Pit and pendulum

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Having been brought up in a mining village in the West Central coalfields, I observed the miner’s strike, which ended 30 years ago, with a mixture of grief and apprehension.

By then a parish minister in Broughty Ferry, the wealthy seaside-suburb of Dundee, I was a world away from the pitheads as the infamous Arthur Scargill led the miners into a trap.

I met the Scottish union leader Mick McGahey through my ex-miner father and recalled his love of poetry as well as his pragmatism in the face of the rapidly changing world of coal. As the strike progressed, Mr Scargill become increasingly separated from the men he was leading, and the appalling internecine ­violence was against everything for which Mick McGahey stood.

He wanted to follow the German example of planned closures but in the wasteland created by Mr Scargill many pits had permanently lost their customers and never reopened.

In fact history was running against the miners with Harold Wilson closing twice as many pits as Margaret Thatcher and soon global-warmists were campaigning to close the rest.

(Rev Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place,

St Andrews, Fife

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