"Labour leader Kinnock would have become prime minister"

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"Labour leader Kinnock would have become prime minister"

If only he had backed the strikers.

We agreed deal with Thatcher government - Scargill


But today the leftwing former miner, still honorary president of the NUM, has for the first time written his own account of the strike he led against the Thatcher government in an exclusive article for the Guardian. In it Scargill rejects claims that he refused to hold a national ballot, defends his decision to concentrate mass picketing on the Orgreave coking plant in Yorkshire where the strike's most violent confrontation took place in June 1984, and accuses his critics, including Kinnock, of criticising his tactics to "cover up their own guilt" over failing to give the miners the support that would have "changed the political direction of the nation".

The 1984-5 strike, called in an attempt to halt pit closures and the rundown of the industry at a time when there were more than 180,000 miners working in 170 collieries, was the most important industrial dispute in Britain since the General Strike of 1926. The dispute centred around often violent picket line confrontations between politice and miners. It was called off in March 1985 without a settlement and by 1994, only 8,000 miners were left at 16 collieries.

Responding to the claim the strike was anti-democratic because the NUM was trying to bring down an elected government, Scargill writes that the government "declared war on the miners" and compared their strike with an earlier miners' national strike which paved the way for the Heath government's defeat in a general election in 1974.


N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

So Kinnock was a social democratic leader who didn't support working people in a key struggle. Imagine that. That would never happen here.

[/end dripping sarcasm]


While we are at funnies, the thread title is a howler. 

Which comes from the article:

[Scargill] reveals in the Guardian that a negotiated settlement was actually agreed by the Thatcher government - and further argues that Neil Kinnock would have become prime minister if as Labour leader he had thrown his weight behind the miners.


Scargill writes that the government "declared war on the miners" and compared their strike with an earlier miners' national strike which paved the way for the Heath government's defeat in a general election in 1974.

"If Thatcher had lost," he told the Guardian yesterday, "the Tories would have dumped her as they did in 1990. Kinnock didn't see what Wilson did and even Foot did in 1981. If he had supported the strike openly and called on other workers to support it, I believe Thatcher would have fallen and Kinnock would have become prime minister."

Convenient and unsurprising that Scargill sees his delusions as fact.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

...where you see delusion, others see possibility.


I think it's unlikely that Scargill and the NUM really could have won, as opposed to finding a more graceful and humane way of losing. There were a bunch of good reasons why Britain didn't need 180,000 coal miners anymore, most of which would have existed Thatcher or no Thatcher.


I'm not saying there weren't possibilities in Kinnock taking a more active role. But one of them sure as hell wasn't Thatcher losing and Kinnock becoming PM. that isn't really even delusional, its just Scargills pro form statement thats a vain attempt to rationalize his political position.

I agree that its possible the miners could have got screwed less. But part of making that possible would have been to leave Scargill there hoplessly demanding everything, and Labour pushing some kind of middle ground solution.

Scargill is arguing that if they  had stood their ground with Kinnocks help, they would have won and Kinnock would be PM. Bollocks.

And I don't know if some middle ground solution was possible. Its a long time ago, but I don't think any of the players were ready for that. My guess is that the only real choices for Kinnock were to stand with Sccargill, and go down with him, or the choice he made to duck.