Friday, November 23, 2012

Hillsborough and The Miners Strike

The recent revelation that Police colluded to ensure the prosecution and jailing of miners during the 1984-85 miners strike, comes as no surprise to those active at the time.

The only surprise is that it has been revealed in our lifetime, a fact only due to the tireless efforts of the Hillsborough campaign for justice, which highlighted the establishments successful attempts to hide the truth of what really happened to 96 innocent Liverpool supporters killed at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989

Not only were the 96 football fans who died, defamed but the Tories and their establishment friends attempted to vilify the whole City of Liverpool, that rallied to support the families. 

The Hillsborough Inquiry, highlighted establishment collusion and police collusion at the highest levels and it soon became evident that the same tactics used to marginalise the Hillsborough families, had also been used extensively during the miners strike.

During the Miners  strike 11,291 people were arrested, of whom 8,392 were charged, we now know many of those charged were totally innocent.

COHSE activists at the time feared that the sequestration and imprisoning of miners was simply an attempt by the establishment to smash a democratic and free trade union in Britain.

COHSE had always had a strong bond of friendship towards the miners and a "debt of gratitude" had grown over many years, not least because the miners had often taken action in support of nurses and NHS staffs pay and they campaigner alongside us to defend hospitals from closure.

So it was that a "middle of the road" union like COHSE would play a critical role in ensuring, that to the surprise of Neil Kinnock and Labour Party apparatchiks a resolution at the October 1985  Labour Party conference was carried calling for a future Labour Government to investigate the jailing of miners and a full scale amnesty. 

The Labour Party leadership were sure of victory so it was to their great shock to find that the decisive vote in favour was cast by COHSE. 

To COHSE's great pride and the Labour Party leadership's shock.

Of course the Blair government did nothing about the Amnesty or for that matter Hillsborough, but the truth has finally begun to appear and those of us who stated that the jailing were a simply political act have been vindicated. 

Unfortunately many convicted and framed miners lost their pensions and employment, many died not knowing that their innocence would one day be revealed.

We salute those brave striking miners once again for their courage and fortitude against overwhelming forces.

NOTE:Hillingdon Miners Support Group raised over £12,000 pounds (about £50,000 today) during the 1984-85 miners strike.

Miners from Kent slept at the Hillingdon TUSU in the High Street, West Drayton. Special recognition should go to Mothers Pride Bakery workers, and the Bakers Union who organised a very effective 50p a week levy.

Hillsborough: The London Borough of Hillingdon made a donation of £10,000 to the Liverpool Mayors Hillsborough Appeal, one of the largest donations made to the appeal. Having have had at least one of it's young residents killed at Hillsborough, The Hillingdon Labour Group felt honour bound to move a resolution to make the donation, which secured the support of just one Liberal councillor (The others abstained), this was enough on the "Hung Council" to secure the donation was made. The Conservative Councillors to their utter shame opposed, referring to the anti Liverpool fans statements in the press.

Below: NUM Coal not Dole snowman, Hayes, Middlesex 1984