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Poll: What's your view of Arthur Scargill
Hero
Villain
Why should I care I'm loaded?
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Arthur Scargill
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Toffeejim


Posts: 84
Joined: Nov 2004
Post: #1
11-01-2008 12:08 AM

Arthur Scargill, sometime leader of the National Union of Mineworkers and founder of the Socialist Labour Party, turns seventy today. Some of the older readers of this site may even remember him.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
11-01-2008 02:08 PM

I knew them when I worked at the NUM. He was all three.

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michael


Posts: 3,220
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
11-01-2008 02:16 PM

He might have been a hero if he had won. But he lost, and caused plenty of problems for miners and non-miners in the process. I judge people by results not by rhetoric.

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #4
11-01-2008 02:17 PM

That's a bit harsh on such British greats as Eddie the Eagle

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #5
11-01-2008 10:43 PM

Perhaps a better debate/vote was who stuffed the country more - Thatcher with her 'it is good to be greedy, rich and selfish', sqaundering the crown jewells (North Sea oil and gas) and running her party like a dictatorship or Scargill with his 'it is good to have universal sufferage and misery and running his union like a dictatorship', squandering the trade union movement (some of the younger readers will not know what Britain was like pre-First war I).

Diametrically opposed yet very similar in a lot of ways. Whoever won a pretty much lose lose situation really.

BD - I never knew he/she had it in him/her

PS Of course Mrs T was a neighbour of mine once

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #6
16-01-2008 11:42 PM

What is wrong with you people, too intersted in recommendations for tradespeople that you can't be bothered to join in a debate?

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #7
17-01-2008 07:38 AM

If I remember correctly the miners strike was not about pay but jobs. Sure he had his own agenda but he was proved right and the mines have gone.

I think the Thatcher years brought the best and absolute worst in people and where we started to lose any sense of community.

If you want to get a feel for how the workers lot was like pre trade union try reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.

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robwinton


Posts: 335
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #8
17-01-2008 09:46 AM

baggydave Wrote:
What is wrong with you people, too intersted in recommendations for tradespeople that you can't be bothered to join in a debate?


but it is all related baggy

the point is that the miner's strike occurred at a time when we the UK was transitioning to a service economy driven by the middle class, and where we stopped wanting to get our hands dirty and instead outsourced that to others around the world where it was cheaper and out of sight.

Now we have the situation where we are no longer able to fix floors, taps or bulbs ourselves and have to hire in the skills but we are well enough off to be able to afford this. Unfortunately we have gone so far down this road there aren't enough skilled people around and we have to spend our time searching for them on forums like this.

Thus searching for trades(wo)men is a continuation of your debate.

Having said that, I was too young to really get involved in those debates at the time (weren't you?), so it may be my own middle class view of history - I know that theme appears regularly in your comments here

... and continuing with that point of view, I have never understood those who call for strikes in the face of cost-cutting job losses. What madness is it to exacerbate the losses of your business/industry/country? You simply encourage them to speed the process of finding alternatives to your labour and make it more likely people will be laid off.

Oh dear, my white collar is getting rather smudged. Must lie down.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #9
17-01-2008 10:00 AM

It's interesting that planning applications are appearing to build coal-fired power stations again, now that oil is ridiculously expensive. Closing all those mines may have been 'economically efficient' at the time, but it was short-termism and vinidictiveness on a grand scale, and our reliance now on evil Middle Eastern dicatorships and a Russian proto-dictator for a large part of our energy supplies is now illustrating that short-termism clearly. On a personal note, South Wales has still not remotely recovered from the closure of those mines 20 years ago, and many of the valleys have enormous levels of unemployment and gigantic problems with, particularly, heroine addiction. If Thatcher had showed the same free-market devotion to the removal of subsidies to the farmers as she did to the mines, I might have had sympathy with her position.

Having said that, Scargill's firebrand unionsm had no sympathy with the majority of the public at the time, post winter-of-disconent an' all that, and notions of PR and a 'media presence' were just getting into full swing - which he didn't have a clue about - and he played right into Thatcher's hands.

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #10
17-01-2008 10:47 AM

He was comprehensively outmanouevred and was a significant factor in the demise of the industry.

The connection that Rob has suggested is very interesting but I agree more with Nevermodern in that this was not a necessary, inevitable or planned part of a transition to a service economy but essentially motivated by spite. It certainly appeared that the scabs in the Midlands kept their jobs much longer.

I wonder what they will do with Thatcher's corpse when she finally pushes off, as it will be a bit like Jim Morrison, only it will be a constant queue of people lining up to dance and / or, erm, micturate on it.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #11
18-01-2008 10:31 PM

Jolly gosh HTG, rather vindictive. My favourite Thatcher memory is the protest song that went to the tune of Led Zeps rock and roll "been a long time since I was on the dole" and they changed into Maggie Maggie Maggie (out out out)" and lots of good memories of spitting image, including a sketch of a fly she was training, well to do what flies to (in this case on Scargill's sandwich, after which she said that he be eating plenty more of that. She opened the curtains to "Maggie Maggie Maggie" and said to Dennis, "ah the dawn corus". And finally the last episode of the second series was one long episode, where it finished with the real and good Thatcher, replacing the evil robot Thatcher and the world becoming a most wonderful place (an episode of Family Guy, based loosely on Back to the future, had the dad coming back to a wonderful world after he had messed with 1984, and in the new future Al Gore was president).

Not that anyone is probably bothered with these stories. And I did not even mention the vegetables sketch.

Back to the point in question. Surprisingly, despite all indications, I am old enough to remember the three day week and the 1974 strike. The reason we can't get trades men and women (thank you for correcting me) is surely more to do with the mid 90s recession, which was probably as much due to Major as Thatcher, off the back of you have never had it so good, go mortgage yourself to your eyeballs as property will never go down in price, and spend all your virtual wealth on expensive consumer products made in the far East as it is good to be greedy. Whoops, please take the keys of me building society as I cannot afford the repayments. Builders went bust as there was no work. A generation of handymen and women died out and there was no one to replace them as there was no guarantee of work. At the same time we had an IT explosion. Don't think this was directly linked to the miners' strike.

Should the silly sausage have had a vote, and bought Notts out with him, then perhaps the story would have been different.

And as for power, the case was based on coal and nuclear in the 80s, oil had been too expensive for generation since the early 70s. Mrs T was a great supporter of nuclear as this had helped to defeat the minors, in 87 was going to build one new PWR a year, but then found out is was easier to burn our crown jewells (North Sea Gas) instead. Major continued with the market argument, and that is where we are today with no energy policy and now playing catch up with nuclear 20 years later.

Oh and we aren't dependent on the Russians, apart from the impact they have on gas and oil prices. We are connected to Norway and they have shed loads of gas and oil, and we have the refineries and pipelines

BD - informing the nation

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #12
19-01-2008 10:28 AM

Well, the price of world oil is hardly down to the Norwegians.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #13
19-01-2008 10:41 AM

Shall I use 'us' to include the world in general, and dependent to include 'indirectly' and say that it's not good for us to be dependent on middle eastern dictators and Russian proto-dictators for our energy supply?

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #14
19-01-2008 09:57 PM

Isn't it likely though that even without Thatcher and even with a Labour government, the mines would have been closed and with the same amount of vitriol and discontent? The fact is that we needed at some point to shift the focus onto less expensive and more sustainable production of energy.

And BD when you say playing catch up with nuclear, are you definitely advocating increasing nuclear capability for energy production. It is cleaner in one way but more costly and environmentally damaging in others,as welll of course with a significant element of risk, not least a target for terrorist threats.

Bio fuels and hydrogen power are also increasingly available, and present what some would say the best alternative to nuclear power.

I did think Russia supplied cheaper gas than Norway, hence our dependency on them, however I will do some more research on this before I say more.!

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #15
20-01-2008 12:43 AM

We shunned difficult decisions on nuclear for 20 years so we could waste a lot of our gas on producing electricity.

Oil prices depend on anxiety over the middle East (Israel, palestine etc), OPEC, anxiety over Russia, anxiety over the weather, anxiety over the developing countries (Brazil, China and India in particular), cold winters in the US (rely a lot on oil for heating), huricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, Iran and Iraq, corrosion and old infrastructure, terrorism, market speculation, lack of refining capacity, inelastic demand, and the wrong type of oil (heavy sour rather than light and sweet). We were well insulated from this until ours started to run out. All pretty bad at present.

Loads of gas and the UK is oh so well supplied, but wrongly linked to the price of oil.

BD - yes he does know shed loads about oil and gas markets.

PS where is TJ, he started this but has chickened out of a good debate


PPS no doubt many mines would have gone, but not with the rapid destruction of mining communties seen under Mrs T

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