|J'suis rolling up mes manches, Borees . And that Prittee can't come to my party.|
|stupid blow-up rubber dinghies.|
|will someone carefully explain to me why this isn't a contemptuous mockery of women?|
Oor Gnasher, speaking to Andrew Marr on the eve of her Conference speech to her party?
It was said that this was corporate negligence towards the working class.
"You were then plugged into a board - the board was behind your head on the bed - like a piece of wood board. There were all these plugs and leads coming out of the board which would be fixed into the cap on your head and you had to sit there and be interrogated, basically. You had to stare at these different lights and follow this beam that went around the room. It was torture, interrogation. You lost all sense of who you were."
Gerald Kirwan, eight years old when he was rescued, said he was attached to machines and asked if he was afraid of the dark or if he had nightmares. He said: "I was thinking... you better not say the wrong thing or you might not be coming back out of here. It was just horrifying."
The Aberfan Disaster Fund also wanted to give bereaved families £5,000 - the Charity Commission eventually sanctioned that sum after initially holding out for £500, but advised that "before any payment was made, each case should be reviewed to ascertain whether the parents had been close to their children and were thus likely to be suffering mentally".
Parents were questioned about their feelings for their children. It was as though the working class were a different species, lacking human emotion. Ironic - as the working class do not send their children away from home at the age of 7 or 8 to cry themselves to sleep in expensive boarding schools, and, if really unlucky, to be beaten and buggered by senior boys and masters.
When the sealed documents were released after 30 years, the Charity Commission expressed regret - the regret can be summarised along the lines of we're sorry we've been found out, the past is a foreign country, they did things differently then and we won't do it again.
Less than 20 years after the Aberfan disaster, Mrs Thatcher solved the problems presented by working class mining communities. The Miner's Strike of 1984 to 1985 was led by Arthur Scargill of the National Union of Mineworkers against the National Coal Board in an attempt to prevent colliery closures - which would destroy mining communities and livelihoods. Opposition to the strike was led by Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who wanted to reduce the power of the Trade Union movement. mr ishmael reviewed a BBC documentary about the Miner's Strike:
WOTSONTELLY. ALL OUR WORKING LIVES, BBC 4, THE COAL INDUSTRY, MINING A DEAD HORSE. (17.10.2010)
Well worth a look, on many levels, this is contemporaneous documentary about the miners strike of 1984, spliced into a a recent history of coal mining versus the greenhouse gases agenda; one couldn't help but think that many of those types who coalesced around the miners would, today, be damning them as ecovandals; protest, like hemlines, comes dictated by political haute couturistes, angry layabouts at the Guardian, policing consumerisme totalitarienne, as though all we need to do is make constantly evolving informed choices and Money's teeth will be painlessly pulled; in my short, sweet lifetime coalmining - and, inescapably, coal burning - has been both virtue and vice; miners lionised, salt of the Earth blokes; miners holding the country to ransom, the enemy within. That the workshy at the BBC make a series called All Our Working Lives is an irony simply too delicious, darling.
Mr jgm2, mr mongoose and others who congregate here lament ever the nineteen-seventies' shortsightedness of organised labour and to a lesser degree the multiple incompetences of management and directors and insist that Ruin would not be so complacent had the unions been more co-operative - supposing the managers had had something on offer to co-operate with - if we had some eggs we could have ham and eggs, if we had some ham, that sort of thing, ifs and ands, if ifs and ands were pots and pans there'd be no need for tinkers and there'd be horses for beggars to ride on. I have never bought the argument that recalcitrant shop stewards buggered the economy, buggered industry, buggered everything. I believe that much that we rightly take for granted is due to organised labour in the early and mid-twentieth century, that all Tories are bastards, that Growth - population, consumption, energy expenditure - the Tory mantra of spunkfaced zombie boy and his gang - and by Tory I mean Labour, LibDem and the rest of consumerisme totalitairienne - is actually a synonym for planetary suicide, but fuck all that, there's enough air left to see me out, enough living seas; poison clouds are only just forming on the horizon, I'll be in the bosom of Abraham by the time zombieism runs its course. The miners strike, though, viewed through this prism, is almost enough to make a believer of me, to convert me to the labour-bashing cause.
Bob Dylan sang in 1964's North Country Blues that the Minnesotan Iron Range ore wasn't worth diggin', it's much cheaper down in the South American towns, where the miners work almost for nothing - early globalisation laying waste to communities defenceless against Money's pursuit of itself and in 'eighties Britain many felt that our mining communities would soon suffer the same, stars one by one they are folding, fate - coal bought-in, from abroad, their men made workless and depressed, their children made migrant; these were decent and righteous concerns shared by many. The strike became a focus for wider anxieties, for a head-to-head between the Then and the Now and in the brouhaha, in the All-I-Can-Do-Is-Confrontation posturing of Whisky Maggie, we all lost sight of the concept of Energy Security and Self-Sufficiency, of the fact that, maybe, these pits could have been made more competitive, less a filthy subterranean co-operative, more of an energy business, and maybe they would still be working, today, cleaner, vastly safer, massively more productive, maybe, most likely a carbon-capture technology in place, the envy of the world. All that stored-up sunshine, cleanly harvested, employing people.
Thatcher, though, happily pissing North Sea Oil revenues up the wall, the mad bastard, concerned herself only with a short-sighted, Methodist victory over her tribal enemies, cheered-on by vengeful, gutless spivs like Tebbit and that foul, screeching bullyboy, Ingham, she spun and she spun and she blew the mines down. Job done. Pour concrete down the mines. Rejoice, we are a fuckwit.
In the programme, once prominent strikers, union officials and scabs appeared, following footage of themselves shot during the strikes. These blokes, twenty-five years on, proudly still speak their fucking awful dialects, nobutting and summating and 'appenyerrightin' and loosin' and middlin' and mashin'; Jesus fucking wept, self-caricaturisng 'emselves, as though whole o t'world were a play, like, by that DH Lawrence, and them all reight good sooarts, werkin chaps, like. I wanted to punch them hard in the gob. I kind of agreed with them about the scabs, although the scabs made a good Thatcherite, right to work case for themselves and who could not be pissed off by the Tory politicisation of the cops, made crass and irreversibly obvious during the strike, but, oh, the language of these men, long redundant, handsomely so. We all have an argot - lovers, families, trades, regions but to go on national telly and speak like a sub epsilon Morlock is unforgiveable, a take-it-or-leave-it contempt for the viewer, and most significantly a diminution by slipshod carelessness of the arguments they made in the 'eighties about the strength and importance of their communities, the social capital which would be squandered by mine closures; interviewed today these men sounded like extras from Heartbeat or Emmerdale Farm. It's not as though they can't speak English, of course they can, it's just that, Oh fuck, I don't know what it is, but it's fucking stupid, like them; stage Lancashire, stage Yorkshire, stage Notting-um; All Our Yesterdays meets The Good Old Days, political struggle togged-up as music hall. Wankers.
But the greatest revelation to me was not the shallowness of the workers but the almost laughable shallowness of their champion-for-life, Arthur Scargill. More shrilly Thatcher than Thatcher herself, Arthur was nothing less than a diva, operatic in his fists clenched to his bosom, his arms outstretched, his head, though, rigidly immobile, lest dramatic gesture disturb his comb-over.
It is a fascinating documentary, interviews with Rudge, the man who bought many of the pits and made shitloads of money, hint at what might have happened, had the nation and the miners not been governed by screeching fuckwits, each as bad as the other, each emblematic of their own constituents, too stupid and too selfish to breathe. The sinister appearances of the National Coal Board's Ian McGregor, Thatcher's imported US industrial gangster, foreshadow Enron and Goldman Sachs and Haliburton, all the shit we now take for granted, pimps and gangsters advising the govament on how best to short-change the people.
The closing sequence is of one of those dialecting babymen, proper over t'moon, that his lad has followed him underground and now works maintaining the high speed belts which retrieve coal from the face, in an industry which now, where it once numbered more than a hundred thousand, employs six thousand. And we fret that some Ukrainian bandit might turn off our energy.
In the good old days, to which spunkface zombieboy would return us, coalmines were in careless, private hands; the Gresford Mining Disaster, in which 242 colliers were lost, and three men of the rescue brigade, was one of those terrible events which underpinned Scargill's shabby, vainglorious rhetoric, the owners' lust for profits far outweighing the safety of the miners. For those interested, the Albion Band's telling of the Gresford Mining Disaster is on youtube.
There's more from mr ishmael and his young friend Stanislav in the two books: Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack from Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow our link; a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed. (If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box - found at the bottom left by scrolling down - has been checked. You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.)
My mother was the youngest of a family of 13 kids raised in Cudworth near Barnsley. 2 or 3 of the kids died young - poverty. The males of the family all went down the local pit. There was a mining disaster and 3 of the brothers were killed. Her mother promptly packed up the family and went to Manchester to get away from mining. However, the males again stated coal mining. One of my uncles would cut coal with an axe upto his waist in water. He was retired early and could hardly walk, his knees were wrecked. We visited once a week and he would give us eggs from his chickens, and seasonal vegetables from his allotment. He was obviously a tough bloke, but surprisingly gentle.
I remember the Aberfan disaster vividly which of course brought up bad memories in my wider family.
I lived in Sheffield for a while where I met and married my wife. Some of her extended family were miners in Doncaster. Although we had moved to London by the time of the miners strike we regularly visited relatives in Sheffield. The strike was highly divisive in mining communities, even within individual families. And Scargill added petrol to the fire further dividing opinion. Even without Thatcher, I doubt that the coal industry would have ever recovered from such deep division amongst the workforce.
These are tough memories, mr mike. The millennial generation might wonder why miners would undertake such horrifically dangerous work after the lived experience of a mining disaster. The answer is - because they had to. Because there was no other work. Because they were brought up to the expectation of going down the pit, that's what your family did. Because you and your family would starve if you didn't. Shit times. On my recent road trip I visited the Beamish Living Museum in Northumberland. The mining communities of Northumberland and Wales were close - the miners and their families would go where the work was in the big coal seams; the quilting traditions of Welsh and Northumberland strippy quilts and wholecloth quilts were identical, as miners' wives, in addition to bringing up 13 kids in a couple of rooms, feeding them, keeping them clean and making their clothes, would work through the night hand stitching quilts with tiny, even stitches by inadequate light to sell to supplement the income made by their men down the pit. I visited the reconstruction of a pit village and sat in the classroom of a school just like the Pantglas School.
Thank you for sharing, mr mike.
There is a very interesting Living Museum in Ballarat, which in the second half of the nineteenth century was one of the largest gold producers in the world. It why Melbourne exists, and there are so many splendid Victorian buildings; it was the port for getting stuff in/out of Ballarat from the Empire. You can go down one of the gold mines and there are re-creations of the gold mining. Many of the miners were Cornish tin miners. Little blokes 5 ft tall who could work in the confined spaces. The local guides dress in period costume. I asked one if there was still gold to be found (fossicking is popular locally). With a straight face he said "no"; in his cravat he had a tie pin which was a gold nugget - a big one.
We have discussed these things here before, mr mike and mrs i. I have been down a dozen of the coal mines of the N Notts/S Yorks coalfield. I have stayed even further up north near Beamish for a reason and detail I can no longer remember apart from that I set fire to my bath-towel in the hotel room. But 'The Beamish Park Hotel' rings a bell.
Mr i and I, and I suspect mrs i and I, disagree about unionism and the 70s not because any of the three of us is wrong or wicked but because we have lived lives to this point from different origins.
I was born in Coventry and lived there in the sixties and seventies, and the car factories would strike/close early on Friday through some manufactured grievance more weekends than you can possibly imagine. They just cynically fucked off home after Friday lunchtime. Shackle this to my father, whose own father was born during the Irish Famine, and you can see how the answer to all of life's problems is "get the fuck out of bed and go to work! Nobody will help you and your family but you and your family". There was no TU solidarity in Connaught to be had, mrs i.
I worked in the coal industry in South Wales as early as the autumn of 1986. God, they were beaten men. Sad, heartbroken, fucked for sure. And also magnificent, They knew what community meant. My idiotic schoolboy purpose was to find ways of making the industry "more efficient". They knew but I didn;t that this meant the efficient - however I chose to measure it in my schoolboy short trousers - would survive and that the inefficient - their brothers - would not. One of them didn't but jumped off the top of the batteries one weekend. I processed this information on the Monday morning and couldn't look any of them in the face that Monday afternoon.
I met a man one day who was called, and I do not lie, Fab Dai. Fab was short for fabrication. He was a foreman who spent his entire working life fixing big metal things which had been broken by dragging rock out of the ground and about the place, and then making coke of it. He was a better engineer then than I am now. I have not a shred of a doubt about it. Dai and I got on to the extent that he once said 'We don't think you're a bad lad.' This BTW is a badge that a man more of a weasel than I hope I am would use to bring sleep in the dark hours of the night. All of them are gone. The whole industry of bringing cheap energy to poor folk so that they don't have to go to bed at 4pm in the winter is now called the devil.
I think that it is time to call the green blob 'domestic terrorists'. They want to hurt us and our children.
Now the question we have to ask is 'why?'.
Now the question we have to ask is ‘why?’
I may have mentioned it before, back down the road a while, mr mongoose; UN Agenda 21. Argued by, essentially well meaning ‘scientists’ that the world could not support the ever increasing consumption of an ever increasing population. These ideas were then jumped on by our betters, the rich and therefore cleverer and the Iknowbesters. Funnily enough there was little mention of CO2 back then being the evil that it apparently is.
We were to bring the developing world up to ‘our’ level, reducing hunger, providing brown children with clean water and real jobs, providing tax revenues to support their new found democracy, with its bureaucrats and govaments.
But of course that would be very expensive, who was to pay for all this good shit? Well not our betters, they’ve never paid for fuckall.
So, I hate beginning a sentence with so, however, it was argued that reducing western consumption would be the cheaper option and that’s what we’re getting.
Get everyone living in mega-cities, within walking distance of a bus or tram stop for travel to work, with food production, veggie only, around those cities and re-wilding the countryside and rain forests, for use only by the great an the good.
It’s cheaper to keep us cold, hungry and frightened, like the slopes, sand niggers and wogs we’re supposedly helping, rather than look to alternatives like, as you say, Nuclear or geothermal. Besides CO2 is stored sunshine, plant food. We need more of it.
I don't disagree with your analysis, mr inmate, but the problem is too many people, all expecting continuous growth and a decent standard of living. Overpopulation is the problem.
All of that is likely true, mr inmate. I believe that it is called 'curated information'. TPTB invest in a storyline and then nurture it and protect it against naysayers until it becomes nothing less than Holy Writ. 'The' science, 'the' investment. It is all about that endless repetition. Amo, amas, amat, one times two is two, two times two is four. Until you know it. Now our kids 'know' that climate change is physics, is scientific truth. And they also know fuck all else! It is completely wicked.
The late, great Hans had it right about population. The answer is not to limit consumption in the developed world but to raise living standards in the underdeveloped world. Why is this so difficult to understand?
I just watched Hans again myself. It is interesting what a decade brings. The data science is undeniable. Families who are more secure in the likelihood of their kids surviving have fewer kids. The engine of prosperity through intellectual investment in children leads to better lives, safer lives, family planning, folk that are healthier, wealthier and wiser. And fewer.
We'll forgive him his Scandie socialist nonsense about global governments solving things though. He was a good lad despite all that.
I don’t think the problem is over population mrs I, as mr mongoose says, with proper education, stable families are confident that their young will survive, thus no need for many, many kids. I think it was Hans who predicted that the world population would top out at around 9 billion, if the underdeveloped worlds housewives had washing machines. But of course they’d need consistent water and power, an we can’t have that can we Greta? Store more rain water, that’d be a good start, an it would lower the oceans to save those poor Marshall Islanders and barraknmichael’s waterfront property.
Gentlemen, it sounds like you are agreed that the problem is over population, but you differ from me in your analysis of how people can refrain from having large families. I think the solution is education for women, free access to contraception and abortion. You see, I'm thinking of the practical means of limiting population growth.
I liked Hans' lecture and the Ikea boxes as visual aids, mr mongoose - he's an amusing chap
Hans was with you - and indeed us all - on that, mrs i. the emancipation of women from constant pregnancy and the drudgery of manual household chores - not the least of which is fetching clean water - it all lends them time to teach their daughters to read and write.
The Magic Washing machine.
Brilliant, mr mongoose - of course everyone wants a washing machine. And once you've got one, you are not going to give it up. Washing machines for all - but the fewer people there are, all, we would hope, enjoying the benefits of industrialisation, the fewer washing machines will be needed. I loved Hans' story of his grandmother sitting in front of the washing machine to watch the entire cycle. I was similarly thrilled when we got a robotic vacuum cleaner. I would stand there watching Roomba spin around and launch itself on different trajectories until it ran out of battery and parked itself back on its charging station. The 1841 Census revealed that the Manse had 6 live-in servants - four females and two males.
How do you expect me to run this place without any servants, mr ishmael?
But you have a huge, tireless servant, mrs ishmael - Electricity.
Before before, mrs i, I was the wee pre-school one who helped my dear old with the Monday washing. Single tub, mangle and separate cyclindrical "spinner" (?). Sheets were the bastard, hauled out of the washer with those nasty, greasy tongs. (I think we put the top sheet on the bottom and washed the bottom one. Cotton. Hospital corners. Beds 'made' every morning before anything else.)
Whites first, the water falling back from the mangle and a wee pipe from the spinner back into the tub. Socks, kecks and footie kit last. It took forever in the summer. Lord knows how she got it all done in the winter. Even I can imagine the delight of Hans's grandma. That's a lot more freedom than deciding your own pronouns.
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