There was a miners’ strike 30 years ago. Now you have to explain to people what miners actually were. They were the British men who dug the coal we were told we didn’t have that is imported now instead of digging out the 200 years of the stuff sitting underground. Ten years back before that the government switched the electricity off to make people believe the miners were ‘holding the country to ransom’ in a way that banks and financial fraud never does. Chiefly because the banks had lawyers who would shut your mouth for you if you mentioned it and the NUM didn’t.
When you watch this video you will see a Britain that a lot of people who lived here then can recognise while few foreigner can. I still hate Thatcher’s voice, along with every single one of her policies. That whining, artificial, hypocritical drone filled the airwaves with lies.
“We don’t talk to terrorists. The IRA must be denied the oxygen of publicity” while the government was talking to them all of the time for just one single example. Oh actually, ‘violence doesn’t pay’ for another. It was supposed to pay for Our Brave Boys who were sent to fill bodybags in the Falklands, a place the Foreign Office had been discussing giving away to Argentina since 1946, when the election would have been lost otherwise.
It wasn’t the miners who were the enemy within. It was the lying media that chose to report one side and not the other, time and again. Back then, 30 years ago, a friend of mine worked for BBC TV. He was a young news reporter in the thick of a demo that was kicking off when he walked past a police van with the back doors open. It was full of guns. Not confiscated guns from arrested miners. The miners didn’t have any guns. These were guns the state’s enforcers had decided they’d take to the demo to shoot miners with. There was never even a public allegation that the miners had guns and what happened next showed that would have been all over the media if any government minister had even suggested it, or there was any police intelligence to back it up.
My friend saw the police guns. He had the camera. He didn’t switch it on. His boss said it wasn’t even interesting.
About six years after that a man called Michael Ryan went berserk in a small town and shot lots of people with guns he should never have been licensed to have, given the list of offences and complaints to the police that had been made about him. In those days it usually took about six weeks to get a firearms certificate. Ryan got his in a few days, for reasons that the police have never seen fit to discuss. But then, a lot of what happened at Hungerford isn’t discussed. One of the tabloids showed American armoured vehicles on the streets of this small English town, although since when Hungerford became part of the jurisdiction of Greenham airbase was never mentioned.
There was a rumour the SAS were involved in ending the proceedings that day. That a helicopter had taken off from Hereford and somebody onboard had sniped Ryan, which was at odds with the official version that he had shot himself. Pictures of the body were only shown in camera at the inquest. There was never, ever an official enquiry. But the media didn’t want to talk about that either. I met a man who totally legally built sniper rifles for a comfortable living. He sold them, perfectly legitimately, to armed forces around the world. So when someone came to him with some information that what happened at Hungerford was extra-judicial murder, the same way it had been in Gibralter, when IRA suspects had been gunned down in a carpark by the SAS, with photos of a neat high-velocity hole through a school window to back it up, he tried to get it made public.
My friend came and interviewed him. I was there. We all looked at the photos. I wouldn’t know one type of bullet hole through glass from another, but remember what one of us did for a living.
My friend made some notes. Went back to the BBC. We’re not going to run it. It’s ‘not in the public interest.’
So now you know. When your government decides to shoot people without a trial the BBC don’t want all the fuss of telling anyone about it. And the miners are supposed to be the enemy within. That makes sense to me.