Margaret Thatcher funeral: Welsh miners pay respect despite anger towards the former Tory prime minister

Traditional Welsh respect for the dead has ensured that few have an appetite for public protest

A few former miners from South Wales travelled to London today to witness the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

Anger towards the former Tory prime minister remains strong throughout former mining communities, particularly in South Wales.

But the traditional Welsh respect for the dead has ensured that few have an appetite for public protest.

The death of Lady Thatcher has stirred bitter memories in communities struggling still with the legacy of the miners' strike.

Wayne Thomas, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in Wales, still feels anger towards her.

As a 22-year-old miner based in the Swansea Valley during 1984, his experiences of a year on strike have left an indelible mark.

It is no surprise to learn that few, if any, former miners will be shedding a tear today at the demise of an old adversary.

Mr Thomas believes that the only fitting epitaph for Baroness Thatcher's grave would be "May God Forgive Her".

But respect for the dead and those mourning her death today is, nevertheless, high.

The NUM was a political force in the country with the power to bring down governments when Mrs Thatcher became prime minister in 1979.

Today, although massive mine closures mean the union is a shadow of its former self, the NUM's approach is one of respect.

It is not involved in protests, celebrations or any organised gathering to mark Baroness Thatcher's death, positively or negatively.

In fact, the union has declared today a holiday for all of its staff in "recognition of the effect she had".

Mr Thomas said: "My view on the matter is quite clear - I do think that we should show respect for the family of Mrs Thatcher. They have lost a loved one.

"There are grieving family members and we should respect that."

He said the NUM had made no effort to organise protests against the former PM, though some had a "celebratory drink" when news of her death was announced.

He added, however, that he felt her death has reopened the debate on what she did during her 11-year premiership.

"I think it has reopened the debate on the rights and wrongs of what she did. But that is a debate for after she has been buried.

"I do think that people are trying to airbrush away how horrendous her policies actually were."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss