Madhouse Economics?



Ex BBC journo Nick Jones.


If you want to exercise your eyeballs by giving them a good roll around their sockets listen to this from Jones on 5Live (23 mins)


The coal miner’s strike……It was the biggest story of his career and he’s never got over it.

He tells us that broadcasters were in danger of being the cheerleaders for the return to work…..Scargill , in the eyes of the government, had made it a political strike.

Hmmm….no mention that Scargill was at war with the government…and that the miners voted by a large majority not to strike.


He says…..Reporting should have been more in favour of the miners and their ‘plight’….the police and Mrs Thatcher couldn’t have won the war if we’d had Twitter and Youtube in the 80’s….the public would have been shocked by the way the police operated.

In other words we wouldn’t have got the real truth just highly selective, up close videos the truth of which you could never be certain…..

Home Secretary Leon Brittan, said that if there were no violent mass picketing and no intimidation, there ”would be no need for the police to be present.”

Makes sense no?


If only, Jones muses..there had been a negotiated settlement…we might have a coal industry today…who knows, we could be at the forefront of the coal industry now.

Yeah right dream on.  Has he never heard of massively cheap coal being imported…and Shale gas in the US has led to even cheaper coal and gas.


The National Union of Miner’s own website says:
Throughout the 1960s, with a Labour Government in office from 1964, the pit closure programme accelerated; it decimated the industry.

During this period, nearly 300 more pits were closed, and the total workforce slumped from over 750,000 in the late 1950s down to 320,000 by 1968. In many parts of Britain, miners now became known as industrial gypsies as pit closures forced them to move from coalfield to coalfield in search of secure jobs.

They were victims of madhouse economics.





Jones makes a career out of these ruminations……

‘If only…’ Some soul-searching over the 1984–5 miners’ strike

Nicholas Jones reflects on the government misinformation and media manipulation that provided the backdrop to Britain’s longest and most violent industrial dispute. Much of the newspaper and television coverage of the 1984-5 1984-5 miners’ strike, especially over the Battle of Orgreave and the pit-head clashes in mining villages, was in wide shot. Press photographers and television camera crews were not welcomed either by the pickets or the police and there were very few close-up images.

Thirty years later social media including Facebook, You Tube and Twitter  have transformed the coverage of public order events and Nicholas Jones suggests that the Police forces of today know that instant reporting on social media has become a great restraining influence on their conduct. He also offers some insights into both his reporting of the strike for the BBC and his own soul searching about the media’s role in the dispute.

Nicholas Jones was a BBC industrial and political correspondent for thirty years. He reported the big industrial disputes of the Thatcher decade for BBC Radio and was named industrial journalist of the year for his coverage of the 1984-5 miners’ strike. But the news media’s role in the conflict, which prompted his first book, Strikes and the Media (1986), troubles him to this day.


Shame the BBC takes him seriously…and it’s not the first time:

Did The BBC Help Thatcher Crush The Miners In ’84?





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7 Responses to Madhouse Economics?

  1. Amounderness Lad says:

    It says everything about the violence committed by the police on poor, innocent, peaceful picketing miners at Orgreave that 41 police officers were injured compared with a massive total of 28 pickets.
    The simple truth is that Scargill had made use of tens of thousands, numbers claimed were anything up to 30,000 pickets, to force the closure of the Saltley Coking Depot in 1972 mainly because the police were unable to cope with such a vast number and ordered the managers at the depot to surrender to the pickets and close the depot down. The result was a weak and ineffective Conservative PM threw a wobbler and lost the General Election shortly afterwards. Scargill boasted he had defeated the Conservative Government and, to a large extent that was true.
    When the Thatcher Government came to power Scargill had already made it clear that he was intent on repeating the 1972 strike and ensure no Conservative Government would be allowed to stay in power and that only a Labour Government would be allowed to operate.
    By telegraphing his intentions and having also made clear he intended to use the Miners in the same manner he had in 1972 to hold the Government, and thereby the Country, to ransom and use “Flying Pickets” as, in effect, the “Shock Troops of the Revolution”.
    The problem was that he had not only shown his hand but insisted on boasting about it to all and sundry. That gave the authorities the information they needed to prepare for what was bound to happen as soon as Scargill found a suitable excuse to act. He was offered the bait and greedily snatched it hook, line and sinker. The authorities were already well prepared and laws enacted to act against the mob rule of 1972.
    Orgreave was meant by Scargill to be a replay of the Saltley Coking Depot battle to demonstrate to the public, and those in power, that the Strikers had the upper hand and nothing could stand against them.
    The tactic was tried and the tactic failed and the Left have never been able to accept that and, with the able assistance of the BBC and others of similar ilk in the media, have been searching ever since to turn that defeat into some kind of moral victory by trying to demonstrate there was terrible foul play at the instigation of their favourite demon figure, the dreaded Margaret Thatcher about who no warping of the facts is too great to claim.


  2. Eddie Smith says:

    I hate Scargill more than he hated Thatcher. Let’s put it as simple as that.

    I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again: Scargill was only interested in his homeland of South Yorkshire, which – at that time – was also suffering from the demise of the steel industry in Sheffield. He was struggling with the fact that other areas such as Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were not dependent on the coal industry for their incomes, and so he needed his ‘flying pickets’ to bolster his campaign.

    I’m from Nottinghamshire. My family on my mother’s side are from South Yorkshire. I have been down a mine (Babbington Colliery – closed mid 80’s). My great-auntie knew Scargill (she also used to have Sunday dinner with Harry Worth, but that’s a different story). My great-grandfather was a shop-steward at a colliery in Barnsley and, even after his death, my great-auntie still received a sack of coal every week as part of his pension benefit.

    There are two annoying elements to this historical debate – those who know f**k all about the miners, their backgrounds, the demographics, and the localised economics of the era that they are talking about; and the hardcore Thatcher hating scum whom I meet on every unfortunate occasion when Forest are playing Sheffield United (sometimes Wednesday), and the “SCAB!!! SCAB!!! SCAB!!!” is rolled out, surprisingly without any cobwebs! And from fans who don’t even know why they’re shouting it because they’re too young!

    But the common element here is South Yorkshire. Everyone else has moved on.


  3. Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

    Just to nitpick: the 69.2% figure is meaningless, you simply can not average a collumn of percentages.


  4. John Standley says:

    “Nicholas Jones suggests that the Police forces of today know that instant reporting on social media has become a great restraining influence on their conduct. ”

    And the existence of smartphones and social media in the 80s would also have highlighted the excesses and thuggish tactics of the NUM.

    It cuts both ways, Mr Jones.


  5. Henry Wood says:

    Remind me, Mr. Jones, how many taxi drivers did the police kill?


  6. johnnythefish says:

    This is yet more drip, drip of the anti-Thatcher, anti-Tory propaganda we’ve come to know and loathe from the hugely imbalanced BBC. Clearing my mother’s house recently I found some old pictures warpped up in a 1970’s newspaper, the front page of which was about the Grunwick dispute and the flying pickets from every government-subsidised industry in the country bringing violence and disorder to the picket lines. Funny how you never hear any of that kind of retrospective on the BBC.


  7. Scronker says:

    And who did I see standing on the Grunwick picket line – yes you’ve guessed it – Labour politicians.