Strike memory

First published in Letters

CHRIS Evans MP made some valid observations in the recent Argus article about the “Justice for Coalfields Campaign”. Now that we are fast approaching the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike of 1984/5, the piece was interesting.

Chris is a trained historian and knows that history, and historical sources can be interpreted in many ways, that is why I was shocked he did not give a more balanced viewpoint.

I fully concede that the Thatcher pit closure programme was extreme, and a “state of emergency” drawn up.

These arguments are further backed up with the recently-released cabinet papers of this period. This period of industrial strife was further intensified by the phraseology used by the Thatcher right-wing Government, the right-wing press, and that great tactical genius Arthur Scargill.

The thing that saddens me most about this period was that the brave miners were used as political pawns by both sides.

The 1984/5 pit closure programme destroyed the Gwent Eastern valley coalfield communities forever, of which my home village of Markham is a classic example. I hope the “Justice for Coalfields Campaign” is successful in its aims, but I fear all it will do is open up bitter divisions once more.

Wayne Thomas Monmouth Walk Markham

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:44pm Tue 11 Feb 14

pwlldu says...

History will look at the Labour party during the miners strike and say they let the striking miners and their families down.
History will look at the Labour party during the miners strike and say they let the striking miners and their families down. pwlldu
  • Score: 2

6:37pm Tue 11 Feb 14

coalpicker says...

Didn't know Markham was in the eastern valley ? DID the purgatory bit in big pit Blaenavon and the other bit in Korea not much to chose between the two .
Looking at the valleys now and remembering my grandfather coughing up his lungs, and with hindsight I think Maggi did us a great favour .
Didn't know Markham was in the eastern valley ? DID the purgatory bit in big pit Blaenavon and the other bit in Korea not much to chose between the two . Looking at the valleys now and remembering my grandfather coughing up his lungs, and with hindsight I think Maggi did us a great favour . coalpicker
  • Score: 3

11:05am Wed 12 Feb 14

pwlldu says...

coalpicker says... men had a choice work down the mine or starve. The pits provided work for all types of men. If you couldn't read but had a strong back you could provide for your family. That was before benifits became a way of life.
coalpicker says... men had a choice work down the mine or starve. The pits provided work for all types of men. If you couldn't read but had a strong back you could provide for your family. That was before benifits became a way of life. pwlldu
  • Score: 4

11:08am Wed 12 Feb 14

pwlldu says...

After all the pit closed and redundencies was paid, when most workers never worked after. Britain bought coal from, Germany and Poland. How was that cost affective
After all the pit closed and redundencies was paid, when most workers never worked after. Britain bought coal from, Germany and Poland. How was that cost affective pwlldu
  • Score: 1

12:42pm Wed 12 Feb 14

welshmen says...

WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever.

Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits....
WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever. Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits.... welshmen
  • Score: 1

8:13pm Wed 12 Feb 14

pwlldu says...

Pity English governemnts closed Welsh pits. If Wales had voted yes in 1979 maybe the Welsh governement could have saved the industry.
Pity English governemnts closed Welsh pits. If Wales had voted yes in 1979 maybe the Welsh governement could have saved the industry. pwlldu
  • Score: -2

12:37pm Thu 13 Feb 14

coalpicker says...

welshmen wrote:
WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever.

Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits....
Opencast mining ? great if at the bottom of your garden not mine . Jobs?
I wonder how many good paying jobs Merthyr has accrued from over seventy years of virtual continuous strip mining? how many people have suffered ill
health ? how many fetuses have been born deformed or aborted ? ask the people who live near this most destructive abortion of human activity what they think . Of course you would get a better idea if you visited the brown coal sites in eastern Europe or a trip to the USA were the people have really suffered from this obscenity.
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever. Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits....[/p][/quote]Opencast mining ? great if at the bottom of your garden not mine . Jobs? I wonder how many good paying jobs Merthyr has accrued from over seventy years of virtual continuous strip mining? how many people have suffered ill health ? how many fetuses have been born deformed or aborted ? ask the people who live near this most destructive abortion of human activity what they think . Of course you would get a better idea if you visited the brown coal sites in eastern Europe or a trip to the USA were the people have really suffered from this obscenity. coalpicker
  • Score: 1

5:07pm Thu 13 Feb 14

varteg1 says...

coalpicker wrote:
welshmen wrote:
WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever.

Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits....
Opencast mining ? great if at the bottom of your garden not mine . Jobs?
I wonder how many good paying jobs Merthyr has accrued from over seventy years of virtual continuous strip mining? how many people have suffered ill
health ? how many fetuses have been born deformed or aborted ? ask the people who live near this most destructive abortion of human activity what they think . Of course you would get a better idea if you visited the brown coal sites in eastern Europe or a trip to the USA were the people have really suffered from this obscenity.
You are talking of the old style opencast workings, I can take you to modern sites where there is immeasurable dust or other pollution problems, where the entrance to and the exit from the site is less messy than those at the junction of farm lands and the road.

But if you think opencasting is finished, think again, as coal, for all it's potential hazards is nowhere near terminated.

Yes, mining in most of it's forms is near a dead duck in Wales, due to it's present costs of extraction and difficulty to access, that is where deep mining is concerned, however there are vast area still to be tapped by opencast means, and as imports get more expensive, as they are gradually doing, the extraction of native wealth will supercede imports

Being involved in a recent application, and having had access to the full scientific and ecological and environmental data, I have absolutely no fears for my or anyone elses health and I live FIFTY metres from the proposed site.
Most of those who object to the proposal do not even live within the so called buffer zone set by the Assembly...500 metres.
They no sooner hear the term 'opencast' and up goes their hackles
I can understand a trained face worker objecting to opencast as such, after all he would not find the sort of work he was used to, but again most objectors have little if anything to do with mining, especially opencast, and react, usually irrationally, as soon as they hear the word.
[quote][p][bold]coalpicker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: WE have millions on the dole, opening opencast mining should be a start for this Countries Industries, training could be provided, there's Millions of tons of coal ready to be mined, we already have coal fired and gas fired power stations, we have one in Newport, it's emissions are to be considered closer to being Carbon Neutral, with that good outlook we should build more of these power stations with the prefix that no natural fuel is for ever. Use these fuels now while we invest in other greener power stations, our Construction industries would increase it's work force, thousands of trades out of work need these potential jobs, all it takes to change is the will to do it and a Government that actually cares about the blue collar workers of this Country, our country our workers, either work or lose your benefits....[/p][/quote]Opencast mining ? great if at the bottom of your garden not mine . Jobs? I wonder how many good paying jobs Merthyr has accrued from over seventy years of virtual continuous strip mining? how many people have suffered ill health ? how many fetuses have been born deformed or aborted ? ask the people who live near this most destructive abortion of human activity what they think . Of course you would get a better idea if you visited the brown coal sites in eastern Europe or a trip to the USA were the people have really suffered from this obscenity.[/p][/quote]You are talking of the old style opencast workings, I can take you to modern sites where there is immeasurable dust or other pollution problems, where the entrance to and the exit from the site is less messy than those at the junction of farm lands and the road. But if you think opencasting is finished, think again, as coal, for all it's potential hazards is nowhere near terminated. Yes, mining in most of it's forms is near a dead duck in Wales, due to it's present costs of extraction and difficulty to access, that is where deep mining is concerned, however there are vast area still to be tapped by opencast means, and as imports get more expensive, as they are gradually doing, the extraction of native wealth will supercede imports Being involved in a recent application, and having had access to the full scientific and ecological and environmental data, I have absolutely no fears for my or anyone elses health and I live FIFTY metres from the proposed site. Most of those who object to the proposal do not even live within the so called buffer zone set by the Assembly...500 metres. They no sooner hear the term 'opencast' and up goes their hackles I can understand a trained face worker objecting to opencast as such, after all he would not find the sort of work he was used to, but again most objectors have little if anything to do with mining, especially opencast, and react, usually irrationally, as soon as they hear the word. varteg1
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Thu 13 Feb 14

varteg1 says...

pwlldu wrote:
After all the pit closed and redundencies was paid, when most workers never worked after. Britain bought coal from, Germany and Poland. How was that cost affective
And worse......Australia
...12 thousand miles against Poland just some 500, Germany even less
[quote][p][bold]pwlldu[/bold] wrote: After all the pit closed and redundencies was paid, when most workers never worked after. Britain bought coal from, Germany and Poland. How was that cost affective[/p][/quote]And worse......Australia ...12 thousand miles against Poland just some 500, Germany even less varteg1
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Thu 13 Feb 14

coalpicker says...

I do appreciate where you live varteg 1, if you had lived there in the late fifties you would have a very different perspective, even the people who worked on the site considered the conditions to be atrocious ,incidentally my brother in law was the engineer for the operation which had moved from desecrating pllwdu and proceeded to change the landscape at Varteg which is a scandal
that can be clearly seen today, if you had seen it before it was raped. YOU have obviously never seen opencast workers leave a site, just as black as a miner because they have worked in dust all day not just coal dust but every sort of dust present on coal seams and overburden. from where I stand V1 you have no idea and no experience of the subject ,of course you could be the Doctor Goebbels of the entrepreneur who is intent on bringing the misery of opencast to the varteg and the eastern valley once again.
I do appreciate where you live varteg 1, if you had lived there in the late fifties you would have a very different perspective, even the people who worked on the site considered the conditions to be atrocious ,incidentally my brother in law was the engineer for the operation which had moved from desecrating pllwdu and proceeded to change the landscape at Varteg which is a scandal that can be clearly seen today, if you had seen it before it was raped. YOU have obviously never seen opencast workers leave a site, just as black as a miner because they have worked in dust all day not just coal dust but every sort of dust present on coal seams and overburden. from where I stand V1 you have no idea and no experience of the subject ,of course you could be the Doctor Goebbels of the entrepreneur who is intent on bringing the misery of opencast to the varteg and the eastern valley once again. coalpicker
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Fri 14 Feb 14

varteg1 says...

coalpicker wrote:
I do appreciate where you live varteg 1, if you had lived there in the late fifties you would have a very different perspective, even the people who worked on the site considered the conditions to be atrocious ,incidentally my brother in law was the engineer for the operation which had moved from desecrating pllwdu and proceeded to change the landscape at Varteg which is a scandal
that can be clearly seen today, if you had seen it before it was raped. YOU have obviously never seen opencast workers leave a site, just as black as a miner because they have worked in dust all day not just coal dust but every sort of dust present on coal seams and overburden. from where I stand V1 you have no idea and no experience of the subject ,of course you could be the Doctor Goebbels of the entrepreneur who is intent on bringing the misery of opencast to the varteg and the eastern valley once again.
I have no argument with you on the matter of historical features of opencast, but as I stated, I can present you with a thoroughly modern aspect where men are able to go to work fully in the knowledge they could turn to in a Sunday suit and leave with clean hands at the end of the day.

Their machines all com[ply with 'elf 'n' safety regulations that are so severe, it bears no relationship to the working environment of yesteryear.

Those same health and safety rules ensure similar strictures apply to the environment surrounding the operation sites Gone are the days of cowboy operators, firms who opencast today are too aware of the massive penalties they face should they fail to ensure safety all around
It seems once again the general public are not being made aware of the difference between today and only a decor so past. in the matter of opencast operations and the governing regulations applied to them..
[quote][p][bold]coalpicker[/bold] wrote: I do appreciate where you live varteg 1, if you had lived there in the late fifties you would have a very different perspective, even the people who worked on the site considered the conditions to be atrocious ,incidentally my brother in law was the engineer for the operation which had moved from desecrating pllwdu and proceeded to change the landscape at Varteg which is a scandal that can be clearly seen today, if you had seen it before it was raped. YOU have obviously never seen opencast workers leave a site, just as black as a miner because they have worked in dust all day not just coal dust but every sort of dust present on coal seams and overburden. from where I stand V1 you have no idea and no experience of the subject ,of course you could be the Doctor Goebbels of the entrepreneur who is intent on bringing the misery of opencast to the varteg and the eastern valley once again.[/p][/quote]I have no argument with you on the matter of historical features of opencast, but as I stated, I can present you with a thoroughly modern aspect where men are able to go to work fully in the knowledge they could turn to in a Sunday suit and leave with clean hands at the end of the day. Their machines all com[ply with 'elf 'n' safety regulations that are so severe, it bears no relationship to the working environment of yesteryear. Those same health and safety rules ensure similar strictures apply to the environment surrounding the operation sites Gone are the days of cowboy operators, firms who opencast today are too aware of the massive penalties they face should they fail to ensure safety all around It seems once again the general public are not being made aware of the difference between today and only a decor so past. in the matter of opencast operations and the governing regulations applied to them.. varteg1
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree