Sunday, May 06, 2012

Miners' Gala 1984

Miners' gala
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
I’m riding on a lorry through
the Edinburgh streets. Beside
me is a missile, quite small,
made of cardboard painted
silver. Should be black.
Upturned faces in the sun
stare white; some shout:
Save oor pits, missus
as if this missile
had the power to sweep away
the English government of the day
and blow it back to when
their fathers walked in
heavy boots, pale in the
morning sun and back,
black-faced at dusk
from hellish pits of endless toil
that now would end
and they would miss. And I
and my missile trundle on,
an incidental sideshow
in Thatcher’s Circus 84.

C.M.M 05/12

I don't know why this day all those years ago should suddenly come into my head - I was thinking, perhaps, about the expectation we have of people who put themselves forward in politics and how often that expectation is completely misplaced. In the '80s, my activities were focussed on getting rid of nuclear weapons, which came bound up with the Scottish hostility to the Thatcher government. All this seemed to come together at the annual Miners' Gala in Edinburgh during the now famous miners' strike.

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