Simon Heffer

Undermining Tactics

Marching to the Fault Line: The 1984 Miners’ Strike and the Death of Industrial Britain

By

Constable & Robinson 274pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Twenty-five years after it started, the ‘great’ miners’ strike of 1984–5 is seen by many as a watershed in modern British history. This book, by two writers sympathetic to the cause but not to Arthur Scargill, the man who embodied it, begins with such a claim: ‘Britain before the great miners’ strike … and after it are two fundamentally different places.’ Like much in this book, that is not strictly true. By the spring of 1984 the Thatcher Government had been in power for five years, and it had been made quite clear already that Britain had changed. Millions of workers in heavy industries had lost their jobs. State support for uneconomic ventures was already a thing of the past. Legislation to bring trades unions within the law was already on the statute book, with more in train. The process of privatisation was under way. All the ‘great strike’ did was comply with what had become the norm, which was to show that primitive displays of anti-democratic syndicalist muscle would no longer succeed, and would not be allowed to succeed by a government that had the public’s backing to put unions in their place.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,