A silver anniversary, of sorts

March 28, 2008 at 9:03 am | Posted in British Politics, Working Class Britain | Leave a comment
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25 years ago today, Ian MacGregor was named chairman of the National Coal Board.

I’m sure I would’ve felt differently had I been an adult 25 years ago, but with hindsight you could hardly fault the man for being good at his job. In decimating the mining population, MacGregor was only responsible for ruthlessly executing the will of Thatcher’s government. He wasn’t responsible for the picket line brutality of the police, the vilification of striking miners or the savaging of union rights. Nor was he responsible for the most heinous act of all: the failure to provide redundant miners with any adjustment programmes or job training schemes to help these overwhelmingly unskilled, manual workers learn the skills they’d need to find themselves another job.

The ultimate blame for these acts of governmental negligence and malevolence lies with Thatcher and her government, and shouldn’t extend too far beyond that.

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