Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Optimum outcomes: one organisation; one orthodoxy...

"What’s in a name?" Asks David Melding (My Christian namesake, my countryman -in part - and even born in the same week). Why change the name? They won't believe you all of a sudden. The BBC - as usual - prefers more polemic headlines: "Thatcher legacy hampers Welsh Tories"; the BBC hate her of course. David wants to change the name of the Welsh Conservatives because due to the 1980s pit closures "Many people say to us they could never vote Conservative"; however he assuages this by adding "About twice as many people say that of the Conservative Party as any other party in Wales"; I ask 'Is that all'? Instead of a name change perhaps a bit of truth.

In terms of both production and manpower employed Welsh coal output peaked in 1913 (yes, nineteen thirteen); this was the year my great grandfather died in the worse mining disaster in the UK in the Universal Colliery (Senghenydd Explosion). The 1920s saw depression in the coal industry and the 'decline of the coal industry during the period 1919-39 turned South Wales into an area of mass unemployment', [Link]: hundreds of pits closed and the number employed halved. During WW2 the government took control and the industry (as it had done in the Great War) but this time the industry moved towards nationalisation; (from 1943/44 my dad was a Bevin Boy) in 1945 the National Union of Mineworkers came into being.
"However, nationalisation did not prevent the long, steady decline of the coal mining industry in Britain nor prevent on-going pit closures. Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s the decline continued."
Distal smaller pits farther up the valleys were closed due to lack of manpower, workers went elsewhere and oil, natural gas and nuclear were growing; absenteeism in the 60s was about 20% (who'd blame them?) and those available were shifted to the bigger 'long life' pits further down the valley so those rural communities suffered. Maggie may not be a saint to most but she shouldn't be cast as the Devil.

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Paul said...

Interesting idea. More interesting though is this years snippet of your family history.

Those who went down the mines are due a lot of respect and the whole mine closure is still an open wound. Of course many mines were closed under Labour governments and I think there are echoes of the Thatcher era in today's politics. Mind you nine years to reform the banking industry is taking the piss.

Span Ows said...


Yes. Part of the problem with the Miner's strike etc through the 80s was that NOBODY would begrudge face and underground workers a mighty wage but it was always across the board (surface workers, door openers, secretary in London etc getting the same pay rises)

2019...what a laugh. ridiculous. could be done in less than a year if they really wanted to.

Span Ows said...

apostrophe misplaced...