The Great / Dear / Miracle / Fascinating Leader (delete adjectives not needed) was in full flow yesterday at the Miners Gala (Strange title, I know, but the Labour Left has always lived about thirty years in the past, as there haven’t been any working miners in Durham for over twenty four years. As I said, our beloved Jeremy (T.G.D.M.F.) Corbyn was speaking, and of course being cheered after every other sentence by the
sheep loving crowds who had flocked into Durham to hear the Word from the new Saviour. (I know, but that’s what they were calling him, and who am I to argue with ‘Living History?) They were also singing ‘Hey, Jeremy Corbyn, but that was the only line they sang; but they sang it over, and over, and over again! (Bit like a funeral dirge, but not as funny!)
The words and phrases he spoke were somehow strangely relevant to another age, although you must understand I wasn’t actually there myself, as I did not wish to join the adoration session which the Gala speech turned out to be. I will not bore the readers with the speech, (available online; all you need to do is search, and then you can gently go to sleep) as actually I could write it myself from memory, a very old memory, which resulted in a very different outcome from that promised.
Corbyn is, as he openly admits, from a Marxist-oriented playbook, where the only difference between his sort of Government and the Soviet Russia-style Government operated by the Communist Bloc is that this time, he reckons everything will go like clockwork.
Unfortunately, the spring has broken on his Socialist Clock, but he cannot recall how the sad story went, back in the Left’s glory days of the 1970’s; and on into the early eighties. Many of MY generation can recall, vividly, the appalling circumstances which sprang from a weak Centre-Left Labour Government, which inherited No. 10 Downing Street from Heath, and then the pressures mounting almost daily from the hard-line militant Unions, the strikes which almost decimated British industry, the ports almost constantly backed up due to wild-cat strikes almost every day, the strikes hitting at every sinew of British commerce: which ended in the Catastrophe of the ‘Winter of Discontent’, where my own uncle, a lifelong Labour supporter and voter, but also a deeply religious man; declared to my father; ‘Peter, they wouldn’t even let the dead be buried!’ A notorious industrial action during that winter, and one which was later frequently referred to by Conservative politicians, was the strike by gravediggers, members of the GMWU in Liverpool and in Tameside near Manchester. Eighty gravediggers being on strike, Liverpool City Council hired a factory in Speke to store the corpses until they could be buried. The Department of Environment noted that there were 150 bodies stored at the factory at one point, with 25 more added every day. The reports of unburied bodies caused concern with the public. On 1 February a persistent journalist asked the Medical Officer of Health for Liverpool, Dr Duncan Bolton, what would be done if the strike continued for months, Bolton speculated that burial at sea would be considered. Although his response was hypothetical, in the circumstances it caused great alarm. Other alternatives were considered, including allowing the bereaved to dig their own funeral’s graves, deploying troops, and engaging private contractors to inter the bodies. The main concerns were said to be aesthetic because bodies could be safely stored in heat-sealed bags for up to six weeks. Bolton later reported being ‘horrified’ by the sensationalised reportage of the strike in the mass media. The gravediggers eventually settled for a 14% rise after a fortnight’s strike.
Labour tried to govern, but the Unions rode over every move they made, because the Unions knew weakness, and knew how to exploit it, and with virtually no Law to stop them, they sent out the ‘flying pickets’ to stop the coal trucks and oil tankers entering the Power Station gates, the electric generators began to slow, and the Government caved in and gave wage rises which, ultimately, could not be afforded. Wage claim followed wage claim, and what the nurses got, the shop workers wanted more. Chaos ruled, and then more strikes catapulted Britain into further ruin. Inflation was rampant; in total in 1979, 29,474,000 working days were lost in industrial disputes.
Corbyn can promise that he will borrow and spend, or rather as he terms it ‘invest’ in British infrastructure; and borrow ever more to spend to reduce a non-existent poverty, to remove the need for food banks, when the only ones to visit have spent the benefit cash, which should have gone on rent and food, but probably went on booze, gambling and more booze.For an updated primer on what happens when a Left-wing politician gains power, check out the record of one Sadiq Khan, Labour Mayor of London especially when it comes to Union negotiations. It is illuminating, if nothing else!
For a worthwhile look back at the disaster which was a Hard-Left-Wing Union-dominated Britain, try When the Lights went out; or, if you can find a copy, the better coverage of The Writing on the Wall, by Phillip Whitehead. Either book, any relevant online history, they will tell you the truth, of the disaster which was a Britain governed (ha!) by Labour in the Seventies, before we were saved by a woman; a proud Briton, a brave politician; Margaret Thatcher was that woman.