Miners' strike badge, 1984-85

Miners’ strike badge, 1984-85

On Wednesday April 17 the British government will give Margaret Thatcher a ceremonial funeral with full military honours. Her supporters say the honours are fully earned. Her opponents think differently.
Her supporters are shocked that there is not more love and compassion for their heroine. But they underestimate the capacity of the ordinary man and woman, particularly those of the North East of England, to bear a grudge.
Back during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85, I was told a story by two Durham mineworkers’ leaders.
The strike was not going well. The money had run out and yet, in one County Durham miners’ club, a table of elderly men were throwing back the beers as if the strike wasn’t happening.
No one else could afford to get drunk so the barman was asked why.
“Ah well,” he said. “They’ve just heard the last scab from ’26 has died.”
Fifty-eight years on.
It’s that capacity for remembering that came to the fore this past week.