In 1984 the British National Coal Board announced a reduction in coal output that amounted to the loss of twenty pits and 20,000 jobs, which led to the neutering of the power of the Trade Unions’ power to use defensive force to protect the livelihoods of working men, whose communities, from Cymru to Bernicia, were decimated by the genocidal acts of Margaret Thatcher and her majesty’s constabulary.
The National Union of Mineworkers saw this for what it was and called its members out on strike. Twenty years on, this profoundly revealing Channel 4 documentary, Coal Not Dole, tells of that bitter dispute, told through the memories of the people who committed everything they had to defend their communities when they were being attacked by the tyrannical state.
The fact that they did not succeed in their collective struggle to overcome the controlled demolition of Britain’s nationalised industries, which had provided working class men with so-called “jobs-for-life” since the beginning of the industrial revolution, is incapable of negating the inspirational nature of the courage, determination and resistance shown by the men and women who stood together for what they knew was worth fighting to protect.
Moreover, had the state-controlled media backed the miners and their families, instead of Thatcher and the police, perhaps those complacent people who agreed with the implanted meme that the miners were “the-enemy-within” would not have been so swift to support the destruction of the lives of their fellows.
Lest we forget – those who do not lean from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.