Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guest Post: The miners were Shafted

Thanks go to the most excellent Matthew Caygill, who attended a book launch remembering the miners strike, for this guest post.

I was lucky enough to go to the book launch for ‘Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike & the Aftermath’ in Leeds last week and it was a marvellous occasion. People were being turned away. About 100 of us, mostly there by word-of-mouth or email, crammed into a too small and too hot room to remember the 25th anniversary of the miner’s strike. Can it really be 25 years? There was at least one contribution from someone not born at the time and Chris Kitching, who was on the picket lines at 17, is now Secretary of the NUM.

We listened to some Roy Bailey songs and heard Anne Scargill from Women Against Pit Closures talk about some of her experiences from the strike. It was a warmly human and moving event, with stories about some of the good and even funny moments in a hard year, even if the anger at the treatment that the miners got during the strike from the state and from the media was still pretty hot.

The book is fantastic – it looks good, feels good and will do you good. The event was put on by Granville Williams from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and they deserve support as well. They have a web-site here.

There was a strong connection with the present. The woman in the famous photograph from Orgreave, showing the mounted police taking a swing at her head, was there and spoke about what is going on now. One of the contributors to the book is Pete Lazenby from the NUJ. I warmly remember Pete addressing ANL meetings in the late 1970s and his journalism in the miners strike is clearly remembered by miners and activists today. Anne Scargill said it was only his involvement that got her involved. And Pete is key to the current round of NUJ strikes against major redundancies at the Evening Post in Leeds. You can find out about this strike and much else via the NUJ Left. Pete had a blistering letter in The Guardian on Thursday, replying to the craven and stupid lies and distortions made by that paper in its editorial the previous Saturday. Check it out here.

And track ‘Shafted’ down – it really is a very good book.

1 comment:

ModernityBlog said...

excellent post, thanks for that, just read Pete Lazenby's article and it reminded me why I no longer read the Guadrian.