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Government Refuse To Apologise To Former Miners

Monday February 3 2014

Photo by Lynne Chapman Photo by Lynne Chapman

THE government has refused to apologise to ex-miners after cabinet papers from 1984 revealed that Margaret Thatcher’s government did have a hit list of pits for closure.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said there will be no apology for the treatment of mining communities during the 1984/5 miners' strike - because it was held without a proper national ballot.

Those campaigning for reconciliation and transparency will have to wait to see any papers from the time of the strike until they're released under the 30-year rule.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher, who had demanded an apology from ministers, said: "The objective was the destruction of an entire industry and the proud mining communities that sustained it.

"It's clear that the government took a deliberately calculated political approach, guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities.

"What they did was one of the most shameful moments in our nation's history. 

"That's why I'm calling for justice for the coalfields."

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Reply Posted by Anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 12:40
Geez that was 30 years ago, get over it! It's no wonder the people of Barnsley can't move forward and make the town a great place to be in :/

Reply Posted by Dis-respect. on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:22
Get over it?!

People lost their lives
Relationships and familys were left in ruin
Families were left with nothing..
Houses were lost leaving people homeless.

And get over it you say?

Reply Posted by rainbow on Monday February 3 2014 at 12:50
Michael Dugher is just a publicity seeker, if he spent more time trying to bring some jobs to Barnsley instead of going to places like the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a guest of Ladbrokes and quaffing his way through over a £1000 worth of free booze and snap he would be better thought of.!!!!

Reply Posted by Dan on Monday February 3 2014 at 12:57
'Anon' by the use of the word 'geez' you clearly are more interested in the land of our transatlantic cousins than your home town. There were many mines in Barnsley up until the 1980's, today there are none, if you take away the main industry from any place it will fall to it's knees and struggle to recover for years - Barnsley is the place it is today because of the closure of the pits, make no mistake about that. It will take years and years to recover, it may never recover due to the current climate. I'll always fight for the miners, I know how I affected my family and how it affects me today. People like you with no respect for what the people of Barnsley had to go through disgust me.

Reply Posted by Lenin on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:15
Labour shut more pits than Lady Thatcher.

Reply Posted by Not a Lady. on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:19
I don't think you should refer to a "Lady".

She is far from a lady.

Reply Posted by Fred on Monday February 3 2014 at 19:53
Correct Lenin.

Reply Posted by Raymond on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:18
Well said Dan and so true.

Reply Posted by Anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:23
Dan it's more to do with the typical blame culture the Labour politicians bring to the table rather than fixing anything. 30 years is long enough to lick wounds clean and move forwards with a positive outlook. It's better to do that than keep looking back in anger, which is what Dugher is cheaply doing just to try to score points with his constituents.

Reply Posted by Nikki on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:29
And of course, the humble Arthur Scargill who has spent a life of privilege, expenses, second homes etc at his members expense, is hardly covered in glory....how Mr Scargill led the Miners to their demise is rather the shameful moment in our history.

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 07:06
So if someone insults your partner you stand there and do nothing?
If someone shoots your dog in cold blood do you do nothing?
If a tea leaf burgles your elderly parents house but you find out who has done it you do nothing?

Think about it.....

Reply Posted by @ Dan on Monday February 3 2014 at 13:51
@ Dan, please tell me what Labour MPs and Councillors did since the pit closures to bring thriving business to Barnsley during the past 30 years? After all they've been at the helm in Barnsley all these years. Michael Dugher demands an apology? Maybe if he took his snout out the trough and brought something positive rather than harping on about old news, then maybe Barnsley might start seeing the light! But as long as him and his fools have a seat, then it'll be the same old story!

Reply Posted by anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:05
Instaed of picking holes in the council,why not have a few viable suggestions on here? Suggestions on a postcard please.

Reply Posted by .... on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:06
Change the record Dicky ffs.

Reply Posted by anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:16
@... Dicky?

Reply Posted by Fred on Monday February 3 2014 at 19:56
Ignore .... anon, he/she has lost his/her marbles.

Reply Posted by anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:08
My Dad was former miner.
The miners strike had a huge impact on everyone. I was 3-4 years old at the time and i can still remember going to visit my Dad in hospital after he suffered a nervous breakdown as a direct result of the strike. He was a broken man, his pride was shattered. He was so scared that he would not be able to provide for his family after the pits shut and scared he would not find another job that we moved down South as that's where the work was. He never ever got over the strike and never got over that breakdown. We never went without and he always did his best by us but always felt a failure. He suffered with severe depression for a long time and ended up committing suicide. So no, we cant just 'get over it'. Many men and their families found themselves in a similar situation to my Dad and our family. So yes we do deserve a bloody apology, its long overdue. They lied to us then and now they wont say sorry? Its a disgrace. And what about Barnsley and surrounding areas now? Once thriving mining communities are reduced to NOTHING, no decent jobs, no community spirit, people on drugs everywhere you look. Its such a shame. So thanks again Tories for nothing

Reply Posted by Anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:13
No money, no jobs, but they can afford to be in drugs?? What an odd way of prioritising their lives. Only got themselves to blame and the choices on where they put the X on voting day all these years later.

Reply Posted by sid on Monday February 3 2014 at 14:14
@anon, thats heart wrenching. An apology would be useless,false and hypocritical. I do believe also that it would be regarded with contempt from all concerned, so in my mind an apology now would be a hollow victory. Keep our pride I say and sod them.

Reply Posted by Pit street pony on Monday February 3 2014 at 16:04
I remember being head cook at the soup kitchen at Houghton main ... Said times but we all stuck together ... I'll never forget those cold nights by the brazier

Reply Posted by anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 16:55
yes, its very sad isn't it? My Dad has missed out on so much, especially his Grandchildren who he would have adored and another on the way courtesy of my brother and his girlfriend

Reply Posted by dave on Monday February 3 2014 at 18:03
The pits where always going to close at some point, Scargill just speed up process.

Reply Posted by Me on Monday February 3 2014 at 18:27
Some people just carnt move on it's been 30 years I was 15 at the time we had nothing both my parents moved on .They got on with there lives and so did I and my sisters .too much time has passed think to the future not the past .some people will never move on that is y they will keep voting labour

Reply Posted by anon on Monday February 3 2014 at 21:33
@fred, what did ....'s comment say? It must have been deleted cos its not on here

Reply Posted by kilkenny on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 09:07
The last time I saw Arthur Scargill was on the TV. He was fighting to keep his 'grace and favour' apartment in the Barbican. I don't think you would get much change from £500 per week for a one bedroom flat in there. I know rental rates in London as I live there. He wants to give up. Just how many times a year does he go to London on NUM business? A joke.

Reply Posted by Lynz on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 09:14
If you were able to get over what happened all those years ago then personally good on you. However I can't, and it's not for the fact I continually live in the past it's down to the fact that people even still to this day struggle after what happened all those years ago. My dad, grandad, uncles were all part of the mining industry and they all pretty much lost their jobs at the same time, what devastating effects that had on a family! as I'm sure many out their would agree. My parents did anything and everything to get out of the situation they were in, they were hard working and tried their best but as we all know it was bloody difficult. I've turned out to e a hard working woman brought up by hard working parents so I won't have anyone say that they should get over it and they needed to try harder! It was devastating to a lot of families!!!

Reply Posted by ?? on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 09:46
My family was affected very badly by the mines shutting but my dad always said scargill told em they the government had a list of pits they wa going to shut. Look in to why labour closed pits but they didn't do it for the same reasons as thatcher. You will struggle to get new business coming to this area and many areas like they would rather go to city's. You need company's what will offer stability but uve to get em ere first

Reply Posted by andy on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 09:54
my dad is now dying from coal related disese. shut the lots of them , good riddance to the pits.

Reply Posted by anon on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 10:10
Its all well and good going on about who to vote for when it comes down to politics.And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that the Tories never have and never will give a crap about us northerners. When we lived down south a local tory mp asked my Mum where we were from. When she proudly said Barnsley, he replied 'i thought everyone North of Watford lived in holes under the ground!'

Reply Posted by M day on Tuesday February 4 2014 at 10:10
Those who deny the past will never understand the future. Its the system thats the problem and thoughs who seek to tie us to it. There can be no future under capitalism, this crisis is systemic and therefore canot be resolved. a new perspective as to be fought for and won by the working class. The future is social devastation, economic crisis, and wars, and more social in equality. and i was a miner on strike the entire 12 month in 1984-85.

Reply Posted by Kevin on Wednesday February 5 2014 at 15:38
It's a disgrace what Margaret Thatcher did to our industry and our town, the only thing worse was what Arthur Scargill did to us. He didn't help for him it was about power and control, just as it was for Margaret Thatcher. She was smarter and harder. Arthur betrayed us and still got to keep his lifestyle and privileges, His London flat, his cars, his house in Barnsley.

Reply Posted by AlanB on Wednesday February 5 2014 at 17:06
The mines had to close, the demand for UK coal was falling as coal could be imported from eastern Europe for half the price. Consequently, the uk coal industry was losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year and that could not be allowed to continue.

The real mistake was that government and Barnsley Council were very slow to react and provide other work for the people who had been displaced from the mining industry. I am still not sure that Sir Steve and his colleagues, even today, understand that our town needs a strong private sector in order for the town to prosper. The industrial development department (or whatever it is called these days) at the council seems to operate 'in second gear' and over the last thirty years there has been very little commercial development here compared to other town and cities across the country. What are the council playing at?

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Friday February 7 2014 at 09:25
AlanB, we often lock horns here on wab but I agree with your post.
I wouldn't necessarily say that the pits had to close, more like it was only a matter of time before they did close.

You are also right about the idiotic Labour council being short sighted, there are vast swathes of former mining industry land which are ripe for development.
We also have Dugher bleating on about how Labour were responsible for attracting Asos into the town and providing much needed jobs for local people.
That last sentence just shows how out of touch our Labour mp's and councillors are does it not?

Reply Posted by Richard on Thursday February 6 2014 at 23:39
My multiple personalities are even confusing me now, I don't know who I Am anymore.

Reply Posted by Kilkenny on Thursday February 6 2014 at 23:50
Not to worry Richard@ I Have never understood your post anywhere!!