Thatcher parliamentary “debate”: the non-grovellers

April 11, 2013 at 12:02 am (grovelling, Jim D, labour party, politics, Thatcher, Tory scum, truth)

Recalling the Commons and the Lords for  “debates” on Thatcher yesterday was, of course, a grotesque act of political manipulation and well as an outrageous waste of money at this time of austerity. All 650 MPs were emailed with the message that they could claim up to £3,750 just for turning up. Peers could draw £300 for attendance. Then there are the tens of thousands for security and running costs as Parliament was not due back until Monday.

Former miner Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), one of many Labour MPs  who stayed away, may well have been right to say simply “I’ve got better things to do.”

But of those Labour MPs who did turn up, two were pretty good:

David Winnick (Walsall North)…

…and Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Kilburn):

Well done, you two: proper, serious and honest, reformists.


  1. Jim Denham said,

    And on a less serious note:

    Here’s the SWP revealing about the only reason they had their ‘rejoice!’ headline: to offend (and get publicity).

  2. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    Good on Glenda. she is magnificent. Mr Winnick a good man as well. Would have loved to have seen a Skinner in full flow as well – putting all the fuckwit toffs in their place (i.e. on the end of a rope).

  3. Danial. young said,

    Ashes to ashes dust to dust.Toss coal on the road in front of the hearse.

  4. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    I’d find Glenda a little more magnificent if she hadn’t trooped into New Labour lobbies again and again and again to implement post-, crypto-, neo- and just plain Thatcherite policies over the whole of her parliamentary career.

    Hell she didn’t even vote against the workfare bill a couple of weeks ago despite the whips now having zero power to reward or punish her,

    Plus just discovered that the truly odious Ultra-Blairite Telegraph hack Dan Hodges is her offspring…..

  5. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Nice piece by Helen Goodman which contains a Thatch anedote which suggests that those 23 years out of power were if not remotely punishment enough still something to throw into the scales:

    Sir Michael Richardson, her personal financial adviser told me that he had a big lunch for her when the Queen created her a Baroness. “Margaret, this must be your proudest day” he said. She replied “What is one day of pleasure in a life of gloom?”.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    I missed this one:

    Mr David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): As a former coal miner who became a care worker in the 1980s, looking after frail elderly people—particularly frail elderly

    10 Apr 2013 : Column 1672

    women suffering from dementia, incontinence and the inability to bathe and dress themselves—I have nothing but empathy for the family of Margaret Thatcher. They will feel an immense sense of loss that will almost certainly be tinged with a sense of relief. They will feel guilty about that relief, but they should not; it is a normal, healthy attitude when a loved one has been brought low by the reality of our mortality.

    As a former miner and trade union leader and as the Member for a constituency whose history was built on the hard work of ordinary men and women, it would be remiss of me not to record the reality of life for people in such constituencies because of policies promoted by Margaret Thatcher. She came to power promising to bring harmony where there was discord. I can safely say that in mining communities up and down the country she brought the opposite. Most mining areas were stable, secure and safe communities where we worked hard and played hard. We did not complain about the difficult conditions in which we worked. All we asked for was the chance to carry on doing that work.

    We had built communities over decades, in some cases over centuries, and they had stood the test of time. We built sports centres, swimming pools and cricket and football clubs. We built libraries and developed brass bands, and we ran art classes that gained international fame. That was part and parcel of our culture, but none of it seemed to matter to Margaret Thatcher. She believed that we were no longer any use to the nation because we were deemed “uneconomic”.

    On what basis was that case made? I believe that the main reason why the United Kingdom coal industry was classed as uneconomic was that we insisted on running safe coal mines, unlike those in the rest of the world. Our history was longer than that of other coal industries. It was littered with numerous examples of avoidable deaths, and we as a country agreed to invest in the best quality equipment in the world and in training people to produce coal as safely as possible. One of the great disgraces in this country is that we import more than 50 million tonnes of coal a year from countries where men are killed in their thousands, yet we closed down an industry that was the safest and most technically advanced in the world. There is still blood on the coal that is burned in British power stations, but it is American blood, Russian blood, Chinese blood or Colombian blood, so that is okay. Well, it should not be okay. As a country, we have millions of tons of coal beneath our feet.

    The other area where the so-called economic justification falls down was in the failure of Margaret Thatcher and her Governments to take into account the social cost in communities such as mine, where there was no alternative employment for people who were losing their jobs, and particularly for their children. The village where I lived had seen coal mining for almost two centuries. In a matter of months after closure, we were gripped by a wave of petty crime—burglary and car crime—mostly related to drugs. We have never recovered from it. When someone wakes in the middle of the night and goes downstairs because their home is being burgled, and finds out the next day that it was the son of one of their best friends, it puts into perspective a community that was built on reliance and taking care of each other. That takes a lot of recovering from.

    10 Apr 2013 : Column 1673

    The situation was compounded by the crass decision in 1988 to sell off houses owned by the National Coal Board to private landlords. They brought in people from outside the area who had no respect for the community or for the houses they were given. Twenty years later, houses that were sold to private landlords for £4,000 were bought back by the council for £60,000 of public money, only for them to be pulled down because of the failure of the policy agreed as part and parcel of the decision to ruin the coal industry in this country.

    Over the last 48 hours, a lot has been said about the harsh nature of some of the responses to the news of Mrs Thatcher’s death, but the House needs to understand the reason. Before, during and ever since the attack on the coal industry and the people in it, Governments of both colours were warned of the impact of the policy. We have seen the reaction of people whose frustration is heartfelt. They have lost their sense of place in society. They are being made to feel worthless. They are being cast aside like a pair of worn-out pit boots. They have seen their community fall apart and their children’s opportunities disappear. They are not being listened to, and sadly some of that has boiled over this week.

    After today’s debate those people may never be listened to again, and Mrs Thatcher’s lack of empathy, her intransigence, her failure to see the other side and her refusal to even look at the other side has left them bitter and resentful. They are hitting out in a way that is uncharacteristic of miners and their communities. Her accusation that the enemy within was in the mining areas of this country still rankles. I was not an enemy within. My hon. Friends the Members for Midlothian (Mr Hamilton), for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery), for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell), and for Lanark and Hamilton East (Mr Hood) were not the enemy within. Nor were people like Joe Green, who died on the picket line at Ferry Bridge in Yorkshire, David Jones who was killed at Ollerton colliery, Terry Leaves and Jimmy Jones who were killed in south Wales, or three young boys—Darren Holmes, aged 15, Paul Holmes, aged 14, and Paul Womersley, aged 14—who died scavenging for coal to try to keep their families warm.

    It is understandable that people feel bitter that we are here today to remember the legacy of Mrs Thatcher. All we wanted was the right to work, not just for ourselves but for our kids. It was taken away. The funeral next week will take place 20 years to the day since Easington colliery was closed. Please do not blame the people in my part of the world if they choose that day to pay a tribute very different from that being paid in the House today.

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