Government in Crisis: Scargill calls the faithful to battle

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ARTHUR SCARGILL stood amid the empty beer glasses and tinsel in the Grimethorpe miners' welfare club last night and told pitmen, their wives and children that the fight to save their pit had 'not even begun'.

More than 1,000 miners and their families crammed into the club to hear the president of the National Union of Mineworkers tell them what they wanted to hear, loud and long: that they could force the Government to change, that the power of the people was theirs for the taking and that they should not be bowed.

Mr Scargill's voice boomed out over the car park and had to be relayed into an adjacent club also packed to the doors with people weary and worried about their futures. Grimethorpe, in the South Yorkshire coalfield, is on the Government's rearranged list of 10 pits where closure will go ahead.

He told his audience that Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, had been dishonest about the coal industry. He said: 'Don't forget that on Sunday morning Mr Heseltine said 'there will be no changes at all in our policy'. The reason they have changed so far is because of your determination and it is when you understand the power of your ability, your strength rather than your perceived weakness that you can turn back the policy that aims to try and destroy the British mining industry.'

He said the miners owed it to their industry, to the people of Britain, but above all they owed it to themselves, their fathers and grandfathers to fight and save their jobs. He did not, however, talk of industrial action or of strikes, apart from tomorrow's demonstrations in London. But he implored each miner to recognise the struggle what lay ahead. He said: 'I am not going to say that I told you so, but all I ask is that you listen to what I have to say for tomorrow and not for what I said yesterday.'

Grimethorpe Colliery Band, which won the national brass band championships at the weekend, is being prevented by British Coal from taking part in tomorrow's rally in London in support of the miners, and another rally planned for Sunday. It is believed that colliery management said it would be 'inappropriate' for the band to perform at the rallies because it is sponsored by British Coal.