Sunday, May 06, 2012

MIners' Gala 1984

I’m riding on a lorry through
the Edinburgh streets. Beside
me is a missile, quite small,
made of cardboard painted
silver. Should be black.
Upturned faces in the sun
stare white; some shout:
Save oor pits, missus
as if this missile
had the power to sweep away
the English government of the day
and blow it back to when
their fathers walked in
heavy boots, pale in the
morning sun and back,
black-faced at dusk
from hellish pits of endless toil
that now would end
and they would miss. And I
and my missile trundle on,
an incidental sideshow
in Thatcher’s Circus 84.

C.M.M 05/12

A sudden memory, triggered by local election talk and the despair of those who feel government cares little for them. This was certainly the case in 1984, the year of the Miners' Strike, after which the mining industry was never the same again. As CND activists we were seen as allies against the Thatcher government, though I felt strongly that in that situation we were merely demonstrating solidarity - for there was nothing we could do about it, any more than the miners whose families lined the Edinburgh streets on that sunny day.

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