesses) and by crippling the influence of trade unions and working class militancy they were able to undermine the perceived threat of socialism. In the 1970s many on the Labour left were openly arguing for a big leap to greater socialisation of the economy, on a scale never seen in the West. Did Thatcher do whatever she could to put this beyond reach? Yes.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          If it is so well documented, how about some links (and not to the normal partisan websites, but something proper like the ONS or Cabinet Office or official histories)?

          Are there such, or is your argument merely suggestion that can only be backed up by a mutual self-congratulatory circle?

          • “[The government] never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation. They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes.” – Sir Alan Budd, chief economic adviser to the treasury 1991 – 1997.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It’s not evidence if you cannot link to a specific web page of authority. For all I know, you type that quotation yourself. I am sure you do not, But everything should be properly referenced, with links to full papers.

          • Jones, Owen. Chavs The Demonization of the Working Class, 1st ed.; Verso: London, 2011, p 51.

            Sorry, didn’t realise you were hoping to peer review my comments.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Oh come on, Owen Jones’ book is hardly proper data. None of of know what he read and left out as inconvenient. A real statistic, from a proper authority. The ONS, or Parliament?

            I’m not initially trying to peer review you, but if you put forward clearly biased opinion, what else do you expect a reader to think?

          • So Owen Jones made up the quote? He’s no more biased than you are.

          • And since when can official statistics be uncritically believed. This is the trouble with positivist scientists – because they don’t understand social science and can only think in numerical terms, they regularly produce partial and poor arguments. Jaime does this all the time

          • Dave Postles

            … or, in addition to Alex’s reference:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdZp5iw-UEo

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            A You Tube video, with an anonymous man, making a straw-man argument that he then knocks down, no references to anything else, and no context, and you offer that as supplementary to a completely unevidenced initial statement?

            I am very glad that I went to a proper, rigorous university and not wasted my time with the sort of nonsense that you offer.

          • rekrab

            How comes you get so much wrong then?
            Your tainted by your self delusions, I was here, I was living out the effect of deliberate unemployment and I wasn’t alone as 3 million Britons also suffered the designed situation. (Your big ego and questionable brains were telling us all to buy gold some time ago? seems the market is crashing in on gold to)

            Like the say about the Vietnam conflict, you weren’t there man.Stop trying to make out that good people are lying? it’s how it was Jaime and it’s the truth.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Deliberate unemployment” – stop trying to play the victim. If you could not get a job in the period from 1979-1990, you were not trying hard enough, under-achieving, and not prepared to consider such radical ideas as moving your “arse” to a place where there was work to be had. No one on God’s earth owes you a living, Derek. Better you remember that, and more importantly, tell your children so they don’t end up whining as you appear to have made your life trade.

          • rekrab

            Shite! and there were hords of us that walked for miles seeking employment, On yer own bike if you believe that tosh and piffle and shame on you for being so callous and uncaring but what can you expect from a rotten profiteer who only see’s it Thatcher’s way. Bring back the coal mines!

          • rekrab

            I did respond? but it’s seems I’m on moderation once again.
            But listen up, don’t tell me what the Thatcher period was like and don’t tell me how to raise my children.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well, while you are “kicking your heels” on moderation, research the gold price from (arbitrary, 1980 when I first bought an ounce, but pick your own date as you wish). You will find that the price movements of the last few days completely inconsequential, particularly if the average price paid for your gold is £328.71 over the last 33 years. The last week made that average price 1 penny cheaper.

            If you have the intellectual capacity, which I seriously doubt, you might think that next Thursday is a good time to buy more gold. Why next Thursday? It is nine days since the last COMEX settlement date for 60 day futures, and so one day before the price ticks up once more. So let it keep falling until then.

          • rekrab

            Seriously, I couldn’t care less what category of intellectual capacity you put me in, just another of your off topic points.
            I understand your running scared like some frightened rabbit and unable to reach critical theories because of your childhood upbringing.Take it from me Jaime, the unemployment was by design.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Why should I take anything from you?

          • rekrab

            Put up or shut up. End of…………….

          • Alexwilliamz

            Trial by combat it is the only way to decide this one, then God’s own divine will can be revealed as to who is correct! :cough:

          • rekrab

            O yes please!

          • rekrab

            Hey Dude, 1979 to 1986, with 8 YTS schemes in-between. You know nothing.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            So why were you wasting your time on YTS in Scotland? Why not cut a new path, go to Australia, retrain as a massager, make a living in London with a new coffee bar, play the pipes in New York? A poverty of ambition, or vision if you never left your hometown.

            I may “know nothing” in your terms, but I know enough to gain a very portable skill, and take it around the world. And I suspect that my up bringing was just as yours: a small flat in a poor neighbourhood in a hardly developing country. And so why are you still there?

          • AlanGiles

            Jaime: You might have wunderlust, and good luck to you, but it was not in the 80s, or now, that easy for people just to move to another part of the country let alone ANOTHER country.

            There are many reasons: It costs a lot of money (especially by train!)

            Some people have family commitments which means they have to be near at hand

            I have no surviving family myself now, but I do have old friends, and because I am in the best nick of many of them, they do, to some extent, need me near to hand. But a lot of people have school-age children, elderly parents or whatever it might be.

            Why should a proud Scotsman have to leave his own country?. Especially when he gets the chance to help decide that country’s future next year?.

            I am a Londoner, but after retirement, I toyed with the idea of going to live in Cornwall, but just the idea of having to take on the task of moving my stuff, and the fact that I have an elderly dog who has known his vet for years, and is quite a nervous dog(and the vet knows him well of course), plus the aforementioned social commitments, such as they are, it jus’t isn’t that easy. Put simply,I wouldn’t have the energy.

            Suppose, though I was a 25 year old with no ties. Fine – I’ll go and live in Cornwall. One problem: if I were on JSA I would be receiving £60p.w., give or take. How am I going to afford the fares, the removal expenses, and finding a home. The “Social Fund” operated by the DWP is not that generous.

            As for going to live in Australia – even though you are a doctor and I was an engineer – Australia is a very picky country and if you are the wrong sort of doctor or engineer (oversubscribed specialism) you won’t get in.

          • Quite apart from anything else, socially its a very dangerous policy, to effectively drain whole areas of people with ability. The number of doctors from the third world working in the west hardly helps their own countries. The same is true on a more local level. We cannot continue to overheat the south east and ignore the remainder of the country

          • Alexwilliamz

            Bloody hell, Norman Tebbit, you are old baldy’s sock, it all makes sense now! :cough:

          • rekrab

            Alex, I thought that to. The old laced up boot kicker, LoL, he wouldn’t last a few minutes in my neck of the woods

          • Alexwilliamz

            Not so sure about that, he does have an air of vampiric menace to him, you think you had him then it turns out to be but a puff of smoke. (It is Tebbit we are talking about isn’t it?)

          • rekrab

            I think so! they used to portray Tebbit as the boot kicking MP on spitting image .

          • Alexwilliamz

            didn’t they put him in a stormtrooper type uniform at one point or was that other stiff with no lips Peter Bottomley?

            Edit sorry Peter Lilley.

          • rekrab

            LoL! and then he does the cape act and disappears? he a slippery one.

          • You don’t have a clue.

          • Truly clueless.

          • Dave Postles

            Fortunately, I had the benefit of seeing your initial response as well in my e-mail inbox. You are simply a nasty piece of work.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I may be, but again you betray your own academic heritage. You took a 2 minute “slice” of time, clearly edited after the fact to reflect a second thought to “tone down” a comment, and choose to publish it.

            Well, I have been caught in a moment of choler by the Dave Postles. I still stand by my earlier edited comments, which all can now read. And I care little for the Dave Postles little trick, although he may feel some slight pride.

            And now what, the Dave Postles? Are you happy?

            The point is, you have not the intellect or argument to match the point I originally made, and so this is dissemblance.

          • rekrab

            Coward!

          • Alexwilliamz

            Noel!

          • rekrab

            LoL!

          • AlanGiles

            *”You’ve all been too kind. Noel sent me roses. Rose sent me Noel’s. Neither pair fit!” 🙂

            * “Binkie Huckerback” in ‘Round The Horne’ (1967) Barry Took/Marty Feldman

          • Alexwilliamz

            Calm down JT you are coming across a bit hissy fit at the moment, sure you are being surrounded, but best to show some of that stiff upper lip you must have picked up while in England.

          • rekrab

            Yes please again, nice target…..ouch!

          • Dave Postles

            This is what he originally intended to write:

            jaime taurosangastre candelas wrote, in response to Dave Postles:

            A You Tube video, with an anonymous man, making a straw-man argument that he then
            knocks down, no references to anything else, no context?

            I am very glad that I went to a proper, rigorous university and not wasted my time
            with the sort of academic nonsense that you seem to hold proud. It would have been a
            complete waste of everyone’s time to be taught by you.

            Link to comment:
            http://redirect.disqus.com/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Flabourlist.org%2F2013%2F04%2Fthatchers-legacy-in-the-coalfields-was-devastation-and-the-bitterness-is-still-felt-today%2F%23comment-862329248%3A-WeZpighOQayi-_32oqp0fgWkjI&impression=cc23335c-a46b-11e2-b3a6-003048df93b0&type=notification.post.registered&event=email&behavior=click

            Dave Postles wrote:

            … or, in addition to Alex’s reference:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdZp5iw-UEo

            —–
            Options: Reply with “Like” to like this comment, or respond in the body to post a
            reply comment.

            Stop receiving notifications when new comments are posted:
            http://disqus.com/account/#notifications

          • Dave Postles

            It’s not my fault if you do not recognize (Sir) Alan Budd in a documentary from 1992. It seems pretty obvious that it is him and that is the origin of the quotation by Owen Jones.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It is still only an opinion, making a deliberate straw-man argument, which if you have unbiased ears you then hear him knock down. It is also a circular reference, as you refer to Alex Otley’s quotation.

            Goodness, I would not have got away with that sort of quality of argument in year one in my university, let alone be employed in the faculty.

          • Dave Postles

            Rubbish. He does not; he expresses his concern that it was an agendum of others.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘ It is also a circular reference, as you refer to Alex Otley’s quotation.’
            Rubbish. I maintain that it is the origin of the quotation by Owen Jones.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “”[The government] never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation. They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes.” – Sir Alan Budd, chief economic adviser to the treasury 1991 – 1997.”

            Alex Otley, several comments above (or below, depending on your sorting). Alex elsewhere in this thread does reference Owen Jones, but not from what I can tell in relation to this little conversation.

          • Dave Postles

            The quotation by Owen Jones is slightly inaccurate. You might want to listen again to the words of Budd in the programme.

          • Dave Postles

            Here’s a transcript of the part of the programme:

            ‘They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes
            — if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a
            crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has
            allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.

            Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really
            worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was
            going on.’

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Odd that you make my point for me, in that he showed a straw-man argument, and then knocked it down.. Also odd, in the context of me making my point, that you selectively quote a part of the whole. He produces no evidence at all other than conjecture, which he then discards.

            My original point, now well “upstream” in the comments, is that I find it hard to believe that anyone of any party deliberately enters politics to make life worse for any other person. You appear to ignore this point, and seek to try to disprove a tiny little element of this argument, by circular reference to others. I do not need your quotation, I am perfectly capable of watching the video myself. And yet your excerpt makes my point.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘but when I really worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.’

            ‘that you selectively quote a part of the whole’
            No, I duplicate the part which is consistent with the part which you quoted immediately above in order to demonstrate that it was the origin of the quotation which you cite.

            As far as I am aware, I have made no comment about your point about people entering politics to make life better or worse. All I have done is to authenticate the quotation.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It is still circular, in reference. And it is still only part of the interview. And the whole You Tube “clip” is clearly only part of a longer whole.

            I would not put up with this level of intelligence from one of my junior Housemen, I would not dare to approach one of my former academic tutors with this quality of argument, so why do you think it is acceptable? One of the problems the left has is that its’ advocates are mostly stupid, as is evidenced with many of the “UK Uncut” postings you shoe-horn into postings on LL.

          • Dave Postles

            Circular? What are you on about? It is simply a reference for a quotation.
            You asked for a reference for a quotation. You have it.

          • I struggle to understand what on earth you are banging on about. I provided a quote from Budd, as it appeared in Chavs and Dave Postles produced actual documentary evidence, presumably the source of the quote. How is it circular? You asked for evidence that mass unemployment was used as a policy – obviously nobody will openly admit this, so perhaps I was wrong to say that it was ‘well documented’. But it is nevertheless undeniably true that unemployment was used to try to beat inflation, and it is inconceivable that the wider anti-union, anti-worker implications were lost on the government. I notice you aren’t engaging with any of these points, just whinging about the source and pretending that it doesn’t count because it is out of context – it is damning; what context does it need?

          • Dave Postles

            I think you need to check again. He gave the source for Budd’s quotation as Owen Jones, Chavs, which you denigrated as a source.

          • The reference I posted from Owen Jones’ book was for that quote. I would have edited my original post but was afraid that I might confuse you. Alas, that seems to have happened anyway.

          • And of course the Tories are going to admit to it, aren’t they? Simply put,. you believe them because they reflect your own free market neo-liberalism

      • “accidental effect”?

        Why not take the trouble to read the piece by Dan and Michael at the top of this thread:

        “for Thatcher, defeating the miners and destroying the industry that employed them was both personal and political.”

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Well, of course I had read that. It is not of much use in commenting on an article if you have not read it.

          But simply because it was printed above what I wrote does not automatically mean that I support every word written. The quote you provide is unevidenced. It is merely a statement of opinion. Does your thinking not note that logic?

          And so, back to the question I asked, having already read the main article, or do you wish to avoid it? Simply say so if you do wish to avoid it, it is nothing to me or you.

          To make it easy for you, if you cannot parse simple English language, here is the operative question: “do you really think that there are those in politics who deliberately seek to “do down” or “make worse” the lives of ordinary people? “

          • Thanks for the italics, Jaime – it’s nice to know you care so much.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It is nice to know that clearly you only care for the” cheap jibe”, and are not serious in engaging into any actual issues.

            I will assume that, having been asked twice, and having twice refused to answer, you really do believe that some politicians enter politics with a specific aim of making things worse for people.

            On a completely separate topic, do you believe that given the reality of “first past the post”, the NHS Action Party will make things better or worse for the NHS in 2015? Are the potential supporters of the NHS AP likely to take votes from Labour or the tories? Given that the most optimistic polling suggests something like 1/2 million votes, mostly in the north, what is the likely electoral effect? Oblivion, and waste?

          • rekrab

            1979 1.4 million unemployed by 1984 over 3 million unemployed, those em them facts.If you don’t like them put up or shut up

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well, equally, some might argue with you that 1.6 million in 1979 were employed uselessly by the state in dying industries only kept functioning by taxpayers to little purpose. That has as much intellectual rigour to it as your comment, and more context.

            What is unexplored is the mindset of a state employee who has the intelligence to know that his or her job is valueless, and costs other taxpayers great amounts of money to continue.

          • rekrab

            Don’t talk crap, soft lad and stop trying to convince us your the brains of Britain. Check em fact.Now shut up because you cant put up.

          • Better than keeping people unemployed for no purpose – and a very damaging outcome for them and the areas where they live. Free trade does not work for exactly these reasons. Give it 20 years and protection will be reintroduced either by Labour on the Left or UKIP on the Right

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Better than keeping people unemployed for no purpose”

            There, “in a nutshell”, is the problem with your hard left thinking. It simply has not occurred to you that it is not the purpose of the Government to provide employment, and that it is the responsibility of individuals to provide employment for themselves, and financial provision for the size of family that they wish to have.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Nope it is societies responsibility to ensure their is adequate activity for all its citizens otherwise you create a dysfunctional system in which it is difficult to morally justify why those without should play by the rules. Note this is an attack upon dependency as well as free market employment conditions. Now while I am not a fan of workhouses the principle that there should be meaningful activity for everyone should become the heart of any new consensus. Movement around the country can only work if citizens are adequately robust and more importantly we have a housing system that works and creates the incentives to move. Or would you rather go back to the era of vagabonds and vagrants?

          • PeterBarnard

            “I have looked a little ….”

            Well, Jaime, I’m not sure where you looked (you don’t give a reference), but OECD reported in its 2011 Employment Outlook that the average wage in S Korea in 2011 (in USD PPP) was USD 35,406 ; in the UK, it was USD 44,743, ie the “average” worker in S Korea had a wage about 80% of that an “average” worker in the UK.

            I doubt very much that a skilled worker in a S Korea shipyard receives as little as £1.70 an hour : £70 a week : £3,600 a year : 12% (thereabouts) of the average wage in the UK, not when – at the aggregate/whole economy level – S Korea wages are about 80% of those in the UK.

            Do let us know where “you looked a little ….”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Here, at the Korean National Statistics Organisation:

            http://kosis.nso.go.kr/eng/index.htm

            (it takes a while to load)

          • PeterBarnard

            I get a message “This page cannot be displayed.”
            I think that I’ll stay with OECD.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Peter,

            it loads OK, if slowly for me.

            you might try this other route:

            http://kosis.kr/eng/database/database_001000.jsp?listid=B&subtitle=Employment/Labor/Wage

            …but you then have to “navigate” to the ship-building page from there.

          • PeterBarnard

            Well, that doesn’t seem to work either, Jaime.
            I guess that’s the result when people are paid only £1.70 an hour … I’ll still stick with OECD (they may be “overpaid” at £17 an hour (say), but by Golly! What they produce works, first time of asking).

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well, Peter, both links work my my computer, the first loads a bit slowly, the second is quick. You actually make quite an inadvertent point. You, Peter, in Cheshire cannot get your computer to link to a site, and so therefore you make some little joke about hourly rates and imply the Korean site is not working properly. Actually, the problem is probably more to do with your computer.

            What you are quite comfortable in thinking is that your argument is somehow proven by referring to raw OECD figures, which necessarily aggregate things upwards to national average wages, and you don’t think of the original point of debate the wages of skilled manual workers in Korean dockyards. I provide two links that “point” to the original data, and your computer cannot get there. This is not my problem, and your thesis remains unproven.

          • PeterBarnard

            Jaime,

            The Korean Ministry of Labour says that the minimum wage in Korea is now (2013) Won 4,860 per hour http://www.moel.go.kr/english/statistics/major_statistics.jsp
            At a conversion rate of Won 1,736 = £1 (BBC Business section), that equates to £2.80 an hour. After taking account of PPP, that may well be 20% higher (£3.36/hour)
            Do you think that it is really feasible that skilled workers in Korean shipyards are paid 40% below the minimum wage (and possibly 50% of the minimum wage, after PPP)?
            My computer, by the way, is a three month old Dell, with W8 and IE 10. It is more than likely that the Micky-Mouse site that you referenced isn’t up to speed with IE 10.

          • rekrab

            No link? o dear, the brains of Britain can’t post a link correct.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            See below.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Not employed uselessly, just not profitably, probably still preferable to being paid to be uselessly unemployed. Hope you are secretly enjoying this thread.

          • JoeDM

            Good points again. The clearout of the industrial deadwood in the early 80s was necessary groundwork for the successes of the next 20 years. If Gordon Brown and Ed Balls had not introduced their ‘light touch regulation ‘ policy and split the regulation of the Banks, we would probably be enjoying even more of that prosperity now under Tony Blair’s 4th term in office.

            Now there’s an interesting ‘What if’ for you !!!

          • Alexwilliamz

            But would Harry have still beaten Voldemort?

          • JoeDM

            Too silly, even for this time on a Saturday night when we should all be watching MOTD with a beer.

            And I only was going to switch off my computer and I am almost drawn into one of these very silly ‘I’ve got a bigger one than you’ arguments.

            Nope.

            Good night.

          • I have no words. Absolute madness.

          • Monkey_Bach

            There’s one huge problem playing the “Brown and Balls” blame game. During the period when Labour did foolishly lightly regulate the financial and banking sectors not one word of protest was raised by the Tories, and, in fact, a very large section of the Conservative Party, including members of its then shadow cabinet, vocally called for weaker regulation and less red tape to “get government off the backs” of these sectors to allow them to “generate more wealth” by supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship for the “benefit of all”.

            I reality few politicians showed much foresight in respect to the crash least of all the Tories, many of whom wanted failing banks to be allowed to collapse completely Hayek-style.

            As they say the most sober person in the world is a reformed alcoholic.

            Eeek.

          • There you go again – another repeat of the all too frequent disrupt and distract routine.

          • AlanGiles

            ” you really do believe that some politicians enter politics with a specific aim of making things worse for people.”

            Good morning Jaime: I am afraid that I do, speaking for myself, often for doctrinaire reasons (Mrs Thatcher and heavy industry, for example) and as a more recent example, both the previous and present governments are very keen on privatisation of Royal Mail – even though they must realise that this will result in great numbers of redundancies and a poorer and more expensive service for the customer – both MacFadden for Labour and the present Coalition try to present it in the same way Major tried to present rail privatisation – that a private service will be “cheaper”, “more competitive”. Well, we all know the reality 18 years on, and it won’t be that long before we see massive price rises for postage – already this is having a detrimental effect on companies which deal with mail order, in the rises we have already seen – 50 pence to post a standard size second class letter. The prices for posting packages have already risen at an alarming rate, and of course, everyne knows what will happen when privatisation is complete.

            Unless politicians are totally stupid,or think we are, they must know when they start these sort of projects that is what the result will be, but they get a short term boost from the profits of selling anything that moves – Harold MacMillan mentioned selling the family silver years ago. Well, all the silver has been sold now, so we are down to the Sheffield plate, and even the copper.
            I know you addressed your question to Dave, but this is a question anyone can try to answer.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Alan, I am afraid I cannot agree with you, on the politicians specifically entering politics to make things worse for people. It may be that you are correct, in some cases, but if so is that not deeply depressing? I know you are hard on the expenses cheats, and you are right to be so, but in the “grand scheme”, it is surely much worse to enter politics to deliberately make life worse for other people than to buy the £8,000 TV. I can spend £8,000 with a single decision for a single patient, and justify it, equally a more difficult decision on treatment pathways might have a cost differential of £20.

            And so I do not think that is the intention, to make life worse.

          • AlanGiles

            Yes Jaime you can spend £8000 on one patient, because in your professional opinion that patient needs that treatment.

            The instance you give of the TV set is one greedy old man who passed the retirement age 15 years ago, pleasuring himself at our expense, with unnecessarily expensive appliances, then, when he got caught, pleading Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to excuse himself. If the man has a mental health problem, at his age he should be removed from his stressful job, and encouraged to seek treatment.

            I am sure you get some politicians who don’t intend to make life worse for people, but as was proved 4 years ago far too many seem to see entering Westminster as a means of self-enrichment. Most of them on all sides were party loyalists, so they voted for things they knew would hurt their constituents, and took the free goods and food allowances as their “reward” for their unquestioning and obsequious “loyalty”

        • JoeDM

          Nonsense.

      • AlanGiles

        Jaime, Politicians, like everyone else, should have the imagination to understand the consequences of their actions. This case of the coalmines is a case in point, but it happens all the time. For example, when Peter Hain paved the way for the first tranche of Remploy factories being closed, he should have had the imagination to realise that A) In a time of increasing unemployment for the able-bodied, it would make the disabled workers situation that more precarious and B) that as it is always possible you will lose an election he must have also relaised that he had opened the door to his successor to close the remainder.
        In any case, if you see the damage your actions have caused (whatever party) you should try to make amends. In neither of the cases under discussion did this happen.

        • I think it was absolutely deliberate and an aim in policy to try and make people change towards a Thatcherite outlook.

      • Alexwilliamz

        Jaime the tories have even made the mistake of saying the following in public, that unemployment is a price worth paying for their economic policy. It is not an ‘accidental’ effect it is choice that is being made which will deliberately make a number of ordinary people’s lives worse. In the name of her policies it was clearly decided that not only should the coal fields be closed down but that any form of state support to sustain them would be wrong and any direct involvement in generating alternatives would also be wrong. They choice was to use welfare an specifically incapacity benefit to ‘pay’ the social cost. OK but then later on and now in the present incarnation they now want to squeeze these people again. This is the truth of the situation, and it should be said over and over again.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Evidence? Not hearsay, but proper evidence?

          • Alexwilliamz

            From Lamont (as chancellor) “Rising unemployment and the recession have been the price that we have had to pay to get inflation down. That price is well worth paying.”
            Hansard, HC 6Ser vol 191 col 413 (16 May 1991)
            Now that is in the context of inflation but I think the point stands. This is a pretty much accepted position that the tories take, although politically they are unlikely to make public statements frequently on this point.

      • robertcp

        Jaime, I do not know if the economic policies of Thatcher’s governments were vicious or stupid. The important point is that they led to mass unemployment and it was difficult to get a job, which is why I moved to London. The reason for the hatred of Thatcher was that she clearly could not care less.

      • JoeDM

        Good post.

        There are costs and benefits to all economic decisions. Sometimes hard decisions with short term costs but with greater longer term benefits must be made and the decisions made in the early 80s are a classic example. We all benefited in the long run (until a certain Gordon Brown came along). As someone else once said, you don’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

        • Alexwilliamz

          Yes but the problem was WE did not ALL benefit in the long term and therein lies the flaw with Thatcherism and why she is accused of divisiveness.

  • rekrab

    This has got to be the most positive article I’ve seen in years on LL. Thank you Dan and Michael.
    Lets not forget that when the pits shut all those years ago, one of the biggest issue was also the fear of fuel poverty and my god are in in up to our necks with that situation.
    This does have the potential to unite this country and a nation quite simply should use the resources it has.Lets do the correct thing here, lets create the much needed employment, lets use the new technology and lets unite a nation and it’s communities once again.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    An intelligent article, and in a small way, reinforcing my personal opinion that Dan Jarvis is an under-used “asset” for Labour, with his personal history of being a soldier in Afghanistan that sets him aside from the more normal “SpAD”.

    With the last week being consumed with the Margaret Thatcher, I wonder if there is a truly dis-passionate article anywhere that looks at the economic viability of the coal industry in the 1980s. You can find biased articles on both sides stating that it was all uneconomic, or that it was a political decision to destroy an industry, and both sorts have obvious flaws in their arguments. As an individual, I really cannot tell what was the reality.

  • david trant

    The possibility of using coal to produce that well known oxymoron SNG, (synthetic natural gas) should be fully explored, and more investment into those plants please. I’m not sure what the state of the Westfield Plant is these days, but it was achieving good results 30 years ago.

    p.s.

    Why isn’t Dan Jarvis shadow minister of defence, surely his knowledge in that area is sorely needed.

  • Well the way forward would be a message to all #Labour Activists there are many Labour Candidates who
    will be standing for Local or County and byelectons. plz help out if your council or town hall are not holding elections

  • robertcp

    The decline of the coal industry was inevitable but it would have been more gradual and humane if the NUM had better leadership during the 1980s. Scargill must have been the worst union leader of all time.

    • rekrab

      Where are you going with this? it really is unhelpful and smacks of misunderstanding.
      Please, try and remain positive!

      • TomFairfax

        Hi Derek,

        I think Robert has a point. Arthur’s conduct this week has been impeccable to my knowledge, but he really did find himself as the donkey leading the lions in the 84/85 miners strike.

        Remember. A few years before hand the NUM had gone on strike and Maggie’s government caved in quickly. Why? Because they were completely unprepared and the lights would have gone out again like they did in 1974.

        The spring of 1984, with massive stockpiles of coal at the power stations, clearly built up on purpose, because there was no economic sense to it, was not the time to demonstrate a complete lack of tactical nous, regardless of the strategy.

        The Tories wanted to put the NUM back in it’s place, but worst of all, were allowed to choose the time, weapons, and field for that battle.

        As far as coal reserves today. Potentially a huge national asset still, but it requires changes to the electricity distribution charging system introduced by the last Labour government to penalise power generation where it was convenient placed for the fuel supply, i.e. next to a coal field, and instead effectively subsidise the generation of power via any other fuel system close to the user. This effectively makes economic power generation north of the Humber is now made uneconomic, when the useage is mainly well to the south. It’s a completely artificial barrier introduced by Westminster politicians. So it’s a barrier that Labour should now commit to removing.

        It would also facilitate wind and power generation where the wind and tides are greatest, in the North west of these isles, and not in marginal wind speed areas in the midlands or east coast which rely purely on massive subsidy for income, which is currently costing the average customer an extra 25% on their bills and due to increase to over 30% by 2020, according to the governments own figures.

        • rekrab

          Hello Thomas, great to hear from you, hope all is well.
          Thomas, on this article I’m excited by the idea of creating new employment and I hope you understand that means more to me than the other side issues?
          Yeah! there’s work to done in all areas but doesn’t that sound great! “work to be done”

          Thomas I’m old school, I don’t make apologies for that.

          • TomFairfax

            I Derek I trust you’re well. I don’t disagree that coal has a future. Most power stations being built now are coal powered, just not in Europe. In the UK we seem to have made sure the playing field is decidedly unlevel and effectively anti-coal. The technology exists for clean coal, but it needs equal treatment from government.

          • rekrab

            Nice one mate! it’s a burn that I’m passionate about.

          • TomFairfax

            Nice to see you’re in good spirits. Is it still a case of Scottish Independence being a nigh certainty if the Tories look vaguely like winning in 2015?

          • rekrab

            Quick pro quo!
            Regenerating communities and coal mines with railways would be a certain added factor to remaining British.

        • The trouble with wind power is it needs to be backed up with coal/gas because you can’t control when it is on or off. You can end up with it generating loads of power at 3am when nobody is using it, and then nothing at tea time! Even nuclear suffers from this to some extent, as you can’t turn it on or off to meet demand.

          • Dave Postles

            There is always wind at the coast because of differential rates of heating and cooling between land and sea.

          • Good point. A lot of wind turbines get built in places that aren’t really very efficient though don’t they? I might be mistaken.

          • Dave Postles

            No, you are not mistaken.

    • Dave Postles

      Well, look now, the Notts miners formed the UDM and worked, just like the earlier Spencerian miners. The Notts deep mines were closed to concentrate on opencast and the importation of Polish coal. We have, however, two of the largest coal-powered power stations in England north and south of those pits. It was a case of trading energy security for temporary cheap fuel. There was no corresponding loyalty. Look at the steel industry; Thatcher brought in McGregor to run it down. Scargill was counterproductive, but she seems to have been resolute that heavy industry would be sacrificed, the abandonment of long-term security for short-term cheapness.

  • Hamish Dewar

    This is a dangerous line to push:
    “It is ironic that in the 1980s, the Conservative government pushed the unemployed, including ex-miners, onto disability benefits as a way of massaging the dole figures”.
    It invites the response that the present government is redressing the balance.

    • Dave Postles
    • Such a response it quite easily refuted. Fiddling around with benefits is unlikely to have a significant effect when the problem is an underlying lack of jobs. Long term unemployment, people on the sick and people on JSA will not go away just by rearranging them.

      • Valerie Arnold

        Fiddling the benefit figure is as you say futile as it doesn’t help, except it allows the powers that be to “claim” unemployment is down, it is all cleverly done, tell all the school leavers to go to “uni” even though there wont be a job for you when you leave and of course you will be in debt, but then again that keeps the unemployment figures down, Take a job with little or no pay, again keeps the figures down, it is all a big con. Time for a change. VOTE UKIP

  • Dave Postles

    Simon Charlesworth, A Phenomenology of Working-Class Experience (Cambridge Cultural Social Studies, 1999) – the social and economic consequences of Thatcher’s ‘policies’. It would have been far more effective to subsidize the miners than defraying the social costs.

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  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Derek and Alexwilliamz,

    I am sorry to have not been entertaining you for the last 30 minutes – a child unable to get to sleep. But I see you have entertained yourselves.

    My only real philosophy is three-fold:

    1. Strain every effort to make sure that when you depart this world, you have put in more than ever you take out.

    2. No one else ever has your interests at heart, particularly the authorities. So ignore them, within the rules, and look after yourself.

    3. Love and nurture your family, and send your young into the world with the ability to look anyone from a President to a Priest to a Prostitute in the eye and with confidence say “I am better than you, and here is why….”.

    • Alexwilliamz

      Agree with 1 and 3 can’t believe in 2, although I know sometimes it is true. How far do you take that tho? Does your wife, you parents, your friends not have your interests at heart? As a doc do you not have your patient’s interests at heart, how could they trust you if they followed that rule.

      For myself I’d include:
      Respect for others and work to support their dignity.
      Honesty and integrity.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Alex,

        there does need to be a mental “line in the sand”, but if you can draw that, (2) is perfectly possible, or at least for me. I have huge and enduring lack of trust of “government”, in whatever form. I don’t trust them to even pay me at the end of each month, so always keep a month of salary in my current account. I don’t trust them to pay my pension, either from the NHS or even the state pension, because they are incompetent and will have wasted all of our money on DFID or welfare or Trident or eco-subsidies or some other nonsense by the time I get to claim a pension. You just cannot trust anyone at all in government, from the PM down to the wages clerk in the lowest council. They are all not thinking of your best interests, they are only thinking of themselves.

        On the other hand, anything I can ever do for others goes into (1).

        • Alexwilliamz

          Having lived in this country all my life my experience is that gvt can infuriate or disappoint but rarely actually don’t try and do what they claim even if they sometimes fail, and it is backed up by a rule of law that is generally fair on the balance of averages. As such I have trust in gvt to a much greater degree than yourself. Maybe growing up in chile has left you with a different experience and hence your lack of trust? or is it a wider distrust of ‘other people’? Obviously when i talk of trust I do not mean in the blind sense.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well, Chile is hardly an good “exemplar” of good governance, at least from 1965 to 1994, when I left.

            Trust the government about as far as you could throw it, and the bigger the Government, the less far you can throw it.

          • But I trust private institutions and the so-called ‘market’ even less.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Of course, but you have the luxury in that you can always curtail your “doings” with private business, and change suppliers at will. You cannot get rid of Government, it is like a parasitical leech.

    • rekrab

      Jaime, your a strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at times, like Alex I ‘d question (2) but I also understand that you’ve got to be careful.
      Had you used Poets and priest and politicians, I’d have thought you were going all police on me.

  • PeterBarnard

    Excellent article from Dan Jarvis MP, and Michael Dugher MP.
    I can personally relate to what they say, having been brought up in South
    Yorkshire, with half-a-dozen coal mines less than half-a-dozen miles away.

    =================

    One of the enduring myths form the period 1979-97 is that
    Mrs Thatcher “rolled back the frontiers of the state,” when she did nothing of
    the sort. The state, via unemployment and social security payments, and low wages
    reinforced by the spectre of unemployment, entered the lives of millions more
    people.

    Social security payments for working-age people and children
    increased from 3.75% of GDP in 1978-79 to 5.72% of GDP in 1996-97 ; in 1978-79,
    11.4% of net taxes and NI contributions went on social security payments for
    working-age people and children ; by 1996-97, this had risen to 17.0%. Lest we
    forget, this was in an economy that the Conservatives “transformed for the
    better … “ It is difficult to equate an “improved” economy with a rising burden
    of taxation/NI payments being spent on social security payments for working-age
    people.

    ===================

    As the Conservatives criticise the current level of housing
    benefits, they conveniently forget it was between 1978-79 and 1996-97 that
    housing benefits for working age people exploded, from £400 million to £7.6
    billion : from just 70p in every £100 tax/NI collected in 1978-79, to £2.87 in
    every £100 tax/NI collected in 1996-97.

    The Conservatives created so-called “welfare dependency.”
    Full stop. Period.

    Source data may be found at http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=medium_term
    and Public Sector Finances Databank http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psf_statistics.htm

    • rekrab

      Thank @Peter Barnard, can you give me a couple of months to digest LoL but seriously, your info is spot on.

      • PeterBarnard

        Thanks, Derek.
        There’s something up with Disqus that I can’t understand – my comment doesn’t appear when I access LL directly, but does when I click through on “Reply to Rekrab.” And, more baffling – if it doesn’t appear for me on my machine, how come you – and a few others – read it?
        Time to unscrew the top of the Famous Grouse bottle …

        • rekrab

          LoL! @Peter, subject! I’m also having the same problems, posts seem to come then go and even more stranger posts seem to vanish altogether.

          It seem to occur when the agitator becomes annoyed?

          Is it possible there’s a hacker in the midst? enjoy the famous grouse @Peter but please continue to post the truth.

  • PeterBarnard

    Excellent article from Dan Jarvis MP, and Michael Dugher MP.
    I can personally relate to what they say, having been brought up in South
    Yorkshire, with half-a-dozen coal mines less than half-a-dozen miles away.
    (If this appears twice, it’s Disqus and all its foibles …)

    =================

    One of the enduring myths form the period 1979-97 is that
    Mrs Thatcher “rolled back the frontiers of the state,” when she did nothing of
    the sort. The state, via unemployment and social security payments, and low wages
    reinforced by the spectre of unemployment, entered the lives of millions more
    people.

    Social security payments for working-age people and children
    increased from 3.75% of GDP in 1978-79 to 5.72% of GDP in 1996-97 ; in 1978-79,
    11.4% of net taxes and NI contributions went on social security payments for
    working-age people and children ; by 1996-97, this had risen to 17.0%. Lest we
    forget, this was in an economy that the Conservatives “transformed for the
    better … “ It is difficult to equate an “improved” economy with a rising burden
    of taxation/NI payments being spent on social security payments for working-age
    people.

    ===================

    As the Conservatives criticise the current level of housing
    benefits, they conveniently forget it was between 1978-79 and 1996-97 that
    housing benefits for working age people exploded, from £400 million to £7.6
    billion : from just 70p in every £100 tax/NI collected in 1978-79, to £2.87 in
    every £100 tax/NI collected in 1996-97.

    The Conservatives created so-called “welfare dependency.”
    Full stop. Period.

    Source data may be found at http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=medium_term
    and Public Sector Finances Databank http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psf_statistics.htm

  • markfergusonuk

    Dan is a shadow DCMS minister

  • andrewjchandler

    It was also Scargill’s legacy. He ignored calls from South Wales and elsewhere to hold a ballot, leadership of a donkey leading lions. After the victory of 1982, the South Wales Coalfield was wiped out while profits were raked in from Poland and South Africa. Well done, Arthur, you played right into Mr MacGregor’s and Mrs T’s hands.

  • I like it.

  • Pingback: Patterns of voting – an overview | Sociology at Twynham School()

  • Mr Arthur Cook

    This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.

    Aneurin Bevan

  • Misk Hills

    The bitterness she left, the society she destroyed …

    Why Thatcher should never have a public holiday named after her…!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn0orWO6VHQ&feature=c4-overview&list=UUk_eiLxqqcbQXsGutGx-M4w

  • Emily powell

    Am Emily Powell from Canada I never believed in spell casters until my life fell apart when my lover of 4 years decided to call it quit. I was so devastated that i had an accident that left me bedridden. After 7 months of emotional pain and languish, a friend of mine introduced me to a certain spell caster, this was after I have been scammed by various fake spell caster. I was introduced to DR ONIHA ( A Spell Caster). In less than 12 hrs i saw wonders, my Lover came back to me and my life got back just like a completed puzzle… am so happy.. Dr ONIHA have all kinds of spells from pregnancy to love,from employment to visa lottery winning. He has spell to stop divorce,spell to make someone look attractive and others. here’s his contact for serious minded people only, it might be of help…[email protected]. wow Dr.ONIHA…thanks am so grateful as you saved my life..

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