Monday, 2 November 2015

Coal Not Dole

Thirty years ago the nation was locked in an epic battle between the Thatcher government and the National Union of Mineworkers led by the communist sympathiser Arthur Scargill. At the time 'progressive' opinion was firmly on the side of the miners, in so doing turning a blind eye to the failure of the union to hold a ballot. The popular slogan of the striking miners was 'coal not dole'. At the time, Scargill warned that if the miners lost this battle, the British coal industry would be destroyed. Most commentators thought he was being grossly alarmist, but in the event he was to be proved entirely correct. Within ten years 80% of the mines had been closed.

During the mid 1980s Labour politicians still broadly supported the interests of working class communities, but this was beginning to change. Although many questioned Scargill’s tactics, and his confrontational style, they nevertheless had much sympathy for the miners, and firmly supported the continuation of coalmining on a large scale. The Labour Party 1983 manifesto promised to 'give priority to the coal industry and the use of coal as a fuel'. There was no mention then of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, despite this theory being first postulated by scientists nearly a century earlier.

During this period the issue of acid rain, caused by sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal fired power stations, was high on the environmental agenda. The problem was addressed by the introduction of catalytic converters and air scrubbers on power station which much reduced the problem. Acid rain was a good example of a genuine environmental issue, whereas global warming is a bogus one.

The 1980s was a period of transition for 'progressives'. They were moving away from the traditional sentimentalised and uncritical support for the white working class and trade unions, towards the identity politics of race, gender, sexuality and environmentalism, as espoused most notably by Ken Livingstone’s GLC. It is interesting to speculate on what would have happened if Scargill had won his battle with the Tory government and all the coal mines had remained open. Would the global warming hoax have gained as much traction with 'progressives' if it meant a confrontation with what would have been a still powerful NUM?

A prominent member of the Labour shadow cabinet during the miners strike was the recently deceased Michael Meacher. Being on the left of the party it can safely be assumed that he would have sympathised with the miners cause, and would have supported maintaining coalmining on a large scale and thus the continuing use of coal fired power stations. However, in keeping with many other self styled 'progressives' Meacher was converted to the global warming hoax and wanted to see all coal fired power stations shut down as soon as possible. In his blog he asked the question 'If austerity today is right for the long term future, why isn’t stopping climate change right for the same reason?'

Meacher’s question was of course fatuous and he must have known it. The answer he is looking for is very simple. The Government's austerity programme is driven by the need to reduce the public sector deficit. This is a real immediate problem confronting the Government which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, so we have to take the pain that comes with it. Although the government’s strategy can be questioned, there is no doubt that this is a real issue which all but the most purblind can see needs addressing.

Climate change, on the other hand is based on dubious projections on what might happen in the future. It is not based on evidence on what is happening now. For example, the Met Office predicted mild wet winters and hot dry summers, but in recent years we have experienced the opposite. The global warming hoax is promoted by the Left and is politically driven. The Right have recognised this and try to expose the hoax for what it is - a means by which the Left are attempting to increase state control over ordinary citizens. Thus there is clearly no need to accept restrictions for something that is only happening in the delusional imagination of the Left.

Meacher must have known why the Right support restrictions caused by austerity measures, but reject them if they are promoted by global warming alarmists. He was just making mischief in a very unsubtle way. Nevertheless his question is revealing since the assumptions behind its faux naiveté expose the extent to which 'progressives' have completely lost a grip on reality.

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