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Why did the Labour government close so many coal mines?

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In 1984, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission found that 75 percent of British pits were losing money. It cost £44 to mine a metric ton of British coal. America, Australia, and South Africa were selling it on the world market for £32 a metric ton.

 

 

As if they weren't subsidised by the respective states. Ditto coal from Eastern Europe.

 

---------- Post added 14-04-2013 at 01:41 ----------

 

Pits do not close because all the reserves are exhausted. They close because the remaining coal is not economic to mine.

 

 

Nice to see a mining expert on SF :help:

 

Of course coal seams never ever hit a fault line - a well known geological fact :hihi:

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The closure of all pits was for economic reasons. Coal was subsidized from the moment the industry was nationalized. The only thing that determined whether a pit was kept open was the level of subsidy the government was prepared to pay. Pits do not close because all the reserves are exhausted. They close because the remaining coal is not economic to mine.

 

Wilson's government closed more pits than any other government in history, because they wouldn't fork out for non productive pits to mine coal that wasn't worth the price.

 

Your political leanings might make you want to think otherwise, but the miners strike merely demonstrated to the country as a whole the futility of paying massive subsidies to an unreliable industry hell bent on using its position to bring down a government and hold a population to ransom.

 

My Dad worked in pits that became unworkable because they became flooded, filled with methane gas (he was on one occasion trapped following an explosion underground), or - as in his native county Durham - simply exhuasted.

 

But I wouldn't disagree with your contention that (even during the Thatcher government) coal production needed subsidising. What's wrong with that? To this very day the government continues to subsidise many things, for example, the rail network. Indeed, and most importantly, the government subsidises the production of nuclear energy.

 

If nuclear energy can be subsidised, why not coal energy? The answer, I believe, is because Mrs Thatcher was hell bent on destroying the unions. Indeed, Mrs T settled an earlier wage demand from the NUM, but then stockpiled coal. Then when Arthur Scargill was goaded into calling strike action (in the summer (!) and without a ballot of his union members) the battle lines wre drawn.

 

The miners lost, and the McGregor pit closure programme was accelerated. There was no doubt that Margaret Thatcher won the battle, and the unions subsequently became emasculated.

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and yet no one round here raises an eye brow about it.

 

The problem with rabidly supporting one party over another is that at some point you will blot out the failings of "your lot", even if they're doing exactly the same thing as the "other lot" (whom you have been vociferously criticizing).

 

The technical term for this is cognitive dissonance.

 

Both supporters of the left and right suffer from it.

 

Alternatively, some people are just so gosh darned simple minded that they just can't cope with anything other than a simplistic black/while view of the world.

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My Dad worked in pits that became unworkable because they became flooded, filled with methane gas (he was on one occasion trapped following an explosion underground), or - as in his native county Durham - simply exhuasted.

 

But I wouldn't disagree with your contention that (even during the Thatcher government) coal production needed subsidising. What's wrong with that? To this very day the government continues to subsidise many things, for example, the rail network. Indeed, and most importantly, the government subsidises the production of nuclear energy.

 

If nuclear energy can be subsidised, why not coal energy? The answer, I believe, is because Mrs Thatcher was hell bent on destroying the unions. Indeed, Mrs T settled an earlier wage demand from the NUM, but then stockpiled coal. Then when Arthur Scargill was goaded into calling strike action (in the summer (!) and without a ballot of his union members) the battle lines wre drawn.

 

The miners lost, and the McGregor pit closure programme was accelerated. There was no doubt that Margaret Thatcher won the battle, and the unions subsequently became emasculated.

 

Cometh the hour, cometh the... er... woman.

 

Thatcher and her policies rose out of a situation where a group of workers had used their power to usurp the democratic will of the electorate by controlling govenment actions and ultimately causing the failure of democratically elected government. They would have been neglecting their responsibilities if they had not tried to prevent this happening in future.

 

The NUM caused the initial problem. The Thatcher government reacted to destroy the problem. Unfortunately it threw out a lot of babies with the bathwater. But I don't know whether there was a better way that would have worked.

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The main legacy is that we now have regular fuel supplies. We couldn't claim that in the decade or so before Thatcher came to power.
we might have regular fuel supplies but held to ransom by the foreign companies of what we pay for them :loopy:. you say it was cheaper how come our bills havent gone down :suspect:

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If the unions in some of the declining industries had modernised, changed their working practices and become more efficient, and accepted some redundancies as part of that process, there might have been a lot more pits and firms left open today because they would have been able to compete. I've read on a couple of threads now that Thatcher should have modernised the industries "like Germany did", but the MO of the union movement is anti-modernisation, because it's in their vested interests to stay inefficient.

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we might have regular fuel supplies but held to ransom by the foreign companies of what we pay for them :loopy:. you say it was cheaper how come our bills havent gone down :suspect:

 

According to this they have fallen, both gas and electricity are cheaper in real terms than they were in 1979, their cost peaked in 1982 but started falling until 2002, when they started to rise again, but they still remain lower in real terms than 1979 and the percentage of our income spent on domestic fuel was also falling until 2002, but still remains lower than it was in the early 80's.

 

Page 13 as a couple of graphs.

 

 

 

Domestic sector fuel prices corrected to 2006 money values.

 

6.3% of income was spent on domestic fuel in 1970 and only 3.5% of income in 2006,

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According to this they have fallen, both gas and electricity are cheaper in real terms than they were in 1979, their cost peaked in 1982 but started falling until 2002, when they started to rise again, but they still remain lower in real terms than 1979 and the percentage of our income spent on domestic fuel was also falling until 2002, but still remains lower than it was in the early 80's.

 

Page 13 as a couple of graphs.

 

 

 

Domestic sector fuel prices corrected to 2006 money values.

 

6.3% of income was spent on domestic fuel in 1970 and only 3.5% of income in 2006,

whats the figures for 2011- 2012 and remember getting a reduction on something allready inflated is not a reduction :hihi:

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whats the figures for 2011- 2012 and remember getting a reduction on something allready inflated is not a reduction :hihi:

 

Lower in real terms and as a percentage of income than it was in the 70’s, but higher than it was in 2002. As a country we need to cut our fossil fuel consumption and use more renewable energy.

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Lower in real terms and as a percentage of income than it was in the 70’s, but higher than it was in 2002. As a country we need to cut our fossil fuel consumption and use more renewable energy.
wheres the links to show your figures ? 1 in 5 households are now in debt according to uswitch not all that cheap then http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/apr/09/households-debt-energy-supplier-uswitch Edited by ricgem2002

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The problem with rabidly supporting one party over another is that at some point you will blot out the failings of "your lot", even if they're doing exactly the same thing as the "other lot" (whom you have been vociferously criticizing).

 

The technical term for this is cognitive dissonance.

 

Both supporters of the left and right suffer from it.

 

Alternatively, some people are just so gosh darned simple minded that they just can't cope with anything other than a simplistic black/while view of the world.

 

I totally agree. If Mrs Thatchers government had taken the same tack as Heath or Wilson then I wonder where we'd be as a nation? I remember the 25% wage demands, and what the big wage rises meant for others in society who weren't protected by the unions. The really poor just got poorer. I don't recall large scale protests for increases in double figures for pensioners back then. :(

 

I'm old enough to remember the closed shop, differentials, and demarcation. For instance, a strike would be called because someone crossed the line in their factory, by doing a minute part of someone else's job. It appeared farcical and certainly didn't help to make British industry respected at the time. Management in nationalised industries were also partly to blame, the status quo meant they could remain in their comfort zone whilst being propped up by public funds.

 

IMO neither the left or right have all the answers. The solution is usually somewhere in the middle.

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The thing that gets me, is that alot of these people jumping on the Thatcher band wagon, having parties etc, probably werent even directly affected in a negative way with anything that she did.

 

Me, I have too much going on in my life to care too much..

 

And I understand the irony of my posting on this thread :hihi:

 

You have too much going on in your life to care about politics?

 

I think it's a fantastic thing that the 'youngsters' are jumping on the band wagon. It just goes to show how passionate young people are about politics and how deep the destruction of Thatcherism goes. It will continue to be felt throughout generations to come.

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