The very sad but inevitable has finally happened. The closure of Thoresby Colliery, the last deep coal mine in Nottinghamshire. What a tragic end to a once proud industry and its once proud miners.
In our view the history of the gradual decline of our industry was set in motion by the actions of the vast majority of Notts mineworkers who chose the easy option to carry on working during the 1984/1985 mineworkers strike.
They chose to follow certain people who had their own vested interests and intentions. Some who were even decorated by Margaret Thatcher for their actions to bring down the NUM and the mining industry.
In the midst of the summer of 1984, there was an organised rally for the working miners in Mansfield where Ian McGregor was present, alongside the self imposed working miners’ leaders.
Mr McGregor stated to the crowd: “You are doing a tremendous job in helping us to win this battle and when we have won, the men in Nottinghamshire will not be forgotten.”
In reply to this, a certain
miners’ leader spoke to say: “You’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth, keep working and we will be alright.”
It does not take a brain surgeon to work out which end of his anatomy he was talking out of!
When so many teenagers cannot obtain real jobs in the area, they should maybe look to their fathers if they worked in the coal industry and enquire, “dad, what did you do to fight and protect our pits, our jobs and our future?”
Before we all hear once again the oft and well worn excuse about if we had taken part in a national ballot, then we would have honoured it because it is the highest ballot that we can have. Please cast your minds back several years gentlemen. We had a national ballot on the introduction of a productivity agreement which was thrown out by 76 per cent to 24 per cent, what did Notts do? They ignored it and went ahead anyway. So much for Notts and national ballots.
What an ignominious end to a once very proud industry not only in Notts but nationally. What a tragic loss to a vast input into the local economy and vital support jobs in local industries, all gone.
Ex NUM branch secretary, Sherwood Colliery
Ex NUM branch president, Sherwood Colliery