Christmas on the picket line is something that Margaret Thatcher has admitted she thought she’d never see.
She believed that the miners’ fight for jobs would crumble long before now. She thought the miners simply couldn’t hold out in the face of hunger, police harassment and brutality, the law and the courts, the media’s hostility, the coal board’s bribes – and so on.
But the miners themselves had few doubts. ‘We’ll strike until Christmas if need be,’ many said nearly ten months ago. Now that Christmas is here, the majority of miners are preparing to strike into 1985.
But the New Year will bring new difficulties. The coal board is preparing a fresh back-to-work drive with new bribes. The government is preparing the large-scale movement of coal stocks from pitheads in order to avoid power cuts.
Miners’ support groups have succeeded in giving strikers’ families a good Christmas. They need to keep up their efforts in the new year.
But the strikers and their families will still need food, fuel and clothes in January. If the collections dry up – even temporarily – the possible consequences are obvious. The efforts of supporters must be stepped up now to provide for next week and the week after.
We know that the striking miners are having a happy Christmas. If the essential support and solidarity work is done, we can hope for a victories 1985.
(22 December, 1984)
Two inspiring strikes show the way forward
We shouldn’t let them hide from the truth