Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

The miners have nobody to blame but themselves. watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Margaret Thatcher didn't ruin the coal mining industry - the miners did.

    They drove a productive industry to death by constantly increasing the cost of their own labour at rates that were unsustainable, taking a great wealth-generating process and making it into an unproductive economic disaster zone.

    Thatcher faced a choice - continue to pay through the nose with the taxpayer's money to prolong the life of an industry riddled with disease, or allow the industry to fail due to the incompetence and unwarranted demands of the workers and their militant unions.

    She made the right choice.

    That the miners blame Thatcher for the closure of the pits is rather like deliberately setting fire to your own house and then complaining that nobody comes to put it out for you. They made their bed when they demanded a 30% pay increase and fewer working hours - and they're still lying in it now because they cannot be bothered to do anything productive. They complain that their towns and villages are still 'disadvantaged', but they are doing nothing productive to improve them. They're just sitting around and complaining, looking for handouts that they have not earned.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    Margaret Thatcher didn't ruin the coal mining industry - the miners did.

    They drove a productive industry to death by constantly increasing the cost of their own labour at rates that were unsustainable, taking a great wealth-generating process and making it into an unproductive economic disaster zone.

    Thatcher faced a choice - continue to pay through the nose with the taxpayer's money to prolong the life of an industry riddled with disease, or allow the industry to fail due to the incompetence and unwarranted demands of the workers and their militant unions.

    She made the right choice.

    That the miners blame Thatcher for the closure of the pits is rather like deliberately setting fire to your own house and then complaining that nobody comes to put it out for you. They made their bed when they demanded a 30% pay increase and fewer working hours - and they're still lying in it now because they cannot be bothered to do anything productive. They complain that their towns and villages are still 'disadvantaged', but they are doing nothing productive to improve them. They're just sitting around and complaining, looking for handouts that they have not earned.
    Sounds like nationalised industry to me
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    The miners were to blame if they had been more flexible and willing to adapt e.g. some redundancies, less pay the industry may have survived as there were some profitable mines but they were relentless.

    They hate Thatcher so much and have never forgiven her because she crushed them and the public loved it and kept voting for her
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ace123)
    The miners were to blame if they had been more flexible and willing to adapt e.g. some redundancies, less pay the industry may have survived as there were some profitable mines but they were relentless.

    They hate Thatcher so much and have never forgiven her because she crushed them and the public loved it and kept voting for her

    They didn't even have to go for pay cuts. Just modernisation. Take the Sheffield steel industry. It produced more steel after it modernised with less people.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    They didn't even have to go for pay cuts. Just modernisation. Take the Sheffield steel industry. It produced more steel after it modernised with less people.
    Many of the mines were extensively modernised (the so-called 'super pits') and there was consolidation, widespread closure of unproductive mines, relocation of miners and expanding use of technology throughout the 60s and 70s. The super pits were eventually deemed to be insufficiently productive as well, because the competition was gigantic open cast coal mining operations in other parts of the world, which were almost inevitably much cheaper.

    The core of the Scargill dispute was originally about how to gradually close down all the unproductive ones and create community restoration packages as a result. Scargill tried to politicise this as hard as he could and did a number of very stupid things, but it's also worth noting that the Tories got in a new boss for the NCB with the specific remit of facing down the NUM. There was a new attitude of '**** the miners' in the Thatcher govt, which wasn't much to do with industrial efficiency or the need for workers to be flexible. It was political payback time.

    The miners had a long history of struggle against appalling conditions pre-war and this strongly influenced their union culture; it wasn't very nice and it isn't very nice to treat them as people who should be 'blamed' and treated badly, even if they did have a leader who wasn't up to it. Thatcher made a big thing at the time of making it clear that she wasn't anti-miner but her government did not behave in a supportive way after the closures.

    I do wonder, if moderately inefficient UK coal had been kept as our primary electricity generating fuel, if we would have some of the bigger problems we now have. Most notably, soaring natural gas prices. Perhaps the pressure to make coal a clean fuel would have spurred on research into CO2 removal, etc. Coal is still used to generate a lot of our electricity, but it comes from abroad, which is not exactly great for our balance of payments.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Many of the mines were extensively modernised (the so-called 'super pits') and there was consolidation, widespread closure of unproductive mines, relocation of miners and expanding use of technology throughout the 60s and 70s. The super pits were eventually deemed to be insufficiently productive as well, because the competition was gigantic open cast coal mining operations in other parts of the world, which were almost inevitably much cheaper.

    The core of the Scargill dispute was originally about how to gradually close down all the unproductive ones and create community restoration packages as a result. Scargill tried to politicise this as hard as he could and did a number of very stupid things, but it's also worth noting that the Tories got in a new boss for the NCB with the specific remit of facing down the NUM. There was a new attitude of '**** the miners' in the Thatcher govt, which wasn't much to do with industrial efficiency or the need for workers to be flexible. It was political payback time.

    The miners had a long history of struggle against appalling conditions pre-war and this strongly influenced their union culture; it wasn't very nice and it isn't very nice to treat them as people who should be 'blamed' and treated badly, even if they did have a leader who wasn't up to it. Thatcher made a big thing at the time of making it clear that she wasn't anti-miner but her government did not behave in a supportive way after the closures.

    I do wonder, if moderately inefficient UK coal had been kept as our primary electricity generating fuel, if we would have some of the bigger problems we now have. Most notably, soaring natural gas prices. Perhaps the pressure to make coal a clean fuel would have spurred on research into CO2 removal, etc. Coal is still used to generate a lot of our electricity, but it comes from abroad, which is not exactly great for our balance of payments.

    Gas prices aren't exactly soaring, but I do agree with you about keeping coal fired power stations on line fir as long as possible. However it's still cheaper to buy a lot of coal in from abroad.
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    She was right to close the mines however the aftermath was a massive balls up. You can't throw people out of work then do nothing for them, in the long term it will end up costing you more. They should have shut the mines then put in policies to get these people hired again rather than just leaving them in desolated communities with barely any opportunities
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    They didn't even have to go for pay cuts. Just modernisation. Take the Sheffield steel industry. It produced more steel after it modernised with less people.
    And look how that worked out...
    How many people work in that industry now? Very few and the city has become relient on public sector service jobs ever since its decline. Its attempt at rebranding itself as a city of sport has quite frankly failed, even more so with cutbacks shutting down a large number of sporting venues such as Don Valley.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    But when she put the miners out of a job more tax payers money went to the benefits to them
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I agree with Aj. There was a rapid change from secondary to tertiary employment in the UK, however many of those who were in secondary employment found it hard to get jobs in the tertiary sector of the economy. I would of rather money have been invested in other industrial areas like those prospering in Germany instead of the creation of a large financial sector which we are over reliant upon as it holds so much risk. All in all I think there was a mistake in that we invested in the wrong parts of the economy for future growth.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Name:  fred-starrs-coal-production-graph1.jpg
Views: 65
Size:  29.2 KB

    No one is to blame for the decline of the coal industry; it was dependent on a finite resource and was bound to enter a decline once all the easy to reach coal had been mined. It is true that there are substantial coal deposits left (on the order of 3.2 billion tonnes according to UK coal); to understand why these aren't being mined one should compare the decline in UK coal production to the similar decline in US oil production:

    Name:  Screen+Shot+2013-03-21+at+12.31.31+PM.png
Views: 103
Size:  49.9 KB

    You'll notice that in the latter case there has been a recent, sudden increase in oil production; the reason this has happened for US oil but not for UK coal is because new technology and rising prices have made it economical to mine difficult-to-reach oil (previously imported oil made it uneconomical). The only way there could be any revival of the UK coal industry is with a large increase in the price of coal and a large decrease in the cost of mining - as it currently stands it is not economically viable to mine the remaining coal. Even in this hypothetical case of revival, however, we would not see anywhere near as many people being employed by the industry as before (although there would be an increase in employment); the revival would be largely in terms of coal output rather than employment. Any such revival is also unlikely to reach previous production peaks without the discovery of a large, economical-to-mine, coal deposit.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    As with most of the criticism of Thatcher isn't not what she did which was causes the anger its the aftermath of those decisions for the people.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I'd agree, OP.
    I'd also add that the unions are equally to blame as the miners themselves. They encouraged the delusion that it's up to the state to sort out your problems.
    The unions, as much as the miners, were unable to see past the ends of their own feet to look at the bigger picture.
 
 
 
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?
Useful resources

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.