Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Britain in the 70's


Britain in the 1970′s


Dame Margaret Thatcher
As an ex-serviceman, I was liable to be called up to fight in the Falklands warhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falklands_War , a war I saw as futile because the battle was too far away, over a group of islands which until then nobody knew where they were and the supply lines to the troops were far too long. To ferry fuel and supplies, we had to use Vulcan aircraft http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Vulcan as they can be re-fuelled in the air, the only other aircraft the RAF had at the time able to do this was the Victorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Victor both aircraft were well used since the 50′s and due to be phased out. I still remember the scenes as HMS Sheffield went up in flames http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Sheffield_(D80) as an ex-serviceman, the war is something I will not forgive Margaret Thatcher for putting the country in.
As a general rule I never write about politics, to me, most politicians are the same and care little for the people who put them in power and misuse the system to personal advantage. This is a social history article.
The riots going on in London today, are led by people who are looking for any excuse for a fight. Most of the people will have no recollection of the endless strikes the UK was involved in before Mrs. Thatcher stood against the Unions. In the 70′s the UK was held to ransom by the miners. If you watch the videos which will flood the news, you will note a large portion of teenagers and men in 20′s who have no idea of the history behind the event.
Trade Unions were established to protect worker’s rights, how is this achieved by putting jobs at risk by striking? In the 70′s, people like Arthur Scargillhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Scargill and the leader of the N.U.R. (National Union of Railwaymen) Mick McGahey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_McGahey led the miners on strikes which crippled the UK.
Coal to the people who know what they are talking about is a carboniferous fossil fuel, it has a limited lifespan and the harder and quicker you dig it out, the quicker you deplete it. During the 70′s the miners were working double shifts and the countryside became cluttered with coal tips, where the coal was being dug put faster than it could be used.
I remember travelling down the UK from RAF Lossiemouthhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Lossiemouth and thinking, my Lord I hope we don’t get another Aberfan disaster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberfan_disaster
One has to recall during the 70′s the miner’s and their families were on very good money and often had two holidays in Spain a year. Scargill would turn up to the strikes in a Rolls Royce, while his men were on basic pay as they were on strike and therefore not allowed to work. He set up “flying pickets,” these men were from out of the area and were sent to agitate the local miners into fights with the police, then blend into the background and vanish.
At the beginning I said this was non-political and I hope I kept the post that way, as you see by the endless over use of the pits, the miners under Scargill ended up putting themselves out of jobs, coal can only be mined for as long as it costs less to mine it than you get for it and by the end of the 70′s these strikes meant it was cheaper to import coal from Sweden than to give UK miners the work, how is that protecting the livelihood of the mining community.
Sea coal is a form of cheap and poor quality coal which happens when the seam is close to surface and is washed ashore by wave action. This form is only good for home fires as it burns at too low a heat for furnaces and burns out too soon, many of the coastal areas of the NE of the UK are used to finding this variety of coal.

No comments:

Post a Comment