I was six years old during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985. Twenty five years later the resentment and hostility still runs deeply within many local Yorkshire communities, particularly those who were directly involved in what was effectively civil war. No doubt the viscous life-blood of such emotions will remain undiluated by the passing of time: first hand stories and memories surrounding the savage repression and brutality exercised by the police; of families torn apart (during and after the Strikes); and the political failure to meaningfully rehabilitate these post-mining communities, will ensure that those who cried “Coal, not Dole!’ will be never be fogotten.
The warm spirit and resolve of the community(s) there shone through despite a socio-economic canvas still steeped in poverty and deprivation: a common fate clearly shared by many ex-mining villages across the UK.
Inevitably, there has been a great deal of commentary and reflection (and much of it worth reading ) in the British press about the political & economic impact of the strikes – but I want to draw attention to Miners strike: It was like a civil war” published in the Times. The author goes back to my town of birth, Pontefract, to revisit the enduring legacy 0f the strikes.
Finally, with respect to the iconic Don McPhee photograph (above) the Guardian asked the question, “What happened to the two protagonists?” the answer is found here: The miner and the copper.