Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2389

It's the Labour leaders who owe us miners an apology

I am a former Yorkshire miner who worked at the Silverwood colliery and was out on strike with tens of thousands of other miners during 1984-85.

Labour have recently launched a “justice for the coalfields” campaign calling on the Tories to apologise to me and all the other strikers.

For my part I don’t want an apology from the Tories—a party that protects the interests of the  rich. Thatcher will remain a hero amongst this elite for her war on the miners and our union, the NUM.

They do not care that this war resulted in the destruction of the coal industry and its communities.

Does Labour really see the leaders of the nasty party asking forgiveness from people Thatcher called “the enemy within”? 

However, if apologies are on offer how about one from Neil Kinnock, the Labour Party leader during the strike, and the rest of the party leadership?

Most miners and their families voted Labour but felt abandoned by the Labour leadership during the strike.

To our dismay Kinnock at best sat on the fence and at worse lined up with the wrong side.

He worried more about the views of a Tory media who ran false headlines about picket line violence. I with thousands of others suffered arrest and victimisation. 

In an attempt to break our spirits the police occupied our communities and earned themselves the term “Maggie Thatcher’s boot boys”.

Thankfully many thousands of working class people, including ordinary Labour Party members, supported us with food and finance. 

This support alleviated hardship and kept most of us from being driven back to work.

These people knew which side they were on—sadly Neil Kinnock did not.

Ian MitchellCromarty, Highlands

Banned for something we didn't do

Me and my friend were in Westfield’s shopping centre in Stratford, east London, when we were accused of shoplifting.

We were just walking around a shop talking when we were stopped and asked to come to the back.

They checked my pockets and found some eyeliner that I had been given that morning. 

They accused me of having stolen it from the shop because I didn’t have a receipt. They then searched my bag and took mine and my friend’s pictures.

They asked for our phone numbers and because my friend was so upset she got her mum’s number wrong and so they called the police.

When they arrived they said if we didn’t co-operate we’d have to go down to the station.

I was really upset and kept telling them it was mine, but they accused us of not co-operating. They even sent my friend out of the room at one point.

But the make up was mine, my parents could have told them that if they had called them.

Now me and my friend have been given a letter banning us for life from Westfield’s shopping centre.

Eleanor, aged 13, East London

Bad experiences for workers at Sports Direct

I read your article about the woman worker giving birth in a Sports Direct factory toilet (Socialist Worker 25 January) with interest. 

Our newspaper has also picked up on this and has wrote a few articles about the story.

We then went and asked the Polish embassy in London what they have done to help the mother. 

We received a statement from the Polish consulate in Manchester which is responsible for the area, Derbyshire, where the factory is.

They said they believed a short message from the local police who said that nothing happened which would put Sports Direct in a bad light. 

But we find this unbelievable. 

We have spoken to many workers who claim they have had bad experiences with this company.

Adam AndrezejkoEditor, NaszeStrony, Polish local newspaper

Don’t be apathetic

We have come to a point where both politicians and the media are attacking those who have nothing to do with the financial crisis.

The poor and the working class are made to carry the burden.

What do people do about it? They don’t vote because they say one party is as bad as the other. 

I’m sorry but this epidemic of apathy lets politicians get away with it.

Complaining about the status quo gets nothing done. Action against the status quo gets you somewhere. Don’t let them grind you down.

Liam John DourleyCheshire

Writing that Ukip hates

Since I last wrote a letter about how writing to your local newspaper gets results (Socialist Worker 7 December) I have made it onto the website of Swindon Ukip. 

Why is that, you ask?

Well it appears that through my writing to the local paper I angered their chairman, John Short. In letters sent to the paper I attacked Ukip and their homophobic, xenophobic and bigoted policies.

Indeed, I angered Short so much that he felt the need to complain that it is not “fair grounds” for me to accuse them of racism. 

Needless to say my letter writing about Ukip will continue.

Martin WebbSwindon

Labour failing us in Barnsley

Our local Labour councillors in Barnsley are not doing anything to help us in the town.

They are too scared of their leadership. 

It’s disgusting the way we are being treated with everything that is happening with the Tories and what they have brought in.

When it comes to the local election in May Labour will not be getting a vote from us.

Julie IngramBarnsley

Fascists’ rally gets blocked

Well done to anti-fascists for blockading 50 of the Jobbik Nazis at Holborn underground station in London.

It says everything about Theresa May that the only European she isn’t trying to keep out of Britain is Hungarian Nazi Gabor Vona, fuhrer of the fascist Jobbik party. 

Sasha SimicEast London

Well done comrades, keep the Nazis out!

Andy Reillyon Facebook

Solidarity! Drive Nazi scum off the face of the earth.

Alison Witherson Facebook

More on war resistance

You will find more about conscientious objectors during the First World War (Socialist Worker, 1 February) in the book The Monocled Mutineer.

The TV series of the same name ignores this part of the (true) story. I wonder why?

Eric Purvison Facebook

Truth about the massacre

Rahul Patel’s article A Military Massacre in India (Socialist Worker, 25 January) is a brilliant write up. It tells the truth about the onslaught on the Sikhs, a very law abiding community. 

Shame on Britain for helping and then keeping the world from knowing what actually happened in Punjab.

Sriguru HarGobind Sahib Tividalegurdwaraon Facebook

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Article information

Tue 4 Feb 2014, 16:21 GMT
Issue No. 2389
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