I remember the miner’s strike in the eighties as a sound lesson in civil war. I had recently left the Metropolitan Police as a result of their rather fascistic approach to race relations. Just in time, I remember thinking. Thatcher, our last truly great leader, had already barged into a boy ship of sea cadets and sent them scuttling to a watery grave and now her sights were set on the enemy within. Coal was in its last days but the Iron Lady wanted to apply euthanasia. Fortunately, the good people of Britain had not been bathed in the waters of Mammon and many of them decided to make a stand.
Being from a coal community, I felt an ideological draw to their cause. It which was bound to be a tragic one, but one that could be fought for with dignity and pride.
Incidentally, the closest I came to combat was a refusal to shake the hand of Michael Heseltine on the BBC; my moment of rebellious fame was left on the floor of the cutting room. Nevertheless, the strike did teach me one invaluable lesson and that was that there were traitors and turncoats among us.
If the miners’ strike made immediately evident the scale of class, community and working class disloyalty, the long-drawn out conflict between teachers and Michael Gove (ex head of education and Vctorian archivist) revealed itself more insidiously.
Teachers, in the firts decade of the twenty-first century, had become a new socio-economic group of university-educated professionals who enjoyed a major increase in salary and status under the previous Labour government. Their fortunes could be measured by the houses they bought, the cars they drove and the sustainability of tans that were not purchased at the leisure-centre. Teachers had become big-time consumers and that overt consumption needed to be financed.
Since the foundations had already been well established before Labour left office, the Tories could have field-day.
Sort of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?