British poet Attila the Stockbroker remembers miners’ strike

This music video says about itself:

Chumbawamba – So Long – (Bye Bye Mrs Thatcher)

Kept in reserve until the day Mrs. Thatcher moved on, ‘So Long’ here performed by Chumbawamba in May 2009 sums up the feelings of many people in the UK.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker in Britain:

Anger and inspiration in miners‘ commemorations

Wednesday 16th April 2014

On the road with Atilla the Stockbroker

Occasionally I have an experience which affirms my political convictions, blasts away any cobwebs and gives me extra strength for the arguments and battles ahead.

Some can be supremely fun, like the two Rock Against Racism festivals in the late ’70s where, as a young punk rocker, I saw for the first time the power of music to change ideas.

Some experiences can be downright unpleasant, though. To this day one of the most informative — and formative — times of my life was, paradoxically, the 11 months I spent as a clerk in a Stock Exchange firm 33 years ago. It was the last job I had apart from being a poet and the one which gave me my stage name.

The naked greed and crass behaviour I saw there — worse now due to the new technology available which makes it even easier for brokers and bankers to indulge their casino fantasies at the tap of a keyboard — have stayed with me to this day.

And some experiences bring a whole gamut of mixed emotions, as happened a week last Saturday when, following a truly awful 0-0 draw for the Seagulls at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground, I drove to Edlington Top Club near Doncaster to do a spot at the Yorkshire Main Trust’s celebration of Unity Day, commemorating 30 years since the start of the miners’ strike.

On the way I saw a sign for Goldthorpe and remembered that it was the village which had ceremonially burned Thatcher in effigy on the day of THAT funeral a year ago. So I deliberately took a detour through it and entered a scene of utter devastation — shops and houses boarded up, a place which had the heart ripped out of it by the events of 1984-5.

I don’t believe in a north-south divide, to me that smacks of divide and rule, but there are certainly plenty of complacent and ignorant people in my part of the world who talk rubbish about the miners’ strike and its aftermath. I’d love to see them get out of their bubble and walk down the main street in a village like Goldthorpe. Especially the ones who claim to be “Christians,” yet vote Tory. Shame on them all.

And then I drove the short distance to Edlington, another devastated former pit community, a place determined to recreate the spirit of solidarity which sustained it through the civil war it faced 30 years ago at the hands of Thatcher’s private army of police. Earlier that day there had been a march through the village, led by the women who played such a vital role during the strike.

I arrived towards the end of the festivities at the Top Club and heard stories from those days told by proud and dignified people still burning with anger at the fact that such events could have happened in England in the late 20th century. I saw a brilliant young local band called Haberdash. And then I did some poems and songs, very well received, and left feeling inspired by the event and angered beyond belief by the society and politics which made it necessary.

Goldthorpe had a similar commemoration last Saturday, a week later. Thatcher is dead, let’s move on, some say. We can only move on when places like Goldthorpe and Edlington can move on and thrive in the way they did before her hatchet men ripped out their hearts.

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12 thoughts on “British poet Attila the Stockbroker remembers miners’ strike

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