Scargill’s sad decline

October 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm (corruption, expenses, history, Jim D, populism, stalinism, strange situations, unions, workers)

“When he lost it, he lost the ground on which he lived and moved and had his being” –  from Robin Page Arnot’s epitaph to A.J. Cook

On the TUC demo in Brum today. much of the informal discussion was about Scargill’s High Court dispute with the NUM over the ‘grace and favour’ flat he claims is his by right. Several good, veteran trade unionists were clearly shocked by Scargill’s bare-faced avarice, as well as his bizarre and embarrassing appearance on Channel 4 ( when confronted by reporter Katie Razzall last Thursday.

Judging by that performance, Scargill has lost it. Which is probably the most charitable explanation that can be given.

Scargill’s determination to hang on to the million-pound Barbican flat, which is costing the cash-strapped NUM (with fewer than 2,000 members, a shadow of its former self) £34,000 per year, is simply inexcusable. Especially as he appears to want to bequeath it, on his death, to the woman he’s presently living with. On top of that, he is demanding that the NUM pays for the fuel for his house in Barnsley.

Scargill’s politics were always a dodgy mixture of Stalinism, vainglory and populism, but even so,  he played an overwhelmingly positive role during the great strike of 1984-5. It is a genuine tragedy to see a once-great figure reduced to such ignominy.

Above: A.J. Cook

One senior trade unionist I was talking to today compared the sad figure of Scargill to A.J. Cook’s shocking personal and political decline after the defeat of the general strike. I was only vaguely aware of Cook’s tragic final years, but having now read Paul Foot’s account (  I have to say I feel rather more sympathy for Cook than for Scargill.


  1. Jimmy Glesga said,

    I wonder if we will have lefty GG type apologists for this one.
    What needs to be known is who were all behind this grace and favour flat and was it legally passed although it should never have happened. What more do you expect from lefties if given power they would move into the Cotswolds to justify all the hard work they do for the wurkin class. Bunch of con men Bastards they are.

  2. representingthemambo said,

    Reblogged this on Representing the Mambo.

    • Robert said,

      Bit like Prescott really, these people think of course they have a right to live above the people they represent, unions have also become like political parties with grace and favour homes, expenses and wages which give them the same rights as politicians.

      Has Scragill lost it, bloody hell years ago.

  3. Michael Moran said,

    I had the misfortune to spend 3 hrs in a car with Mr Scargill on way back from the 2004 Rally in Pontypridd to celebrate 20 yrs since the miners strike. I was a member of the SLP at the time, and took literally nothing from the meeting apart from a dislike of his brand of socialism-‘just because I have a large house and a Jaguar does not mean that I have sold out, it just means many people have failed to be as successful in their careers as I’. The NUM made their own bed with Scargill, and I met the current leadership that day when they were sycophants gorging themselves at the select buffet and booze gig back in the offices.

    Scargill was outdated in 1984, let alone 28 years later, so the fact he appears a little odd is perhaps just everyone else catching up with how far gone his brand of socialism has always been.

  4. Andrew Coates said,

    Jim, I thought the NUM had only 2,000 paying members.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    You’re right, Andrew. Another correction coming up…

  6. Nick Long said,

    I gave a lift to Arthur back to his flat in the Barbican after an SLP rally at the Rivoli Ballroom in Lewisham. I was stopped twice by the police at roads blocks in the city and Arthur struggled to offer any directions back to ‘his’ flat. The rally was attended by hundreds of people and demonstrates the draw and attraction he still has within sections of the left. News that he is trying to hold onto this flat at the expense of the NUM is really shocking and will damage his reputation and standing. This, and the Galloway situation really does show that any new party of the left must not be built on the personality of one ‘great leader’.

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