Category: Miners Strike 30th Anniversary

“I support my dad”

New film explores lives of children during 84-85 miners’ strike.
This article by Hajera Blagg originally appeared on UniteLive.

“I Support My Dad” explores how the 1984-85 miners’ strike affected the lives of children who were involved in the protest in North Staffordshire.

Produced by Stoke-on-Trent based film company Inspired Film and Video, the documentary features as part of a social history project to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike in North Staffordshire.

The project, which secured Heritage Lottery Fund funding, explores the experiences of children growing up in the mining community at the time of the strike and retells their stories of what life was like on the picket line and how this shaped their adult life.

“I Support My Dad” premieres on the June 24 at the Stoke Film Theatre at 7pm and is available for broadcast.

You can view the full documentary here.

Oblong Cinema

Next screening will be on Thursday May 14th as apparently there is some sort of election or something on the first Thursday of May.

But May 14th will be a special screening as we will be doing our bit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the miners strike by showing two documentary films by Judi Alston – ‘Bands & Banners’ from 1992 and her latest film ‘With Banners Held High’.
Also a short poetry film about miners by Steven Corton, ‘Proud of my Dad I am’.

There will also be a fundraising stall for the Orgreave Truth & Justice campaign.

Durham Miners’ Banners On Display in Central London

A Packed Programme of Activity on the Miners’ Strike.

Four floors of an underground car park in the centre of London will be the dramatic setting for 50 of the Durham Miners’ Association banners. The venue is Leicester Square Car Park, 39-41 Whitcomb St, London WC2H 7DT.

The banners will be on display from 18 June (the 31st anniversary of the infamous display of police brutality at the battle of Orgreave) through to the 4 July. The banners will be on one floor. On another a dramatic art exhibition on the theme of the miners’ strike, Ashes and
Diamonds, will be on display.

Another floor will have videos projecting onto the walls of the car park. On the fourth floor will be a bar run by the Workers’ Beer Company, exhibitions and a series of talks, debates and films on the miners’ strike.

The event is free and is being organised by the Durham Miners’ Association with the support of a number of unions, including Unite and the GMB.  Watch out for further details about the programme of events or go to

Davy Jones and Joe Green Lecture

The Davy Jones, Joe Green Lecture on Saturday (14 March) at the NUM Headquarters in Barnsley. Another excellent event in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Miners Strike.

During the miners’ strike, Thatcher’s secret state was the real enemy within

This article by Shamus Milne originally appeared in the Guardian.

The Tory leader’s eagerness to brand not only miners’ leaders but the Labour party as enemies of democracy was a measure of her extremism and determination for class revenge

Confrontation between riot police and miners at the Orgreave coke works in South Yorkshire June 1984
Confrontation between riot police and miners at the Orgreave coke works in South Yorkshire, June 1984. ‘An orgy of police violence was followed by a failed attempt to prosecute 95 miners for riot on the basis of false evidence.’ Photograph: Photofusion/Rex

Thirty years ago, Margaret Thatcher branded striking miners “the enemy within”. The chilling catchphrase embodied her government’s scorched earth onslaught on Britain’s mining communities – and gave the green light for the entire state to treat the miners’ union as outlaws.

Now we know that the Tory prime minister intended to extend the charge of seditious insurrection, not only to leftwing Labour councils in Liverpool and London resisting cuts in services, but against the Labour party as a whole.

All were “enemies of democracy”, she planned to tell the Tory conference, the publication of her private papers now reveals. It was only as a result of the IRA bomb attack on her Brighton hotel that she was prevailed upon to drop the line as too divisive.

The fevered extremism of her comments – Labour’s leader Neil Kinnock was even absurdly described as a “puppet” of the miners’ president Arthur Scargill – are a reminder of the vengeful class fury of her government. Those who stood to defend union strength and the post-war social democratic settlement were seditious outsiders, to be destroyed in a domestic reprise of her Falklands campaign against the Argentinian dictator General Galtieri.

But the remarks also reflect her government’s systematic resort to anti-democratic measures to break the resistance of Britain’s most powerful union: from the use of the police and security services to infiltrate and undermine the miners’ union to the manipulation of the courts and media to discredit and tie the hands of its leaders.

A decade after the strike, I called the book I wrote about that secret war against the miners The Enemy Within, because the phrase turned out to have multiple layers of meaning. As the evidence has piled up with each new edition, the charge that Thatcher laid at the door of the National Union of Mineworkers can in fact be seen to fit her own government’s use of the secret state far better.

It wasn’t just the militarised police occupation of the coalfields; the 11,000 arrests, deaths, police assaults, mass jailings and sackings; the roadblocks, fitups and false prosecutions – most infamously at the Orgreave coking plant where an orgy of police violence in June 1984 was followed by a failed attempt to prosecute 95 miners for riot on the basis of false evidence.

It’s that under the prime minister’s guidance, MI5, police Special Branch, GCHQ and the NSA were mobilised not only to spy on the NUM on an industrial scale, but to employ agents provocateurs at the highest level of the union, dirty tricks, slush funds, false allegations, forgeries, phoney cash deposits and multiple secretly sponsored legal actions to break the defence of the mining communities.

In the years since, Thatcher and her former ministers and intelligence mandarins have defended such covert action by insisting the NUM leaders were “subversive” because they wanted to bring down the government. Which of course they did – but “legitimately”, as Scargill remarked recently, by bringing about a general election – as took place in the wake of the successful coal strike of 1974.

In reality, as 50 MPs declared when some of these revelations first surfaced, Thatcher’s government and its security apparatus were themselves guilty of the mass “subversion of democratic liberties”. And, as the large-scale malpractices of police undercover units have driven home in the past couple of years, their successors are still at it today.

A generation on, it is clear that the miners’ strike was more than a defence of jobs and communities. It was a challenge to the destructive market and corporate-driven reconstruction of the economy that gave us the crash of 2008. The outcome of the dispute brought us to where we are today: the deregulated, outsourced, zero-hours world of David Cameron’s Britain.

That reality, and its vindication of the miners’ stand, is well understood 30 years later, and reflected in the power of contemporary films such as Pride and the new documentary Still the Enemy Within.

Three decades on, it has become ever clearer that it wasn’t the miners or their leaders who were the enemy within. It was the secret state and those who wielded it against people defending their livelihoods across Britain.

Still the Enemy Within

This award winning film is being shown for the first time in Armthorpe on Wednesday 3rd December at The Markham Main Officials Club. The film starts at 8.00pm – Doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets for this unique film are £5.00 and can be obtained by contacting John on 01302 831181.

This event is supported by Doncaster Unite Community. Keep an eye out for more film showings in the near future.

View the poster: stew poster1

With Banners Held High: 30 Years On

Support this important film project.

To mark the 30th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, One to One Development Trust, a Wakefield based media charity, will be making a short documentary film celebrating the unique humour of the strike. The film will include ex-miners, Women Against Pit Closures and Trade Union representatives who all played their part during the strike.

These humorous stories from the strike form an important part of the heritage of the coalfields.

For Banners Held High, we wanted to capture these precious funnytales that celebrate cameraderie for audences now and in the future.

We need your support. We need to raise £8000 to support this project.

The film will be launched at the With Banners Held High day long festival of talks , debate,film and music to mark 30 years since the end of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike to be held at Unity Works, Wakefield on Saturday 7th March 2015. To find out more email or contact Granville Williams, 24 Tower Avenue, Upton, Pontefract, West Yorkshire WF9 1EE.