Durham Miners Gala - Thatcher coffin
Meditation and Reflection

"Thatcher Rest In Hell" – Durham Miners' Gala rejoice over Thatcher effigy in coffin

 

“The Durham Miners’ Association has been shocked and saddened at the news last week of the death of three stalwarts of the socialist and labour movement,” wrote the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala in March 2014, in what must indeed have been ‘A Sad Week for Socialists‘. And the tributes poured forth, respectfully and compassionately, as befits the bereaved, now parted from their loved ones, distressed in their grief. “A colossal loss for the working people of Britain,” they wrote of Bob Crow. “He will be remembered above all as a fine human being,” they said of Tony Benn. “We have lost a dear comrade who is irreplaceable,” they wrote about Stan Pearce, a miner who “started work at the age of 14 at the Glebe Colliery Washington in 1946”. And so the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala declared their fellow-feeling: “Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the family, friends and comrades of all of these three remarkable men.”

Yesterday the Durham Miners’ Gala held their annual parade, just as they have done every August since 1871, when, according to Dave Temple’s history of the event:

Methodism with all its splits and factions was the established religion of the pit communities. Almost every pit village of any size had at least two chapels, usually Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist, dividing the village ideologically – Wesleyan for the master’s men, Primitive for the Union.

While the Church of England claimed God for the monarchy, the state and capital, the Durham Primitives claimed God for the working class, the co-operative store and the Union. Organised in circuits of travelling lay preachers, these men were regarded as dangerous fundamentalists and thoroughly subversive.

Abstaining from strong drink, dedicated to education and self-improvement, and frowning on marriage outside their own Primitive sect, these ‘religious extremists’ never accounted for more than 15 per cent of the community. However, they were respected as honest, decent men and were hugely influential.

Alas, the respected, honest and decent miners of Durham long ago rejected the subversion of Methodism. Yesterday, they paraded an effigy of Margaret Thatcher in a coffin, with “Rest In Hell” emblazoned on the side. She was herself brought up a Methodist: she understood the fundamentalism of a faith founded on discipline and self-control, and sought to instil Christian values in the nation and inculcate a sense of economic morality. Few Church leaders agreed with her mission, but many believers did.

It is a disturbing level of hate which wishes upon anyone an eternity of torment and suffering, but the Left seem to be disposed to it. As The Lady lay ill in hospital with a serious bout of flu, Labour’s Cllr Florence Anderson, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, wrote on her Facebook page: “Haha, I hope she BURNS IN HELL.” She added: “I’ll dance on Thatcher’s grave, even if she is buried at sea.”

The hateful Left rejoiced at her passing, raised their pint glasses to “The Bitch is dead”, and dreamed of dancing on her grave. You can’t quite imagine the Right parading a coffin of Harold Wilson through the streets, wishing him an eternity of gnashing of teeth. You can’t imagine the Right waiting eagerly for Arthur Scargill’s funeral, deliriously spitting on his coffin and looking forward to the day they could flush his ashes into the stinking sewers beneath Congress House.

It is quite easy to say that you hope someone might ‘Rest in Hell’ as a hyperbolic corollary of the intense loathing or hatred you might feel for that person. But Hell is a frightful place of eternal torment and unending suffering, where the flame consumes, thirst is forever unquenched and the teeth gnash and gnaw as the soul writhes in agony.

It might come as disappointment to the Durham Miners’ Gala as much as to Cllr Florence Anderson, but Margaret Thatcher is not burning Hell. She was, and had been since her childhood, a committed Christian.

Her Christianity was grounded in the Protestant Nonconformity of devout and evangelical Methodism: her conservatism was Tory in its Burkean deference to the great institutions of state but thoroughly Whiggish and libertarian after Mill in its iconoclastic challenge to the big agencies of state; in her emphasis on the ‘work ethic’ kind of Protestantism, and her patriotic belief in the national British Christian spirit and her notion of morality as the opportunity for free choice. She had what some identified as a ‘puritan streak’, espousing the values of the English suburban and provincial middle-class and aspiring skilled working-class. These contrasted with the values of the establishment élite of the Church of England, landowners, university academics, the Foreign Office and the professions.

Her writings and speeches are unequivocal in the provenance of her theo-political worldview. In Statecraft, she wrote: “I believe in what are often referred to as ‘Judaeo-Christian’ values: indeed my whole political philosophy is based on them.” In the second volume The Path to Power she went further: “Although I have always resisted the argument that a Christian has to be a Conservative, I have never lost my conviction that there is a deep and providential harmony between the kind of political economy I favour and the insights of Christianity.”

But a speech she made at the zenith of her power is perhaps the most illuminating of all her statements with regard to her theology, and it is worth looking at it in some detail because she began it by saying that she spoke “personally as a Christian, as well as a politician”.

In a speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1988 – the ‘Sermon on the Mound’ – Margaret Thatcher outlined what she identified as the “distinctive marks of Christianity” which “stem not from the social but from the spiritual side of our lives”. And perhaps in a swipe at those ‘meddlesome priests’ who were critical of some of her policies throughout the 1980s, she declared that “we must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behaviour; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ”.

In this speech, Margaret Thatcher was unwavering in her interpretation of Scripture which gives “a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life”: of how the theological ‘is’ translates into the political ‘ought’; how Christianity remains relevant to public policy. And so she emphasises the traditional conservative view of the family which is “at the heart of our society and the very nursery of civic virtue. And it is on the family that we in government build our own policies for welfare, education and care”. And with an appeal to the Apostle Paul, she reminded her audience that “anyone who neglects to provide for his own house (family) has disowned the faith and is ‘worse than an infidel'”. Yet she was not deluded by the biblical ideal, recognising that “modern society is infinitely more complex’ and that ‘new occasions teach new duties”. But some things are sacrosanct:

I believe strongly that politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum. In Scotland, as in England, there is an historic connection expressed in our laws between Church and State. The two connections are of a somewhat different kind, but the arrangements in both countries are designed to give symbolic expression to the same crucial truth: that the Christian religion – which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism – is a fundamental part of our national heritage. And I believe it is the wish of the overwhelming majority of people that this heritage should be preserved and fostered. For centuries it has been our very life blood. And indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible.

To dispel any notion that Margaret Thatcher was simply exploiting the Faith for electoral purposes, it is possible to trace this golden thread of Christianity in speeches she made prior even to becoming Leader of the Opposition: there is a distinct and consistent Nonconformist leitmotif running through all of her political writings. Her government essentially constituted an applied theology; it was, she said, “engaged in the massive task of restoring confidence and stability to our people” because “unless the spirit of the nation which has hitherto sustained us is renewed, our national life will perish”. She reintroduced into British politics a missionary mood that reflected her provincial and Methodist origins. And the ‘spirit’ of which she spoke was unequivocally and uncompromisingly Christian. She said: “I find it difficult to imagine that anything other than Christianity is likely to resupply most people in the West with the virtues necessary to remoralise society in the very practical ways which the solution of many present problems require.” Of which theologian Graeme Smith observed:

Thatcher comes as close as she can to identifying Christianity and Conservatism. One can speculate that for Thatcher any distinction between Christianity and Conservatism is a technical theological distinction, and that the values and principles associated with the two sets of beliefs were normally, temporally, indistinguishable. She comes very close to this position in her volume Statecraft when she argues that certain cultures are “more conducive to free-enterprise capitalism and thus to economic progress than others”. She had in mind the “Judaeo-Christian tradition” as opposed to what she calls the “great Asian religious traditions” and the “religious traditions of Africa”. It is not necessary to agree with this analysis – and there are many problems with it – to recognize that for Thatcher a spiritual renewal meant essentially a Christian cultural renewal, not to fill the churches, but to ensure economic growth and prosperity.

Perhaps no prime minister since Gladstone could have risked telling a journalist that (s)he was “in politics because of the conflict between good and evil”, with the conviction that “in the end good will triumph”.

But it is not her policies which saved her from Hell. Nor was it her programme of government, her good works or world renown.

Margaret Thatcher is saved from Hell because Jesus Christ is her Lord and Saviour: He paid the price; she is forgiven.

Perhaps the Durham Miners’ Association might like to consider in their spittle-flecked orgies of enmity and resentment that the Lord called Margaret Thatcher to Himself, and the angels not only rejoiced in Heaven, but the name of Thatcher endures throughout the earth, and will do so long after the Durham Miners’ Gala has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Criticise her policies all you wish, and lament, if you will, what she did to the country. Pity or dislike her; hate her, even, although it harms the soul of none but the hater.

But the self-righteous Left betray their deep Christian roots when they wish the horrors of Hell upon their political opponents. And yet, having killed off those roots, perhaps that is why they are so given to hate.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    YG, I really don’t know why you bothered writing about this. Those people are truly sick and ignorant and their hateful actions are best ignored. I would not have handed them the oxygen of publicity by giving them space on this blog.

  • The Explorer

    Do we know who’s in Hell? Have we been categorically told, that we are in a position to say?

    With the Durham socialists, the statement is presumably metaphorical: since one assumes they don’t believe in Hell. Their sentiment is simply an expression of ill will towards the memory of a politician they detested.

    I find more troubling the Christian fundamentalists who DO believe in Hell. and are confident that they know God’s opinion of the matter. There’s an American group that has consigned C S Lewis to Hell as the inspirer of J K Rowling. (She’s not there yet, but she will be.) They would certainly assign Wesley there. They would even assign Calvin to Hell for not being a strict enough Calvinist.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Quite right, we do not know who is in hell, or who is going there, which is why I think the display of hate shown in the picture should not be taken seriously, distasteful though it is. It is just a way of expressing blind hatred, a bit like overused phrases such as “homo[hobic bigot”, which really have no meaning anymore.

  • bluedog

    Well said, Your Grace. One hopes that your commentary will find its way to the Durham Miners facebook page, there to trouble the more intelligent members, or more probably, their wives.

  • The Explorer

    The other important point raised by this post is, what constitutes a Christian?
    For many of the general public, the question is self-evident. A Christian is one who is kind to others. A Buddhist, in that sense, may be a Christian; but a politician who makes difficult decisions that result in suffering cannot be.

  • alternative_perspective

    Your Grace,

    Nicely put, sadly though the left are consumed by a philosophy of hypocrisy simply because their foundations are routed in materialism, utilitarianism and blind equality, all of which are subjective group beliefs that often find themselves in contradiction.

    Christians coming from this perspective need to be careful not to get carried away with such passions. In their desire for reduced poverty, a notional good, they need to be wary of not mindlessly incorporating doctrines of the unholy trinity of ideologies mentioned above.

    With the same readiness to criticise us on the right they ought to reflect on their own prejudices, biases and bigotry.

    A case in point is the rabid and perpetual anti-semitism of the left paraded as cool and rational criticism of the Israeli state. I rarely see left wing Christians taking a mix of views on the topic, instead they seem to side, without question or reservation, with those who question Israel’s very right to exist.

    I fear their politics informs their theology, rather than the converse relationship.

  • Gordon Tough

    Whilst His Grace is clearly deeply in love with her, and will not allow any criticism of her, for many Mrs. Thatcher embodies all that was wrong with the 1980’s.
    Her wanton destruction of scores of industrial communities consigned generations to the wall. Closing industries which had supported generations of workers and not replacing the jobs with something else is not good economics.
    The notion that northern unemployment was a price worth paying for southern gains is still one that reverbs around the North East. Increased unemployment is hardly good news for the poor.
    Turning the police into her personal army and giving them free reign to smash strikers heads in has lead to a deep distrust of the police to this day.
    If Foot or Kinnock had reversed the roles and destroyed the south at the expense of a northern industrial powerhouse, I’m sure His Grace would be crying into his claret and and demanding that something be done to rebalance the situation.

    • bluedog

      ‘Closing industries which had supported generations of workers and not replacing the jobs with something else is not good economics.’

      It’s hard to believe there are still people around who can write this sort of stuff. Thatcher’s particular genius was that she saw the folly and dishonesty in tax-payer support of non-viable nationalised industries. By the 1970s, after 30 years of the NCB and the NUM, most British coal-mines ran at a staggering loss. The same applied to most of the shipyards and much of the steel industry itself. Sadly, many of these industries were concentrated in the North, but to suggest it was a deliberate policy to close these businesses and favour the South over the North is delusional. If the mines had been privately owned, as they once were, their owners would have been forced to close them just as the government did.

      Sociologically, the mining villages were desperately introverted societies with an ethos forged by the undoubtedly very dangerous work, which bred a particular comradeship. We can see from the ghoulish display put on by the Durham Miners the full effects of this introversion, and in addition an utter inability to self-assess. At some point these unfortunates may realise that they lost their fight but have failed to adapt themselves to changing circumstances. One can only hope that their children receive an education that enables them to recognise the dangers, and to avoid being trapped in the same cycle of futile protest.

      • Inspector General

        Blue, you CANNOT apply inflexible formulae to peoples lives. It doesn’t work like that.

        • bluedog

          It does work like that, Inspector. If you work in a business or an industry that runs at a loss you will inevitably face the risk of unemployment.

          • Inspector General

            You seem to have missed two important points from this man. Here they are again “…would have understood the economic uncertainty of home produced coal and would have sold off the mines to the staff at a pound each. Great leaders would have given those people hope.”

          • bluedog

            It’s getting worse. What on earth would have been the point in selling, or even giving, irredeemably loss making mines to the workers? Who would have provided the working capital to run the mines? The workers? The Co-op? Giving false hope is the mark of a charlatan, not that of a Great Leader.

          • Dreadnaught

            How much has just been given to support the feckless Bankers? – somethings in politics just don’t change with time, they pays our money and we take the chances.

          • bluedog

            I’ve lost count. But the cause of the banking collapse was Gordon Brown who allowed lending on insane loan/valuation ratios (Northern Rock, in Northumberland as it happens), and changed the supervisory arrangements.

          • Dreadnaught

            And who thought it a great idea to de-multualise our Building Societies and turn them in to banks… hmmmm.. now let me think..

          • Gordon Tough

            The banking collapse was caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in the USA. Lets not also forget that before the crash Dave and Gidiot were complaining that Brown wasn’t doing enough to de-regulate the banks.

          • Gordon Tough

            And destroying the hopes of whole communities in the name of economics and progress?

          • bluedog

            I’ve tried to explain, but failed. Please reread my posts to see what other opportunities were available to Durham miners at the time the pits were closing. You seem to take a communitarian approach which denies the possibility of individual initiative and enterprise.

          • Inspector General

            Oh come on, that man. If the damn things were running at a loss, they had been for some time. What’s a few more years of capital assistance, each one being a reduction on the one before. At least the miners wouldn’t be burning effigies of her for treachery.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            But that is what had been happening. Lose making mines had been shut down for decade prior to Mrs Thatcher coming to power. Harold Wilson as PM & Tony Benn as Industry Secretary shut down something like four times as many mines as Thatcher.

            How much longer were mines that had been lose-making for, say, 10 years to be kept open. Another five years? If so then why not six, or seven or … ?

          • Inspector General

            When a mine is no longer economic it is what is known as ‘worked out’. Since when have closing those been defied by the workforce. The whole business stank of political victimisation badly handled by a woman who did not appreciate her limitations. So the mines remain open for 5 more years, with a dedicated workforce trying to make a go at it. So damn what!

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “Since when have closing those been defied by the workforce.”
            I assume that this was meant to be a question.

            If so the answer is, almost always.

            Miners objected loudly as uneconomic mines were shut under Harold Wilson, under Margaret Thatcher and basically every time since then.

            “So the mines remain open for 5 more years, with a dedicated workforce trying to make a go at it. So damn what!”
            So if they had had 10 years to adjust and had not done so you would give them another five years? If they did not adjust during that time what would you do next? Give them another five years to to bury their heads in the sand?

            And as to what is wrong with it, the answer is just about everything.

            My and your taxes were being used to prop them up. That money could best be not taken from us in the first place and we could spend it on something useful. If it was taken from us then it could have been spent more productively by the government.

            Also there would be five more years of school leavers not being encouraged to limit their horizons to the local pit but to look for jobs that might last.

      • Gordon Tough

        Where were the jobs created to employ the miners, steel workers and ship builders?

        Thatcher’s “genuis” was in getting people to believe her guff about private enterprise being the sole arbiter of what was good for society. If the mines were in private hands, like the banks and railways, they’d have been bankrolled

        • bluedog

          See my reply above to the Inspector.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its no exaggeration to state that her relationship with Pinochet and cheap (child workers included) coal imported from Chile did not also leve a bitter aftertaste in the miners’ memory.

        • bluedog

          Of course, of course. Thatcher would never have imported coal that had not been mined by children.

          • Dreadnaught

            Or given succour to a Fascist Dictator?

          • bluedog

            That too. Don’t even consider the possibility that without the support of the Chilean Reich the recovery of the Falklands may not have been achieved.

          • Dreadnaught

            And that excuses Pinochet?

          • bluedog

            What would you have done? In WW2 Churchill had to form an alliance with the USSR to defeat the Nazis. Would you have declined to assist the Soviets too? It’s so easy to be pious after the event.

          • Dreadnaught

            Pious is not a word I would personally aspire to. We are talking about the attitudes of mining communities – cheap Chilean coal was Thatchers ammunition. Pinochet was murdering political opponents and his own countrymen and women to hold on to and consolidate power.Giving such a man safe haven in a democracy was particularly galling and did her no favours with the general public. Closing the mines was as much about attacking Labour finances and Union castration as it was economics.

          • bluedog

            Not without truth.

          • Inspector General

            Just out of interest blue, how many Chilean divisions were committed to ‘the cause’…

          • bluedog

            nil.

          • Inspector General

            So, this assistance. It was hardly “this morning, the Chilean ambassador handed the Argentinian government a final note…”

          • bluedog

            Absolutely not.

          • Gordon Tough

            And if she hadn’t tried to save some money by withdrawing the last Navy Ship, thereby leaving the Falkland Islands undefended, the Argentines wouldn’t have invaded.

            Before the Falklands War her approval rating were worse than Harold McMillan ‘s and she was all set to loose the election.

          • bluedog

            Look, HMS Endurance was withdrawn deliberately so that the Argies would invade and provide an opportunity for a heroic victory.

          • Gordon Tough

            We should be idolising someone who deliberately went to war in order to boost her election chances?

          • Dominic Stockford

            HMS Endurance wasn’t an armed ship. It provided no defence whatsoever.

          • Gordon Tough

            And yet Defense Secretary John Nott in an a 1981 review came to the conclusion that with drawing Endurance would send the message to the Argentinian authorities that Britain was both unable and unwilling to defend the Falklands.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The father of one of my friends captained it shortly before that time. He would have been surprised at the idea that moving a survey ship would send such a message.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Icebreaker/survey ship, sorry.

          • Gordon Tough

            With a contingent of Marines onboard

          • Gordon Tough

            Are you saying that the MOD got their analysis wrong?

  • Inspector General

    Great leaders carry the people with them. Great leaders do not alienate those who work for an entire industry. Great leaders would have understood the economic uncertainty of home produced coal and would have sold off the mines to the staff at a pound each. Great leaders would have given those people hope.

    Do you see the problem, Cranmer?

    That damn women did irreparable damage. The descendants of her victims will be cursing her memory for hundreds of years to come…

    • bluedog

      Another one. At same the time Thatcher decided to call time on the uneconomic mines, the North Sea oil and gas fields were reaching full production. Was this a mere coincidence, or did Thatcher realise that gas was a far better industrial and domestic fuel than coal? Remember she was a chemist and could do the math. A skill not widely shared it would seem.
      In any event, if the Durham Miners were slightly less introverted, they may have noticed that there were jobs aplenty on the gas-rigs and in the service industries attached to them.

      • Inspector General

        They told us all from day one that gas and oil were finite. VERY finite. If Thatcher really did do her sums on what you say, then she is guilty of the most distressing short termism.

        • bluedog

          Coal is finite too, and burning it causes more pollution than any other thermal fuel.

          • Inspector General

            So we burn imported coal instead. Don’t say it, just as immigrants are better than the indigenous British, so foreign coal is less polluting.

          • bluedog

            One hundred and ninety-eight years ago a bloke called David Ricardo wrote a book in which he advanced the theory of comparative advantage. It works. It means you do what you do best. So if imported coal is cheaper than British coal, it makes economic sense to use imported coal. The pollutant effect is a different argument but one would hope that imported coal would not be significantly worse. The best coal was always from South Wales.

          • Inspector General

            This man takes his guidance on matters all from Jesus Christ’s inspiration.

          • bluedog

            Well He never wrote a book but the parable of the talents is economically sound advice.

          • Phil R

            “So if imported coal is cheaper than British coal, it makes economic sense to use imported coal”

            I am no economist but I am not so sure of that argument. If coal cost £1 to produce in Britain but £0.80 to buy abroad then it seems a no brainer.

            However, most of the £1 is spent within the British Economy whilst the £0.80 is spent in somewhere else.

            Sorry to harp on about the Germans, but e.g. their foreign aid (and so the Greeks have stated even some of their loans) are provided on the basis that they will be spent on German products.

          • Busy Mum

            I have observed that whilst the switch to German-produced solar panels may reduce one’s dependency on Arabian oil, one’s money is still going out of the UK……

            p.s.I live where there is no mains gas – people are heavily dependent for hot water and heating on the oil tanks sitting in their gardens.

          • Phil R

            But as we see here the distorted logic is that we gid the cheapest regardless of ethical or future supply considerations

          • Busy Mum

            ….because that is how the majority will in fact make purchasing decisions…..and the powers-that-be abuse that fact, appealing to their baser natures in the same way that they do with everything else – short term gratification but long term pain.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Selling the mines to the miners would have been a good idea Inspector. This happened at the Tower Colliery in South Wales which was bought by the miners for £8000 each from their redundancy money. The pit was still running in 2014, and is still running now as far as I am aware. The government at the time was not keen on the miners buying it out. In 2014 John Redwood, who had been Welsh Secretary at the time of the closures, wrote this about the miners’ attempt to buy it…

      “At the end of the dispute I tried to get the government to offer the miners the right to work a pit the Coal Board claimed was uneconomic for themselves, as I was suspicious about some of the pits the Coal Board wished to close. I wanted a magnanimous aftermath. John Moore the privatisation Minister worked up some proposals but they got into the press before they were fully thought through or cleared with the PM, so the whole idea was lost. It was not until I was in the Cabinet myself that I was able to help one group of miners do just that, at Tower Colliery. They demonstrated that free of Coal Board control it was possible, at least in their case, to run the pit for longer.”

      It certainly seems that Government made very little effort to help them, which leads me to suspect that the wholesale closure of the coal industry wasn’t motivated purely by economics. Lots of industries are not economical. The railways are not economical, so are we to shut them all down so that millions can’t get to work every day?
      Much as though I despise the gross spectacle in the picture above, I have often thought that Margeret Thatcher sometimes had a particularly harsh attitude to the working class, in which she too had her roots.

      • Inspector General

        Interesting PI. Redwood would have known that any assistance to the miners would have shown up the evil for what it was. An act of unspeakable political vandalism and a crime against the people of this country.

    • sarky

      It’s not just the industry, whole communities were destroyed because of one woman’s spite and those communities are still paying for it now.

  • Athanasius

    Since Margaret Thatcher was herself motivated by a particularly disgusting form of blue rinse, bourgeois hatred – for anyone with a penny less than her – I really don’t feel there’s cause for complaint here. Beyond that, there is a duty to history. When she died, the newspapers – fully conscious of their status as the first draft of history – maliciously attempted to portray her as a beloved figure. She was nothing of the sort, and the street parties held on her death will make it impossible for future historians to be taken in, as was Fleet Street’s intention. The miners were merely contributing to historical truth. It might be tasteless, but it had to be done.

    • carl jacobs

      Thatcher is a symbol of the consequences of Labor overreach. The economic inefficiencies of excessive wages could never survive international competition. All those comfortable arrangements based upon coerced markets were going to come crashing down. Nothing could have prevented it. Technology was opening up labor markets that were previously untapped. Capital is mobile. Labor is not. In order to compete, labor had to make itself cost competitive. This it was never willing to do. Its mantra was “More!” and its weapons were the franchise and the strike. Unfortunately, you cannot change reality by demanding that reality change.

      Thatcher castrated labor because labor needed to be castrated to make Britain economically competitive. The alternative would have been severe economic decline visited upon the entire nation. For this she is vilified. She is the embodied representation of economic forces that stripped labor unions of their power. It’s not Thatcher’s image in that coffin. It’s the labor union that once was, and will never be again.

  • carl jacobs

    Thatcher’s sin was to destroy the Miner’s most cherished possession – entitlement. They felt entitled to employment devoid of economic rationality. They felt entitled to employment where wages and security were not subject to market forces. Why should these miner’s have received such consideration? Because there were a lot of them. “Give us more, and make others pay for it.” The miner’s had no thought for the economic collateral damage. They thought only of themselves and their parochial self-interest.

    It’s ironic to hear people complain about Greece today, and yet weep for the miners of the past.

      • carl jacobs

        Mundabor was right in what he wrote, of course.

        This is not unusual, Jack. I told you I recommended Mundabor’s website to a Catholic friend. We agree on almost everything once removed from the realm of theology. Perhaps it is the Protestant work ethic seeping into Catholicism.

        • …. can economics and politics be removed from theology?

      • Athanasius

        I stand to be corrected, but isn’t Mundabor a sedevacantist? However limited his practice, he’s still picking and choosing what to subscribe to within the Magisterium. I can see how picking the bits that suit you and ignoring the ones that aren’t telling you what you want to hear would appeal to Protestants like Mr Jacobs or our host, Jack, but really, you and I ARE Catholics, are we not?

        • Athanasius, no Mundabor isn’t a sedevacantist and has written numerous articles condemning this. However, he is a strong supporter of SSPX and very critical of Pope Francis but he is a Roman Catholic. So far as Jack knows, he hasn’t rejected any teaching of the Magisterium on matters of faith and morals.

        • The Explorer

          I’m a sedevacantist: except I’d take it back beyond 1958.

    • Terry Mushroom

      ” They thought only of themselves and their parochial self-interest.”

      Maybe. But who else has showed any interest in them and their communities?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Certainly not Scargill.

        • Terry Mushroom

          I agree.

      • carl jacobs

        You don’t have a right to perpetual employment. You don’t have a right to say “Hey, Gov’t. Provide for me a job with an income commensurate with my expectations.” You are responsible for yourself.

        The minors didn’t care about the impact on the rest of Britain when they went on strike. They didn’t consider the opportunity cost to the rest of the economy because of the subsidies the mines received or the markets they were guaranteed. They used their political power to perpetuate failing mines far past their viable life. Each year made the problem that much worse, and the eventual adjustment that much more difficult. If the miners want to look at what caused the implosion if their communities, they have only to look at themselves.

        • Terry Mushroom

          One one level you’re right. Scargill had his own agenda.

          But on another level, you’re very wrong. The Californian defence industry is a world away from the way miners were treated in both England & Wales. They were abominably treated for generations. As were the Bevin Boys.

          • carl jacobs

            When you lose your job, you don’t sit around and whine and demand someone else provide you with new one. No one else is responsible for your economic security. Get up and go somewhere else and find a job. In that way, the two situations are exactly the same. Remember that many of those 2,000,000 workers were blue collar union types. It wasn’t just a collection of Engineers with transferable skills.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I don’t approve of laziness either, nor Scargill and his supporters in the NUM. I was made redundant and know the fear and the hard work getting another. But I’m with Athanasius who wrote to you about “..Americans who believe they can speak authoritatively about British miners.”

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. Well, OK. I will just point to all those Brits who agree with what I am saying.

          • Terry Mushroom

            And maybe I could have a discussion with the Brits who agree with you. But your lack of understanding in your reply to Phil R that “They didn’t have to become miners. They chose to become miners” shows how little you have a right to speak. I say that as courteously as I can.

          • carl jacobs

            There are always alternatives for those who have the will to find them. Good grief. One fifty years earlier, people were emigrating across the ocean to a foreign country and an unknown future in the face of starvation. You make it sound like they were Serfs.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “You make it sound like they were Serfs.”

            And for generations that’s exactly how they were treated.

          • DanJ0

            Yes. Moreover they were products of the local society into which they were born so the potential to simply up sticks was likely not recognised. I doubt individuals could have done that either due to possible reprisals on their families.

          • avi barzel

            People were not only emigrating, presumably with full sets of Adam Smith’s tomes in their luggage and the Protestant spirit of capitalism in their hearts; they were often enough thrown out of their cottages and put on leaky ships to the Americas on barely a days notice to make room for sheep…of they didn’t die from malnutrition and expisure. Bet’ya some of your own ancestors were migrants of the Clearances. And yes, many were serfs and even slaves in all but name, coming in as the early waves of the Irish and Souther n Italians did, as indentured labourers bound to buyers and mobsters.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Some of my old colleagues in the Archaeology Department had an ongoing project throughout the noughties looking at the lives of just such migrants (it’s big money here in NI – plenty of Americans who are willing to invest in it!). Really fascinating stuff – very hard life usually – barely economically viable instead of utterly non-viable but with the added benefit that many of the migrants to southern states had improved health solely on the basis of escaping cold and damp Ireland (living conditions for first generation migrants not so much improved).

            What they didn’t do, however, was work as rugged individualists. I can’t speak to other communities – so maybe it’s more of a product of Catholicism – but they basically upped whole communities and relocated to the States. You knew they’d arrived when the parish priest came to join them.

          • bluedog

            Again, it is frankly bizarre that you purport to deny Carl the right to speak just because you disagree with him. You offer no serious argument to counter Carl’s statement ‘They didn’t have to become miners’. And some of them did not. There were always other opportunities for the well educated working class – the civil service, the police, the army, manufacturing industry. But those close-knit mining villages created a culture that discriminated against experimentation and individual initiative, not good. It seems terribly wrong to see grown men still wallowing in sentimentality about such a self-restrictive lifestyle. Shades of the Monty Python Yorkshire sketch.

          • bluedog

            Rubbish. Carl is talking sense in terms of general principles, and has specifically introduced a US comparison to help make his point. How can you seriously find fault with that approach?

          • Terry Mushroom

            His general principles are true. But it’s when he goes into some of the particulars that I disagree with him.

            Thus Carl said to me, “The minors didn’t care about the impact on the rest of Britain when they went on strike.” But for generations the rest of Britain didn’t care about them very much either. They were treated abominably. If their communities were introverted (your word) there were reasons that were not all their fault.

            The recent Durham Gala is desperately sad and at some point really has to stop if it doesn’t wither away. But I have sympathy with the loss of the community values and cohesion that they mourn.

        • avi barzel

          True, no economy can sustain handing out perpetual employment or welfare, but no modern economy which needs a healthy society to grow with can just say, “look after your self” either. Forgive the chauvinism, but I’ll take our high taxes and expensive goods and services, rather than the shocking levels and volume of poverty I see in your country. Thete is something to be said about social safety nets, even if they fluctuate between insufficiency and dysfunctional over’generosity. Far beyter to bicker over how to optimise and fine tune the system than wreak havoc on millions on a point of philodophical principle.

      • Hugh Jeego

        When I was at uni, 1981 – 84, all the bloody SU would witter on about was “solidarity with the miners”. Of course, the miners reciprocated that solidarity…..did they heck! By the time of Scargill, the NUM was a full-blown communist front organisation. During Heath’s time they used their monopoly of coal production (which was also effectively a monopoly of energy production) to hold the elected government to ransom. How very responsible, how very community-minded, of them. Thatcher wasn’t prepared to let that happen again, which is a point of view I believe was correct.

        • Inspector General

          Tell you what, even though it is many years after the events, why don’t we travel over to the former mining communities and burn them out of their homes. That’ll learn them…

          • Hugh Jeego

            Which has sod-all to do with anything I said. You do come up with some odd ideas. You can do that if you like, I’ll pass, thanks, as I’m not a vindictive git…..

          • Inspector General

            Delighted to read you’re not the vindictive type then. God help all of us who have ever withdrawn their labour in protest if you were…

          • Hugh Jeego

            Even if I was vindictive, I’m in absolutely no position to do anything about it, and would not wish to be. So, all your fears are allayed, and you can stop shivering in your boots, you odd man.

          • Inspector General

            Never been called odd on this site before. You alone then…

          • Hugh Jeego

            Maybe I’ve opened the floodgates. Maybe not.
            Mind you, truth does not reside in consensus.

          • Lol …. he is odd, Hugh. We Cranmerites tend to accept the Inspector’s oddity and not mention it.

          • Hugh Jeego

            I shall try not to mention it again, Happy Jack 😉

          • Good man. He’s like the mad uncle of the family who we all love (in the platonic sense) and tolerate.

          • Inspector General

            Isn’t there something more productive you could be doing with your time…

          • Powerdaddy

            It’s true.

            A Christian minus the concept of original sin, minus the ability to sin against his God and totally lacking any confidence in Jesus’s teachings on the power of prayer is a very odd fellow indeed.

          • Inspector General

            Call it the result of having a higher understanding of where man sits in the order of creation and our personal relationship with the creator. As for prayer, if you can boil a kettle with it, do say…

          • Powerdaddy

            I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “higher understanding”
            I wouldn’t call you a Christian either.

            Seriously, what parts of the bible do you actually believe in?

          • Inspector General

            Let’s see. One believes in Christ and lives his life accordingly, as Christ would want him. Sounds like the definition of a Christian, don’t you think?

            What more do you want? Speaking in tongues, perhaps…

            A rather satisfying element of having a higher understanding is that most don’t know what you are on about. Does what it says on the tin, then.

          • Powerdaddy

            Luke 11

            1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

            2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

            3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

            4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil

            Was Jesus speaking in tongues?

            Do you think running around poo pooing prayer is living in accordance to what Jesus would want?

          • Inspector General

            It’s just that prayer has never appealed. Better things to do, like achieving what you would pray for by your own efforts. Rather a protestant thing, that. Still, it is reassuring you can contact the almighty if you ever need to and seek his guidance, or help or whatever else it is you feel lacking in ability or possession. We are not all the same, so don’t be surprised at variations to the norm.

          • Powerdaddy

            You said “One believes in Christ and lives his life accordingly, as Christ would want him.”

            Do you think running around poo pooing prayer is living in accordance to what Jesus would want?

            The definition of a Christian say you?

          • Inspector General

            We are only flesh and blood and soul.

          • Powerdaddy

            3rd time lucky?……………….

            Do you think running around poo pooing prayer is living in accordance to what Jesus would want?

          • Inspector General

            Desperate to fit people into boxes, aren’t you. Can’t have independent thought around. That will never do…

          • Powerdaddy

            No. You are mistaken again. YOU are trying to fit YOURSELF in a box, only it’s a Christian shaped box and you don’t fit. I’m just pointing out you’re a different shape to the box.

            Why didn’t you answer my question?

          • Inspector General

            You are a teacher, aren’t you? Not used to dealing with grown ups. An explanation for you then, as you specialise in the obtuse. To answer your question would lay this man out for your continued assault, whatever answer you were given. Happy now?

          • Powerdaddy

            I just want in on this higher knowledge, but I’m starting to think I’m too morally corupt and/or stupid to get it. Your inconsistencies are not helping. But at least I’m honest. Happy now?

          • Inspector General

            No reason why you can’t ascend to a higher state of understanding, but it means opening your mind, and re-considering past truths you hold dear. Then you apply reason and deep thought. Let northing get in the way of those two. Think you can manage it?

          • Powerdaddy

            Very funny, “apply reason and deep thought”. It has taken you a week to realise Jesus wants you to pray. Throw in the fact you don’t believe in original sin and you don’t sin against God and you are not left with a Christian………..

            2 Timothy 4:2-4

            Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove,
            rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is
            coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching
            ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own
            passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off
            into myths.

          • Inspector General

            Your post will be considered in due course. Thank you master, this man as he strives for the ultimate understanding is appreciative of where he might be going wrong, if he is.

          • Inspector General

            Interesting. One’s reply to you has disappeared.

          • There is, Inspector, but it wouldn’t be such fun.

          • avi barzel

            Odd that you think the Inspector odd on this subject, Jack, what with your decidedly leftish leanings when it comes to vague generalizations about the supposed evils of heartless capitalism. Yrue I largly disagree with the Inspector on this subject, and side more with Carl’s analitical assessment….but, but only as an outsider in a country across the ocean which was spared of the drastic labour sector collapse Britain experienced in the post-War years. So, while I understand the practical realities, I also understand the exceptional cultural mythos, the deep history and pervasive impact mining and mining communities hold in your nation. This is one of those subjects, methinks, which need to be sensitively discussed in a spirit of generosity and humility.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Avi, thanks for that.

          • Still, and all, the Inspector is decidedly odd.

          • Jack wasn’t being specific, Avi.

          • avi barzel

            My profuse apologies, Jack; I obviously misread your post. I just got nervous that the Inspector might feel unappreciated and catch the steamer for a more rewarding post in India or Rhodesia. This place will descend into barbarism without the figurative thin red line he represents for us within a day if such were to happen.

            You have been quite serene, composed, moderate and even angelic of late, Jack. What gives?

          • CliveM

            He’s trying for beatification! He wants living Saint Hood. Expecting stigmata any day……….

          • avi barzel

            It’s depressing I can’t even get a decent rise out of him like in the old days. Beatifacation? You think? Well, anything seems possible with Pope Francis. (Sotto voce: That a shot across the bow for Jack)

          • CliveM

            This ‘saintly’ HJ is no where near as much fun. I leave this in yours and Carls capable hands, get him sorted!

          • avi barzel

            Yeah, how?Look at him now, sitting back, probably chuckling away, not jumping in to comment and putting his foot in his big grinning mouth like in the old days.

          • CliveM

            I’ve seen his response to you. It may all be to late. HJ RIP, long live St. Jack!

          • DanJ0

            I’ve nailed him down many so many times that he’d struggle to hold a ball bearing these days.

          • Jack appreciates the unique contributions of the Inspector. However, visitors here may not as he is an acquired taste.
            Serene of late? Jack? !!! Never.
            Not according to Jack’s co-religionists on an American site infested by modernists and progressives. Jack has been called all sorts there. He has come to realise that the gap between himself and some Catholics is wider than the gap between himself and many non-Catholics and those of other faiths and beliefs. Jack has come to regard many of the bloggers on here as friends. Why squabble and be inflammatory? (Carl excepted).
            Plus, Jack is a granddad and this gives one perspective.

          • DanJ0

            I do, but only when he has one of his turns.

          • Inspector General

            Perhaps you are unable to detect the Inspector’s dry wit. He won’t call it sarcasm because Sarky has that side of things wrapped up, although he’s bloody terrible at it.

          • sarky

            Oi, leave me out of it 🙂

        • Terry Mushroom

          I’m not defending Scargill and the NUM. I’m suggesting that miners were treated abominably for generations.

        • bluedog

          Well said, Hugh.

          At the time of Thatcher’s dispute with the NUM, the UK was directly threatened by the USSR. The communist infiltration of the TUC was a Soviet soft-power offensive that came close to crippling the British economy and rendering the country ungovernable. If Thatcher had been defeated by the NUM and if her government had fallen, the consequences would have been catastrophic.

          Woolly-minded apologists for the mining communities need to think on that.

    • Athanasius

      Never been down a mine, have you?

      • carl jacobs

        No, I haven’t. I have also never plowed ground with an ox. Or planted rice by hand in a rice patty. Or stomped grapes with my feet. Or delivered the mail through hostile Indian territory by pony express. Or shoveled coal into the boiler of a steamship. Or … well, you get the idea.

        I take it that non sequitur is a foreign concept to you?

        • Dominic Stockford

          You should try the grapes one, get some bunches and stick ’em in the bath. Strangely therapeutic, and slipperily dangerous…

          • Hmmmm ….

          • avi barzel

            I’ve seen it done in villages in the Balkans. Men with rolled up pants or no pants at all and girls with hiked-up skirts, which is what gets the young men over. No rubber boots either; bare dirty feet. Would have tried it, but was too young and light.

        • Athanasius

          The point – which clearly has to be explained to you – is that if you’d ever lived that life, the one thing you’d never think of yourself as “entitled”. That right seems to belong to Americans who believe they can speak authoritatively about British miners.

          • carl jacobs

            What should I call the attitude that says “I deserve perpetual employment at ever-increasing wages regardless of the economic rationality of my job.” Just compensation? The miners refused to accept that it wasn’t 1900 anymore.

          • Phil R

            “I deserve perpetual employment at ever-increasing wages regardless of the economic rationality of my job.”

            I get it now Carl

            Like the Armed Forces perhaps?

          • carl jacobs

            You have no idea what the term RIF means, do you?

    • Inspector General

      A complete misrepresentation of the miners cause.

      • carl jacobs

        The miner’s cause was “Keep subsidizing the mines and keep forcing customers to buy our coal so we can keep doing what we have always been doing. And keep paying us more to do it.” Sounds like Greek to me.

        • Inspector General

          You are an unreasonable man Carl. That is, you cannot be reasoned with. Are you surprised then you come over as a lone voice of extremism. These people, these coal dust blackened heroes are not bloody slaves, for God’s sake. If you don’t stop treating them with contempt, you will be chased off by the Inspector…

          • carl jacobs

            I never said they were slaves. I am not treating them with contempt. I am treating them as responsible adults. I am also stating the truth. And calling me an “extremist” does not cover up the weakness of your argument.

            The miners wanted to be paid above their market value. They managed this feat by using political power to distort the market. They also wanted to restrict productivity improvements in order to maintain employment levels. They wanted to shape the economic world to their own parochial interest. That simply could not be perpetuated indefinitely. You can bluster about “blackened heroes” all you like. It doesn’t change economic reality.

          • Inspector General

            They wanted their jobs, just as much as you want yours. To suggest that they were not concerned about the economics of mining is inane. Selling them the mines as working concerns and withdrawing from the scene offered a way out. You tell us why that strategy was not followed.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, well. I worked in the defense industry in California in the early 90’s when Clinton implemented the “peace dividend.” 2,000,000 people were washed out of the defense industry at the time. And guess what? No one gave a damn about us. They were too busy salivating over how to spend all that suddenly-available money. And let’s be honest about something else. The Democratic party saw this as a way to damage the Republican party. I remember Democrats in California boasting about the outflux of defense workers from California saying “They were all Republicans.”

            But let’s be truthful. Those financial resources had to be reallocated. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant there was no reason to maintain those spending levels. It was painful (for people like me) but it was necessary. We had to go find other jobs. But pain is never equally distributed in market adjustments.

            What would selling the mines have accomplished? Transfer of ownership would not have raised the capital to run them. Where would that money have come from? The gov’t? The whole point was to stop gov’t subsidy of the mines. Keep the mines open, and the political demand for subsidy would have been ongoing.

          • The Explorer

            The theme of the movie ‘Falling Down’.

          • Inspector General

            You might want to view Politically_Incorrect’s post on Tower colliery. Producing and selling coal 30 years after it was condemned as uneconomic, but that wouldn’t suit your argument, would it? Then google up figures for coal importation into the UK.

          • carl jacobs

            Coal importation provides the evidence the British coal was non-competitive. Why do you think British concerns had to be coerced into buying British coal? They derived financial advantage from using coal mined elsewhere.

            And I am well aware that a certain few mines were still viable. But that is hardly representative of the state of the industry.

          • Inspector General

            You have to import coal if you don’t produce enough of it yourself.

            hmmm. A concession from you on viable (but subsequently closed) mines. What else are you prepared to give way on.

            Incidentally, the American army must be a damn expensive thing to maintain. How about importing 3 or 4 million Chinese to do it cheaper. What do you think?

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “You have to import coal if you don’t produce enough of it yourself”
            And if you can import it for a small fraction of the cost of mining it yourself that is surely the sensible thing to do.

            Most overseas coal mines are open cast ones and, per ton of coal mined, they use between one tenth and one hundredths as many people. More and larger machines can be used.

            There is no way that most British deep mines can compete with that.

            BTW I don’t read carl jacobs as saying that viable mines had been shut down. Rather he is saying that viable mines were in the minority. At the time of privatisation there were still more than a dozen deep mines in operation.

          • carl jacobs

            Why do you suppose that there are no toy manufacturers or clothing manufacturers in the US? Because those products could not be manufactured in the US in a cost-competitive manner. Those factories either moved to places like China or they went out of business. There was no “Stay in the US and survive” strategy available to them. Unless of course, the gov’t would coerce the market and force consumers to pay higher prices. Such decisions have immediately observable positive effects for the targeted business. They also have disastrous downstream secondary effects as economic spending is distorted and redirected.

          • Phil R

            Yo have not answered the Inspector’s comment about the Army. Why not have private Armies that you could buy as needed.

            This used to be the model until relatively recently and follows from your logic

          • carl jacobs

            Are you actually trying to assert that an Army is equivalent to the coal industry? A defining characteristic of the state is the monopolization of violence. The Army can’t be outsourced if the state is to remain a state. If you want to make even some semblance of this argument, you would have to establish that maintaining the coal mines was essential for national defense. Do try. Of course, that would have involved modernizing the mines, automating coal extraction, increasing worker productivity and thus drastically reducing the membership of the NUM.

            That program would have went over well – since that is exactly what the NUM didn’t want to happen.

          • Anton

            Carl,

            I’ve come late to this discussion because I’ve been away but two points are worth making:

            1. Having a domestic source of energy at hand, ie British coal, is about more than saving taxpayers’ money, as it is an issue of national security;

            2. The main miners’ union was led by a man who wanted to bring the government down for political reasons rather than merely get the best deal for his workers. Had he stuck to the latter aim then point (1) might well have caused the government to continue paying more. It is a great shame that more miners could not be bothered to attend union meetings and elect non-extremist representatives, and they ended up paying a heavy price.

          • Inspector General

            No you don’t. Trying to wriggle away like that. Use of foreign mercenaries was the way it was done at one time. The Ghurkha Rifles bears testament to that today. What is so special about the US that only it’s citizens can serve in the armed forces? And can it be done cheaper…

          • Dreadnaught

            Boys of draft age were sent without option to the mines as an alternative to the Forces WW2; failure to comply was met with Army discipline. Miners dug miles of tunnels throughout the battlefield in WW1; so yes, there is a direct corolation with national security.
            As for outsourcing the military, I thin Haliburton and Blackwater have that option boxed off.

          • Phil R

            Until 170 years ago Britain only paid for an army when it really needed it

            seemed to work ok

            Iraq could learn from this today?

          • avi barzel

            Keeping a defense cability according to projected or perceived threat levels is a recipe for national suicide nowadays. Britain’s level of unpreparedness in WWII nearly led to its destruction and only the United States’ tremendeous reserve of raw resources, a huge and educated labour and professional force and modern industrial capacity saved the US and probably Western civilixation as we know and like it.

          • Phil R

            I don’t know how many billion the Iraqi defense spending is but it is not working.

            Clearly it might be done cheaper and more effectively by another army. We will probably never know.

            BTW. Britain’s mistake in WW2 was to declare war when it was not prepared to support a country that it could not possibly support militarily.

            It was bonkers to declare war in 1939.

          • avi barzel

            I’m mostly going by Churchill’s estimates, and the insider memoirs of the “Man Called Intrepid,” William Stephenson,” and it seems quite obvious to me that Britain was either going to face war with Germany sooner or later or, as some were advising at the time, would surrender and capitulate to Germany.

          • Dreadnaught

            Exactly why there are sweatshops in Bangladesh, poison in the air of China and free and easy destruction of the rain forests of South America but who cares so long as the West is prepared to buy the goods no questions asked.

          • avi barzel

            The sweatshops and the pollution may horrify us, but the alternative is unthinkable; catastrophic levels of social collapse, poverty, mass starvation and raging epidemics, potentially wiping out several billion people. Do you suppose the developed world would be sending kind-hearted aid instead, in the trillions, to keep alive as many as 3 billion people who live on less than $ 2.50 per day?

          • Phil R

            Injustice it is called in the Bible.

            You have just called it a good thing.

            Let me tell you of a girl called Sharmin. You can read about her on the IJM website

            http://www.ijmuk.org/

            She was sold by her family at the age of 5. Her job from the ages of 7 to 13 was to roll cigarets by hand for 14 or more hours a day. She had a quota, each day (I forget the number) if she failed to produce that quota she was beaten.

            This form of slavery is outlawed in Bangladesh but laws are rarely enforced.

            This is your economic reality Avi that you freely espouse. Now look at your own kids if you have any and tell me that you want them to have the life of Sharmin.

            Now take your economic reality and stick it up your arse. The poor like Sharmin need more hope than you give them. Far more hope.

            I would even happily justify the AK47 option to change the rules in the case of Sharmin.

            I don’t accept that children have to live like slaves to satisfy your material and economic ideals.

          • avi barzel

            You do realize, Phil, that you sit here and moralize with a full tummy and a marvelouus device, quoting sources from equally well-fed people who go about in relative safety in their safari jackets, Tilley hats and “fair trade” pretty scarves sticking little bandaids on a select few photogenic children, comprising a barely detectable fraction of those who are dead and dying? And you do realize, one hopes, that you and the professional humanitarians got to this point in life on the backs of billions of past and present souls who slaved in mines, forests, galley ships, quarries, farms and factories?

            You confuse reality with ideology; description with proscription. No, neither I nor any one here wants Sharmin to roll cigarettes for a living. More so, neither I, nor anyone here wants her to starve to death or wind up as short-lived human meat in a bordello, or dead, clutching an AK 47. And yes, for that matter you too have accepted that “children have to live like slaves” to dayisfy your material and economic ideals because here you are and there they are, and no matter what charitable crumbs you lob over and what pious words you utter, the harsh, selfish and unsavoury factory owner a world away will always save far more lives and potential futures then you every will.

          • Phil R

            So in your world we do nothing.

            dispair like Andrew at the feeding of the 5000. God does have a plan and that plan is us.

            Does one matter? Ask yourself if it was your child rescued from the Nazis or how Sharmin felt when she was rescued and her owners prosecuted by IJM

            You see there is a difference between religions and for most Christians, just one matters

          • avi barzel

            I see you’re on a roll, Phil. Straw men, personalizing, the Holocaust and a final topping of theology and religious one-upmanship.

            Onviously, I’m not suggesting doing nothing. Neither have I said that individual lives and stories don’t matter, that even doing little doesn’t matter or that accepting a status quo is a preferable strategy. You’re making that shit up and slathering on pathos with a trowel because a burr got up your butt and because you know that you’re fundamentally wrong.

            So, again, let me point out how grievousky wrong you are. What has kept and keeps the vast masses of children in the underdeveloped…i.e., most….of the world alive us their economic usefulness in agriculture and only recently, industry. You haven’t seen their misery in the countryside, the fields, paddies, groves and gardens, not even much if it in your glossy brochures or Sunday programs because it’s much harder to establish missions in dangerous, spread-out rural areas than in urban ones. Less photogenic too. And so, you fixate on the only escape and vastly better option the destitude majority and its children has; the urban factory. You can cite all the sad tales and show all the horrid pictures, but in the end and in the aggregate, it’s the factory and not the field…nor your boundless love, limitless generosity, superior ethics, your parish or the UN…that will feed and treat the children and their families better than the rural, agrarian hell they are escaping.

            Boycott products, impose laws, close the factories and chase away all the children from them…and nations will fall as millions of families die in the biggest, nastiest world-wide famine and economic collapse you cannot even imagine. Mind you, for a month or two, before the bodies begin to pile, the wars break out and pestilence sweeps its scythe, you may feel good about yourself, though.

            O, and don’t think I’ll let your little swipe pass, Phil, old buddy. For your elucidation, per capita religious Jews outspend everyone, including Christians, on charity. By far. And we don’t convert and torture our recipients with sermons like the one you graced me with, nor estrange their children and herd them into churches for “education.”

          • Phil R

            Been taking lessons from Carl I see.

            The one thing Carl does not do is compassion.

          • avi barzel

            Well, against such an argument…

          • Dreadnaught

            The subject of UK foreign aid is territory that is long overdue revision. Methods of production and reward can be influenced by attaching conditions, but ultimately those will still be the responsibility of the agents of subject governments. As for China, I don’t think that they were or are on the list of aid recipients and they seem to be doing alright on the labour front.

          • avi barzel

            Sory; didn’t even get a notification email of your post.
            Yes, we can apply effective trade barriers and tariffs under the guise of all manner of standards and regulations, but when reciprocal barriers tariffs pop up against us, we suffer as well. And no matter how you do this, there will always be bias and cheating. The only solution is to allow a developing nation to modernize and industrialize. The only way to do this is to ensure cheap energy, starting with electrification projects, roadways and transport industries. This immediately boosts food production, since moving from inefficient, starvation-level subsistence farming to high volume agribusiness cannot happen without cheap chemical fertilizer, refrigeration and transportation.
            Yet we’re are forcing the developing world with bizarre environmental overregulation and “fair trade” demands (crony capitalism, in most cases) in the other direction by essentially bringing back a form of serfdom; locking the rural populations in autocratic and poor villages (“indigenous communities”), preventing access to useful amounts of reliable energy (conservation) by pushing solar panels and hand-pumps, forcing them to use poor organic fertilizers (environmental protection) and preventing them from taking their produce to a market or wholesale buyer (sustainability!). Look at what happened to tomato farming in East Africa, how it was encouraged through limited tariffs, how local processing and canning industries sprung up, bringing road construction and electrification to ignored areas and then, for mysterious political reasons, were entirely wiped out when various governments opened the floodgates for strategically underpriced Chinese canned tomatoes and tomato paste.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I’d say the inevitability of either social and environmental collapse or social and environmental corruption through mass exploitation doesn’t really make the case for humanity’s wisdom.

            Imagine for a moment if we who are rich did indeed turn the fruits of our labours to the needs of our neighbours without first thinking of the the things we falsely convince ourselves we need. It’s almost unimaginable – but it certainly wouldn’t look anything like the World.

          • alternative_perspective

            I tend to agree but I believe the reallocation of resources in such a manner is improper.

            We in the west pass one environmental, social and welfare law after the other making western manufacturing in lower price markets infeasible. But then we export the jobs overseas to economies with no concern for the environment, social well being and employee welfare. Its hardly a fair trade and I’d suggest an unethical one. If we truly believed in the value of those laws we would demand their implementation in the countries we buy from… But we don’t. In reality globalisation is as much about sidestepping issues of sustainability as it is reallocating resources most effectively.

          • carl jacobs

            You don’t really “export jobs.” All that is required is for a Chinese entrepreneur to get some capital and open a factory. He can put you out of business simpy by undercutting your price. You could try to protect the industry by applying tarrifs or regulations. But you have to consider the collateral impact on other international business.

            The purpose of “exporting standards” is not to raise standards elsewhere but to destroy an external company’s competitive advantage. It results not in improved working conditions elsewhere but in the preservation of jobs here. It sounds good, but it’s really just self-interest dressed up as virtue.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I think you mean Politically_Incorrect’s pack of misleading comments.

            British Coal closed Tower not just after the 84/85 strike as he implies but in 1994. It reopened with a reduced workforce in 1995, subsequently declined and finally closed in 2008.

            Hardly the success story you seem to think.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Carl, this is a needlessly disparaging view of those who worked in a dangerous industry with a high morbidity and mortality rate. There were some nasty activists amongst them ,like the reprobates in the photo above, but you have tarred them all with the same brush. The demand for coal obviously still exists since we have to import the stuff. The industry could have been restructured or the miners allowed to buy the mines as co-operatives, as with Tower Colliery. The result would have been an industry scaled down to the level of market demand that would have lessened the pain of mass redundancy and reduced the bill to the taxpayer to keep all those ex-miners on the dole.

    • Phil R

      The thing is Carl that if what you said was true I would agree.

      What is not often stated is that the Gov used taxpayers money to defeat the miners. If the miners had been employed by a commercial company an agreement would have been sought and found far earlier in the dispute and more mines saved.

      The thing is that all the Welsh mines closed and every single miner that I talked to has said that it was the best thing that ever happened.

      One miner told me that he angry at the time but now he is so pleased that his children and his grandchildren do not have to go down the mines for a living like his father and Grandfather etc before him. He ended with this interesting statement that he thanked God nearly every day, for both Mrs Thatcher and Arthur Scargill’s intransigence. Both ensure that the mines were closed for good and he said “well done to both of them”.

      • carl jacobs

        It was of course taxpayer money that kept the mines alive. If they had been private concerns, they would already have been closed. The coal was too expensive relative to competition. If the gov’t hadn’t coerced a market for it, the mined coal could not have been sold.

        The thing is that all the Welsh mines closed and every single miner that I talked to has said that it was the best thing that ever happened.

        That doesn’t seem to be a widely held opinion. At least not according to this blog post.

        One miner told me that he angry at the time but now he is so pleased that his children and his grandchildren do not have to go down the mines for a living like his father and Grandfather etc before him.

        They didn’t have to become miners. They chose to become miners.

        • Dreadnaught

          When mines spawned villages and towns as they did in the UK closing the pits destroyed entire communities that had been the backbone of the Industrial Revolution and kept the lights on in two world wars.
          The contribution the mining industry and the people involved made to the fortunes of this Country in peace and war; they deserved a better deal in a revised economic plan from which they were excluded. The Mine Union Barons, as much as Thatcher treated mining communities as pawns in the political/economic game. They deserved a better deal in re-skilling and re-employment but very little was done materially as Thatcher’s future national vision was for a London centred, service/finance and banking ‘industry’ and very little attention or funding given in support production and manufacturing.
          But what is emerging now? a crying need for skills in the UK for industry that is struggling to get off the ground.

        • bluedog

          Exactly.

        • avi barzel

          That being said, plentiful coal, especially “clean coal” where over 90 percent of the particulate matter is burnt off or filtered is still a viable energy source, especially for the developing world. Of course the old way, of sending men down mine shafts to grub gor the mineral in the dark is no neither economic nor humane. Instead of preaching green religion and pushing inefficient technologies on the Third World, the developed world should be helping it to exploit this resource with the best technologies it can offer and spare millions from both energy poverty and primitive mining practices.

        • Phil R

          Tell me Carl

          Is it always ethical to buy from the cheapest supplier?

          Even if we set aside ethics, there are far more factors involved than just cost in any business.

          From the Government’s perspective clearly the cheapest is not necessarily the best for the country.

          Mrs T tried to run Britain like a corner shop. But Britain wasn’t a corner shop. However sadly I think for the most part we are now

        • grutchyngfysch

          The application of choice here is a bit simplistic: yes, in one sense they could “choose” not to be miners, but realistically that entailed a very small number of jobs which were themselves dependent on the continuing employment of miners in the service industries, or else upping sticks entirely and moving away to London etc., which in itself is fine for unmarried singletons with good educational prospects, but for anyone with family obligations was also out. For many men the defacto choice was between indolence and mining.

          In that sense I think it’s wrong to critique them too harshly since, as miners, they demonstrated that they weren’t actively indolent by taking the employment available to them.

          None of that alters the economic reality – the mines had been dying for a generation (most of them were shut down under Wilson and Callaghan) – certainly the entitlement of the industry and the often anti-democratic mining union leadership (who had their own quasi-parasitical relationship with the little people) needed to be broken. That in itself couldn’t have been avoided.

          But I think we still have some collective responsibility towards the communities. If you know that a community’s source of employment must be decimated, I would suggest that there is a responsibility to assist that community to reskill and invest in new employment and inward investment. That’s what Thatcher basically didn’t do – it’s not that she killed a parasitical industry, it’s that she left the people who had depended on it without much in the way of assistance or support.

          • carl jacobs

            “Defacto choice” is an interesting construct. It certainly was the “easy” choice, although “easy” isn’t really the right word for that sentence. The thought is more akin to activation energy from chemistry. Choosing the mine perhaps should be considered the path of least resistance. And yet it was still a choice. They weren’t serfs, after all. It would be wrong to consider them serfs. Their circumstance was for example a marked improvement over the fate of the Irish in the 1840s. I would resist any such comparison. And yet if the Irish could act in the face of famine, dare I suggest the miners couldn’t act in the face mine closure?

            It’s a fair point about collective responsibility, and yet it seems selectively applied. Why should miners receive such consideration when so many others would not? Such selectivity has been displayed on this thread, and I have wondered if my sterile analysis misses something essential in British culture – something between the miners and everyone else. Economic arguments have not been marshaled against me because in truth they do not exist. Instead there has been a fair amount of special pleading. I haven’t been quite sure how to defend an economic position from what are essentially non-economic arguments. So I chose to back up a bit.

            This is to me an old American story. “Factory at the center of a town dies. People move on.” No one comes to save the community. It dissolves and its constituent parts re-attach somewhere else. Or perhaps they stay according to preference. But there is no responsibility placed upon the wider collective to maintain the affected community in the face of adversity. The community itself is responsible for its future. So I wondered if I had been seeing this problem through American eyes. And maybe those eyes didn’t see clearly in a British context.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Avi posted further down about the mythos of miners – and I agree with both him and you that there’s something particularly evocative in British culture of mining communities which does result in de facto (!) special pleading. Certainly you could find easy parallels in the UK – farming communities, industrial works (car manufacturing used to be a big one which has direct comparisons with places like Detroit in the States; we also had kerfuffles over Cadbury’s/Kraft a few years back), and like your own experience, defence – which get a bit of attention in the moment but nothing like the lasting impact that miners have had.

            Personally, I would be happy to extend consideration to any community which was overwhelmingly rooted in a single source of employment – actually, it strikes me as sensible to do so before any crisis hits that employment. Rather like the ecological side of the Irish Famine, where lack of diversity in crops ultimately exacerbated a disaster, lack of economic diversity in large communities puts them at higher risk of complete collapse. I’d also much rather that State funds were pushed into programmes for training and skills (with high value placed on constant appraisal of whether particular skills were required) than in maintaining perpetual dependence. Ultimately, though, you still need some form of private enterprise.

            There is a cultural difference from the USA – partly because in the U.S. there might well actually be places to go to. Given the continental scope of the nation, not to mention the way its economy has always been structured around constant (re)building, it’s not beyond the realms of likelihood that there is actually a job for your skills in the next state over. To be fair, there’s a high chance that there is a job somewhere in Europe – but we face language barriers, and in the time of the mining strikes, sovereignty barriers. From a U.S. perspective, the UK’s situation is rather more like a small state where there are higher cultural, linguistic and training barriers to moving out into other states (like Missouri maybe?! 😉 ). They can be overcome, and there are European examples where this is the case – after Iceland’s default, for instance, a large number of citizens had to work overseas to supplement their increasingly depressed wages at home with foreign currency earnings. So I’m not averse to the point that there are possibilities that can be “chosen” (inasmuch as necessity is a “choice”), but they are far harder to pursue than taking to the interstate, and as a result not practical for many. After all – on the other side of the debate we all know how well-loved unskilled foreign labour is.

            Knowing that this is the case, I would feel that it was incumbent on me that part and parcel of making tough economic conditions was ensuring that those who lost out through no fault of their own except the place of their employment were at least provided with realistic support. The point about Thatcher (and to be fair, both Wilson and Callaghan also) was that they didn’t devote very much to doing so at all. It’s that failure in the aftermath that forms my view that they are at least partly complicit in the creation of generational dependency in parts of the UK, which ultimately has economic consequences in the long-term which are probably far greater than the cost of subsidising an industry, and certainly more than subsidising reskilling.

      • dannybhoy

        “What is not often stated is that the Gov used taxpayers money to defeat the miners.”
        What else would they use?
        That’s what governments always do. Some say it’s their ‘raison d’etre.’

    • Just Visiting
    • Phil R

      “Thatcher’s sin was to destroy the Miner’s most cherished possession – entitlement”

      But they were right. The Bible speaks about our entitlement and our obligations to others.

      The Bible calls it Justice. It is mentioned a lot. David and Bathsheba is is just one example. Thatcher was David and the miners Uriah. Bathsheba was the new Britian of low wages and the door open for the exploitation of the poor (Esp women) for Thatcher’s backers.

      Injustice is using your power to take away the good things that God has given the poor and use them for your personal gain.

      The miners were poor, but the good things were community and a sense of worth. Thatcher took this away from them without giving them anything else in return. Yes they see the positives now (They are pragmatic, they are Welsh) but it came at great cost to family life and community cohesion.

      • alternative_perspective

        I can’t really agree. Coal mining was becoming increasingly uneconomic. So through direct taxation everyone, old grannies, young families, everyobe alike subsidised an industry that was dying on its feet. Merely to keep people in the status quo because we didn’t have the imagination and will to reallocate them elsewhere. But let’s not forget many other industries suffered as badly but because they weren’t unionised and part of a monopoly they never got the mention.

        The coal mines weren’t always so, neither were the villages that grew up alongside them. the last generation of miners weren’t willing to do what the first did, move to where the new opportunities were.

        The problem was nationalisation which centralised decision making and inculcated a national sense of obedience and subjection to the authorities. Individuals were disrmpowered politically and by community culture indoctrinated to a passive acceptance of their destiny.

        You can see this writ large in the former soviet republics where individual enterprise and innovation is still uncommon, where the masses simply wait for the state to provide, and when it doesn’t they fall into poverty and depression, as per the former mining communities.

        Where Thatcher failed was that she did not appreciate the inertia and emotional commitment to the mines and the general lack of transferable skills the miners had. Cutting them off in the manner she did was harsh and left hundreds of thousands of men and their families without a future, economically she had to do it.

        We should remember that labour closed more mines for the same reason during its tenure than the Tories did but the unions gave them a free pass.

  • Dominic Stockford

    It was notable that when I was waiting for the passing by of the gun carriage bearing her coffin, on Fleet Street, someone nearby planned shouty nonsense but was gone before they opened their mouths. The police understood the good order that her beliefs stood for, and still have some respect for them.

  • len

    Margaret Thatcher saw it as her mission in life to emasculate the unions after she had witnessed the unions dispose of Ted Heath the traitor . And she did a pretty good job of destroying the unions and to drive her point home had concrete poured down the mines shafts to seal them for all eternity.Shame really because the UK is pretty much a huge coalfield and I believe the Nazis(as were)had devised a process to turn coal into a substitute for petrol….But love Maggie or hate her one had to respect her determination and courage.

    • Anton

      The coal is still there and you can dig other shafts and drain old mines to get it.

      • len

        It might come to that someday?

    • avi barzel

      There is a good argument to be made that the British unions and their world-renown and much-joked about laziness and culture of entitlement(esp. here, in Canada of the 70s and 80s which saw an influx if British emigres) tanked Britain’s economy and dealt a mortal blow to its manufacturing sector. It’s not that its competitors, chiefly Hong Kong and Japan killed it; the drain of working capital and strain on government treasury through excessive wages and social expenditure demands prevented modernization and innovation. What is clear in retrospect, is that Thatcher and “thatcherism” saved whatever was left of Britain’s economy by restoring some of its competitiveness.

      Yes, coal is a remarkable resource and we have not seen the end if yet, claims of “green energy” charlatans notwithstanding. Still, with the technology in Thatcher’s time, and the brakes the unions threw on any attempt to bring down the cost of extraction, coal was an expensive dud which only hobbled the economy and slowly killed its overpaid workers.

      • dannybhoy

        Well said Avi. My father’s father worked in the shipyard at Jarrow, and all his sons were expected to follow his example. My father tried it and hated it and ran off to join the Royal Navy. He never lost that work ethic though and drummed it into his children that you go where the work is..He said that the British working man was his own worst enemy, and allowed the left wingers to take over the unions.
        Margaret Thatcher remains one of our greatest Prime Ministers, and she did more to turn this country around then any other PM since ww2.
        We watched the delectable Joanna Lumley’s new travelogue on ITV last night
        http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep1week29/joanna-lumleys-trans-siberian-adventure
        You see her in a chinese classroom with well behaved teenage schoolchildren speaking perfect English, learning about the world. This is what we are up against, and we have to stop thinking that the world owes us a living.

        • Anton

          Yes. We live in a globalised economy, there are thirty Chinese children for every one of ours, and they are educated to better standards.

        • avi barzel

          Just got your post notification Danny; nine hours later!

          What I don’t know is what safety nets, if any, were spread for the miners. None would have been vicious, since mining is more than a job, it’s a culture with localuzed communities, it’s own outlooks and even sub-languages. I imagine like the Cockney, they had their rug pulled out from under them and scattered to the wind. Had a Cockney-speaking friend here in Canada I hung out with, at the time I was still learning English, so you can imagine how confused my ESL teachers were.

          Anyway, too much leniency is unsustainable too. Here the feds issue transfer payments to the Maritimes, the provinces on the Atlantic seaboard, to keep the idle fishing villages and towns going and you have generations living on benefits of all sorts and make-work projects with the expected social problems this entails. In the end, it’s always better for us to take the wanderer’s staff and try a new life; it’s been the story of our kind since we trickled out of the drying African savannahs, all the way up to the lush hunting grounds by the ice shields of Europe and Asia.

      • dannybhoy

        I think human beings are always at their best (and perhaps paradoxically their happiest ) when they are overcoming adversity.

        Once
        they have plenty of food, shelter and security they do indeed begin to
        develop culture like music, literature and art. Inevitably though
        complacency sets in and the creative urge peaks, and goes into decline.
        Most peoples do anyway.

        Take the Canadians for instance.
        (Please..)

        I
        do admire the fact that you and your family left your home country and
        set off in search of freedom and opportunity. Your having to learn
        English reminds me of a very funny book I read years ago called ,
        “The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N” by Leonard Q. Ross.
        Did you ever read it?

        Another
        funny Israeli writer was Ephraim Kishon. Originally from Hungary, he
        emigrated to Israel, I think in the fifties. The first one of his books I
        read was “Goodbye Mrs.Lot.”

        An extremely funny man.
        http://www.ephraimkishon.de/en/my_favorite_stories.htm

        There is an American (I think) saying..
        “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade..”

        To wallow in bitterness and resentment is not only a waste of life, it makes others miserable too.

        • avi barzel

          We actually migrated 3 times, and in each place moved homes at least thrice. An oxcart caravan would have made things easier, but folks would have nothing to do with such (I was a fan of everything by Jules Verne …translated into Czech and published in the early 1900s… as a kid and read a story of an Irish family which travelled to North America the long way, through whole of Europe, Asia and the Bering Strait all the way down to California in an oxcart house made out of a huge barrel). Being in the same neighbourhood now for over 20 years still feels pretty weird to me, and as much as I like to see the same place and people, an itch comes up now and again, melancholy sets in, and I sniff around for long-distance trucking stints among my old buddies in transportation.
          Never read Ross, and I made a note of the name and title, as I finally paid off my considerable library fines (no mercy at our library). Currently I’m a third way through a second reading in a decade of Patrick O’Brian’s 20 or so Captain Aubrey novels…in the middle of The Letter of Marque if you’re a buff. As for Kishon’s books, I’ve actually had them read to me by a friend, in English, as we semi-napped on his lazy boy chairs over a number of long, lazy summer Shabbats!

          • dannybhoy

            “We actually migrated 3 times, and in each place moved homes at least thrice.”
            ?You owed money?
            I love travelling. That was my dad’s influence with his stories of life in the Navy, and his childhood. He was a great story teller.
            In fact I sometimes think I enjoy the travelling more than the arriving. Our little house in Norfolk has kept me occupied. We live in a village and I love taking the bike out into the countryside and exploring the farmers tracks leading into the fields. The barrel caravan trek sounds great. A bit like Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.
            Haven’t read any Patrick O Brian’s books, but loved Master and Commander with Russell Crowe.

  • Athanasius

    When even an arch conservative like Peter Hitchens concedes that Thatcher was not a great prime minister, is it not far past time to admit that the English obsession with the woman (and it doesn’t pass Hadrian’s Wall or Offa’s Dyke) has much more to do with the weird “dog ugly” sexual peculiarities unique to that country than it does to politics?

    • The Explorer

      Difficult to pinpoint Hitchens’ precise affiliations: given his background as a Trotskyite and his scathing comments about the current Tory party and ‘Mr Slippery’.

      • CliveM

        It should be noted he isn’t a great fan of Churchill either.

        • Dreadnaught

          He’s not alone there by any means.

          • CliveM

            I think Mr Hitchins would be hard put to describe any Prime Minister as great.

    • William Lewis

      I seem to remember you making similar racial, sexual slurs on this thread but you hadn’t promoted yourself to cyber-sainthood at that stage Athanasius. It was just dear old Corrigan in those days.

      • Inspector General

        Corrigan rides again?

        • William Lewis

          Undoubtedly, Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            Good Lord!

          • The Explorer

            Enough to make you start thinking twice about reincarnation.

        • DanJ0

          I thought that was well known. :O

          • CliveM

            You knew?

          • William Lewis

            DanJ0 suggested it a while back, Clive.

          • CliveM

            Missed that!

            I wonder if Athanasius will be back.

          • dannybhoy

            I still miss Mrs Proudie..

          • CliveM

            Me to

          • bluedog

            What happened to Mrs P? Did she formally sign off? She often talked about doing so.

          • CliveM

            Yes she gave a formal farewell.

          • bluedog

            What pity. At times she enthusiastically talked about arranging a soiree at the Palace for His Grace’s communicants. Fortunately it never took place. One could imagine the most almighty row breaking out after the first bottle of madeira.

          • CliveM

            Yes sad and typically a good read.

          • dannybhoy

            She/he? has a delicious sense of humour, a humour you don’t often see now; very sharp and perceptive, but not cruel. A bit Hinge and Bracket-ish I always thought.
            Perhaps she felt that the blog was becoming a bit too serious or strait laced, I don’t know.
            I only know she made oi larf..

          • CliveM

            She said the blog had become cruel, and her whimsey was no longer suited to the site.

          • dannybhoy

            Hmm.
            Without wishing to pry, did she say in what way cruel?

          • CliveM

            No she didn’t, as far as I can remember. She also seemed to think it had all gotten to serious.

            If you look you should be able to find it.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I do remember her saying about it getting serious. I always blamed you for that..
            ;0)

          • CliveM

            And probably with good reason.

          • IanCad

            Must have missed it.

          • CliveM

            Yes it’s strange how so few people picked it up.

            Hope I’ve not been imagining things!!

          • The Explorer

            Corrigan didn’t leave voluntarily, if I remember right: Cranmer expelled him. So probably he’ll be back; though maybe not as Athanasius. Or Athanasius may continue until given the heave ho like Corrigan. Interesting to see.

          • CliveM

            Ahhhhhh……….

            Least said, soonest mended then.

          • dannybhoy

            Sounds like a nasal breathing disorder .

          • The Explorer

            The two topics that most got Corrigan going were Henry Ireton (very understandably, for an Irishman) and Israel.

          • dannybhoy

            I have had some internet experience of Irishmen who hate Israel/Jews and gefilte fish..
            I could understand the gefilte fish.
            I have an unproven theory that some peoples who have not only experienced oppression, they almost built their identity around it. They will always side with whoever they see as the underdog, They read into other situations the same subjection, the same humiliations and struggles, the same justification of violence and the killing of innocents ‘for the sake of the Cause…
            They are blind to anything else and have a tendency to use emotive words to describe the experience..
            A kind of group vicarious suffering.

      • The Explorer

        Neat bit of detective work!

        • William Lewis

          Surprisingly elementary dear Explorer. I just googled Corrigan and Cranmer.

      • carl jacobs

        Athanasius is Corrigan reborn? Well, that explains things.

    • avi barzel

      Eek! What a strikingly repulsive and stupid fellow you are. Rather than pretending to be incisive and articulate, why not be true to your class and temperament and amuse us instead by screeching and rolling in your own dung?

  • Anton

    Dear Durham Miners’ Association

    Margaret Thatcher’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave
    But her soul goes marching on.

  • preacher

    Margaret Thatcher is out of reach of the miners & only answerable to one person now.
    All the hatred & bile will not harm her, but it will burn inside those that hold it.
    Like a fire in a pit, it kills. eating like acid into the soul.

    She was human, she got things right & she got things wrong. A human failing, but in some ways she had more testosterone than most of the ‘men’ who’ve succeeded her.
    If some of the union members could witness the way that some of their leaders lived, it would be their effigies in the coffin not hers. It had nothing to do with the workers rights, it was a power struggle, plain & simple. A bid for power by the hard left versus the tory right.
    The Public School left occupy Westminster opposite the Public School right. The non Public School left attempted to seize power on the backs of the workers, with guile & Communist rhetoric & the workers bought the scam.

    Let it Go, it’s over you are just looking old & antiquated, like the Ku Klux Klan. Stop living in the past, move on.
    We respect & thank you for the awful task you did to supply us with warmth & light. We remember with Love & sadness those that perished in falls, explosions & from Lung disease bought on by the dreadful conditions that you tough men endured. Don’t spoil it now by trying to resurrect old hatreds.

    Blessings to all. P.

    • CliveM

      It’s all academic now anyway. Would the pits be open today if Thatcher hadn’t got her way? Unlikely, there was an economic inevitability in their closure. That combined with the move away from fossil fuels and they were living on borrowed time anyway.

      As you say hate destroys those who hate and in the context of those responsible, the whole happenings give a window into their souls. Bitterness takes the joy out of life.

  • Powerdaddy

    ……It is a disturbing level of hate which wishes upon anyone an eternity of torment and suffering, but the Left seem to be disposed to it……

    Eternal torment and suffering in hell is a religious belief, not a political one. And the RELIGIOUS who up hold this idea DO have a disturbing level of hate.

    Terrible lack of introspection from the author.

    • preacher

      Totally agree. No true Christian should preach the fear of punishment with relish at the prospect of anyone’s suffering.
      The gospel is God’s way of delivering people from having to face His justice & judgement.
      No one deserves His love & mercy, but as the gospel of John says – God so LOVED the World that He sent His Son to pay for all our sins if we accept His sacrifice for them.
      ” Simple’s ! “. P.

      • Powerdaddy

        Loony Toons! The land that logic forgot.

        ” Mental’s ! ” :/

      • dannybhoy

        Amen! The revelation that God actually loves you is one of life’s most wonderful experiences. That no matter what happens He will be with you and sustain you and never gives up on you. Wonderful and humbling..

    • The Explorer

      Agreed. Difficult to wish an eternity of torment on someone if you don’t believe in eternity. But when it came to creating Hell on Earth, the Left had a track record in the Twentieth Century second to none.

      • Powerdaddy

        Second to God……..

        • The Explorer

          Temporary hell = bad; eternal Hell = bad. Although fundamentalist nutjobs may rejoice in it, in Christian thought Hell is a tragedy.
          The Bible is oblique about it; the full loving detail is to be found in the Qur’an. (The Christian Hell and the Islamic Hell, of course, have very different populations.)

          • Powerdaddy

            I’m confused…..
            Is the use of hell and eternal torment and torture to punish infinetly a good idea or a bad idea?

          • The Explorer

            Living within your means is a good idea. Spending more than you earn is a bad idea. Getting old and dying is not a good or bad idea; you can’t avoid it, even with financial prudence. It’s just the way it is.

            Where there is rebellion against God there is Hell. It’s just the way it is. Was it a good idea to bring the universe into being, knowing that humanity would rebel? Seems like a bad idea. No existence, no rebellion. No rebellion, no Hell. God presumably thought it was worth it, and since God is the source of our reasoning power we must assume God was right. And Christianity offers a way past the rebellion.

            The only way to get rid of Hell is a naturalistic explanation for the Universe. No God; no Hell. Win win: provided the explanation is true.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Was it a good idea to bring the universe into being, knowing that humanity would rebel? Seems like a bad idea.”
            It would most certainly seem a bad idea if we humans could not help but do evil!

          • Powerdaddy

            ………”and since God is the source of our reasoning power we must assume God was right”……..

            Locked into the thought proccesses and pyschology of bronzeiron age goat herders.How backwards of you.

            No one should take comfort in a religion that preaches that eternal torture is both possible and somehow “just”.

            A hell devised by anyone, anywhere is a bad idea.

            But since you left your morals and logic to the care of retrograde superstitions, dreamt up by retrograde people in what is still to this day a retrograde part of the world, you could never agree…..

            Sad and pathetic in equal measures.

          • Can you make and work bronze?

          • Powerdaddy

            Sure, why not?

          • No, really, can you make, work and use bronze, starting with rocks and sticks? Because the ancestors you appear to despise did. So can you make bronze?

          • Powerdaddy

            Well, the average Joe in the street doesn’t need to know how to make bronze. We have moved on a bit since them days, technology wise. If I fancy owning some more bronze I will just pop into some shop or other and buy some. Easiest that way.
            Still it’s most likely it always was a specialized skill, I doubt any average Joe in the street back then could just knock himself up a chunk.

            I know of places you can spend the day at and watch all these ancient skills, technologies, crafts demonstrated to you. So im sure I could learn.

            I don’t dispise them. Just the religious silliness they spawned.

          • And how do you suppose our ancestors learned to make bronze? The point I am making is that people like you casually use off-the-shelf slogans like ‘bronze age’ to denote ignorance and stupidity. But they were no stupider than we are. If you want to demonstrate that Christianity is untrue you need to do better than this.

          • Powerdaddy

            The term bronze age is not a slogan and retrograde is the correct term to use. Having said that, these people were as resourceful as they were hardy. I tip my cap to them.

            The problem with them, for me at least, is that what they lacked in technology and science they way over compensated with superstitions and religious silliness.

            I’m sure they prayed for better living conditions and an easier life to this God or that God or to whatever was the fashionable superstition at the time, but we both know no good God worth his salt answers prayers, don’t we?

            And if you want prove Christianity is true don’t point to old skills and crafts.
            e.g. caveman were good at flintknapping so my superstition must be true.
            You need to do better than this.

          • You tip your hat to our Bronze Age ancestors but use the term ‘ bronze age’ as a metaphor for superstition and ignorance.

            I said nothing that could be implied to suggest that ‘cave men were good at flintknapping so my superstition must be true’ What a bizarre assertion!?!

            I have set out in detail my reasons for believing biblical Christianity to be true on my web site questiondarwin.com. Because I care about Dawkinists and want to help enlighten them if possible, but can’t spend hours every day correcting the same old errors.

            Kind regards and goodbye.

          • Powerdaddy

            Bronze age people were superstitious and ignorant about many many things, why would you question such a statement?

            If you don’t understand my caveman comment then why are we talking about my ability to make bronze?

            I don’t know how to make bronze but if I wanted to I would get taught and make some. But, like you it seems, I don’t understand how this has any bearing on religions?

            Any clearer?

            Happy smelting. ………

  • I applaud this post because of its focus on the way that evangelical nonconformity once had such a beneficial influence on ordinary working people.

    Writing in 1912, the French historian, Elié Halévy, asks, “Why was it that of all the countries of Europe, England has been the most free from revolutions, violent crises and sudden changes? We have sought in vain to find the explanation by an analysis of her political institutions and economic organisation”.

    Halévy goes on to state that England was different, because the working classes had been reached by evangelicalism. It was Biblical Christianity which was giving ordinary people hope, purpose and moral integrity. Margaret Thatcher was a politician who would have understood this.

    Basil Williams in The Oxford History of England explains how the Methodist preachers helped to make large numbers of ordinary folk “the deeply religious and self-respecting people which the lower middle class of factory workers and shopkeepers had become by the 19th century”.

    My only great disappointment was Mrs Thatcher’s support for Sunday trading, which her Methodist forbears would not have condoned.

    • dannybhoy

      Amazing to think how many programmes and institutions for the working man came from that evangelical Christian impetus. I seem to remember that many of the early union leaders were also Christian.
      But don’t tell DanJ0..

      • So true Danny. The Tolpuddle Martyrs came from such a background. The early union leaders learnt their social concern and leadership skills in the chapel. Many of the great 19th century social reforms were initiated by evangelical Christians : William Wilberforce (abolition of slavery), John Howard (prison reform), Lord Shaftsbury (working conditions in the factories) and Robert Raikes (the Sunday School movement and literacy amongst poor children).

        • Dreadnaught

          Surely the need for reformers as mentioned was a consequence of the actions of other Christians, the overlords, and establishment figures at the time.

          • The establishment figures willing to condone social wickedness would not have been true believers. Those born again of God’s Spirit and believing the Scriptures to be God’s word have always been a minority in society, but in the 19th century the evangelicals were a minority influential enough to make a difference. I do not defend nominal cultural Christianity, but only the true faith according to the Scriptures.

          • Dreadnaught

            I do not defend nominal cultural Christianity…

            Making the assumption on my part that you are a genuine Rev, I doubt if you can defend mainstream CoE either. I challenged your assertion that the like of Wilberforce etc, were good men and women because of their faith when it was their established Church was up to its oxteds in blind hypocrisy and pursuit of financial enhancement.
            I am saying there is unlimited good in people without religious indoctrination. Are you saying that Churches (the all had blood on their hands at some time) weren’t really Christian?
            for instance:
            Church apologises over role in slavery.
            1710, when the planter Christopher Codrington died, leaving his 800-acre Barbados plantations to the Church’s newly-established Society for the Propagation of the Christian Religion in Foreign Parts (SPG).

            After the plantation was left to the SPG, its slaves were
            branded on the chest with the word “society”, to remind everyone that these were slaves of the Lord. In 1740, 30 years after the Church took over, four out of every 10 slaves bought by the plantation died within three years.
            “Most people in Barbados are not too troubled by these issues,” Prof Marshall said. “It was not so much the SPG that the Church should be apologising for as the activities of the individual parsons who kept plantations
            and slaves for sheer profit.” Telegraph Feb 2006

          • I would not even attempt to defend much mainstream CofE, insofar as its doctrines are merely a conformity to the political correctness of the moment. In both Anglicanism and nonconformity there has been an ongoing departure from Scripture over very many decades, and a resort to following of the doctrines of secular liberalism (abolish poverty, create social equality, embrace diversity) at the expense of the message of the sinner’s need to be saved.

            Re slavery, it was evangelical Baptist and Methodist missionaries to the Caribbean which began the battle against slavery there. Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect were likewise evangelical Anglicans (that distinction from nominal cultural Anglicanism must be made). Quite simply then, it was not atheists or liberal unbelievers, nor nominal Anglicans, who gave the impetus to the abolitionist cause, but Bible-believing evangelicals.

            Anyone who openly defies and rejects Scripture and God’s moral law is not a true Christian, because Christianity is an entirely revealed religion. Reject what God has revealed in His word and one rejects the faith outright. A majority vote in a synod or conference cannot overturn Scripture.

            This disqualification of the nominal professor is plainly taught by Christ in Matthew 7:21 and John in 1 John 2:4. These verses apply to those who claim to be Christian, but who follow the world’s standards, thus confirming the reality of the concept of a nominal and merely cultural religion which does not lead to salvation.

          • Dreadnaught

            Matthew 7:21 and John in 1 John 2:4. These verses apply to those who claim to be Christian

            Makes me wonder why this has had so little visible effect on the historic record of Christian Churches and their various administrations. I’ll leave it there – thanks for you responses,

          • Thank you likewise.

  • John Thomas

    Margaret Thatcher may not burn in hell – but what of those evil socialist leaders that the miners’ leaders had much respect for, I mean Lenin, Stalin, and Mao …? They, and many of there ilk, may well have an uncomfortable eternity coming to them.

  • big

    What an absolute joke! If Thatcher was around during the days of Jesus she would have privatised crucifixion,and then financialed the whole thing for her filthy rich friends like Pinochet .Lets stop all this phony blather, the woman was a monster, who supported other monsters. the Pinochet Junta had no parallel in the history Chile for its brutality ,over 11000 people were kiled within 3 months.She had no problems selling weapons to those head chopping wahhabi monsters in Riyadh,and finally took stacks of money from big tobacco to help fix the free market she was so ideologiclly addicted to. Her true , and only religion was power and greed.Good for the miners!