The recent boorish, insensitive and ignorant comments made by the Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson laughingly implying that the 1980’s and 90’s Tory pit closure programme was about protecting the environment, comes as no surprise. The government’s constant false narrative about the 1984/5 miners’ strike is part of their attempt to rewrite history and repeat false information about why the Tories wanted to destroy organised labour, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the trade union movement in Britain. The Thatcher government’s destruction of the British coal industry without any alternative industrial strategy to follow, resulted in enormous consequences and suffering for miners, their families and mining communities and remains an issue that is still strongly felt across Britain today.
Kevin Horne, ex miner and Orgreave veteran said:
“Millions of people throughout the UK were involved in supporting the miners and the NUM protests to stop pit closures and save jobs and communities. The Conservative government used the full force of the state to demoralise, damage and attack us. Now they are presenting past events to suit their own purposes. Boris Johnson constantly distorts the facts and it’s farcical that he is presenting the Tory government as one that is keen to protect the environment that they have appeared to persistently destroy”
Kate Flannery, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign said:
“The Tory government continues to not only re-write the past but also fails to be accountable for their past actions. They are out of step with the rest of Britain. The Welsh Senedd have continuously called for an inquiry into the events at Orgreave and the 1984/85 miners’ strike and the Scottish Parliament have already acted to bring about some form of truth and reconciliation for ex miners and ex mining communities. Following an independent review into the policing of the 1984/5 miners strike, the Scottish government announced in October 2021 that they would legislate to pardon miners arrested during the strike. It’s time for the Tory government to also account for the past instead of creating new falsehoods.
We must not let the government continue to pretend that environmental issues are at the forefront of their political agenda. Their record on tackling the climate crisis has been condemned by many leading scientists and former government advisers. We are not fooled by the ridiculous rhetoric of Boris Johnson”