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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hyperbole, 11 May 2012
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This review is from: Hope and Glory: The Days that Made Britain (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Stuart Maconie, his first two books are marvellous. This fourth one, while clearly somewnat more sombre a tone, promised the same. That is until the chapter '3rd May 1926', nominally to cover the geeneral strike. All so far so good until Stuart veers to May 1984 and the Orgreave coking plant during the miners strike. He seriously cites this as a 'civil war' battle and goes on to compare it to various real battles from the English, American and Spanish civil wars. Battles which contained deaths (9000 at Gettysburg for example). In fairness he does later point out, as if we didnt know, that no one actually died at Orgreave. He also warns us, before commencing his diatribe on the 1984 miners strike that his views are coloured. I'll say. Maybe he could have mentioned these points; Scargill refused to hold a ballot to give legality to the strike. Thousands of miners, chiefly but not entirely in Nottinghamshire, refused to stop work and broke away from the NUM and formed their own union (presumably an example of the 'independence and might of the English working class' Stuart mentions). The miners werent fighting just the Conservative government but progress itself. Anyone with a cursory knowledge will tell you that by this time coal could be imported, bizarre though it sounds, from oversees open cast mines and still cost less than to dig it from UK deep ones. A lot of the British public rather resented the Stalin like pronouncements of Arthur and his flying rent a mob pickets. They prefered the rule of law and parliamentary government, even if they didn't particularly like the PM or government of the day. Please leave the left wing stuff out Stuart.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 May 2012 22:33:28 BDT
Peter Perry says:
This 'review' is a pathetic pile of right wing tosh, based either on a wilful misreading of the book, since it is wrong in every particular, or more likely just a feeble attempt at Daily Mailesque revisionism. Either way, it's best ignored, since it bears no relation to the contents of the book, which is in fact an excellent read, and one which the aforementioned DM readers might do well to attempt.

Posted on 18 May 2012 11:06:31 BDT
Dave D says:
Those "independent" miners you speak of were actually known as "scabs" and as I recall they weren't very popular at all.
Recent events highlight the relevance of the miners' strike and beg the question: why could the government not support the coal industry when help was needed, yet it's ok to pour billions upon billions (far more than the investment that would have been required to help "traditional" industries such as mining or ship building) of public money into supporting the banks? Is it because bankers are old Etonian chums of the ruling elite, whereas miners and ship builders are dirty working class people that the Tories wish didn't exist? Yes. It is.
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