Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tolpuddle Martyrs - The Great Betrayal

For many people, disillusionment with the left and Trade Unionism became a final break in the aftermath of the Great Miners Strike of 1984.

It became abundantly clear that the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) abused the traditional loyalty of their membership and the coal mining communities in order to pursue a political agenda. These communities were left devastated, the consequences of which endure to this day.

It is now cast into legend that a cruel, heartless Mrs Thatcher was to blame but this does not stand up to scrutiny. Even a tertiary examination of the facts prove this to be a cynical manipulation of history which has become a hallmark of the left.

Trade Unions started with humble beginnings and by honourable people. In the absence of a welfare state and national health care provision, Friendly Societies were formed as mutual support systems for those in the community who had fallen upon hard times or were taken ill so as they could not support themselves or their families. These Societies eventually became trade specific and began challenging employers on terms and conditions for their particular trade or industry.

Although Unions were technically legal,  employers and their supporters, remained hostile to the idea of collective action for mutual benefit. When six humble agricultural workers from Tolpuddle in rural Dorset risked everything to form a Society, in effect a Trade Union,  and refused to work when their wages were lowered, they were prosecuted.

They were found guilty using an obscure law which forbade the mutual swearing of oaths and subsequently transported to the penal colony in Australia.

The severity of the punishment provoked outrage. Hundreds of protests and marches across the entire country eventually secured their release. As a consequence of their acquittal and release, their collective action had effectively been condoned and with this Trade Unionism was born.

Collective action empowered groups of workers and this gave them some influence concerning the terms and conditions in the industries in which they were employed.

It is the scope of this influence that plagues British industry to this day.

Wherever there is a source of power there will be unscrupulous opportunist who will attempt to usurp that power for their own corrupt ends.

As soon as collective action was seen to be an effective tool for gaining concessions, ideologically inspired individuals did indeed usurp that power then broadened its scope from agreeing local terms and conditions to taking over the running of the entire industries.

Trade Union barons became so powerful that they could challenge democratically elected governments, as was witnessed during the Industrial strife in Great Britain in the 1970's and 80's.

These ideologically driven Union barons could no better run a country than they could run their individual industries and with the assistance of their puppet politicians in Parliament disaster for British industry followed.

Beer and sandwiches with Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his government gave rise to the Closed Shop legislation, demarcation lines, picket lines, secondary picketing,  flying pickets, sympathy strikes, wild cat strikes, the three day week, power cuts, rubbish mountains and the unburied dead.

For those with an unjaundiced view of history, this era of unbridled union power signalled the end of Great Britain as a global industrial power.

The Great Miners Strike of 1984 was an attempt by politically inspired Union barons, Arthur Scargill and Mick McGahey, together with their useful idiot minions in the NUM, to abuse the loyalty of the coal mining communities and bring down the democratically elected government of the day, a government with which they disagreed ideologically and despised.

They knew the consequences if they failed but as always with their perverted creed, the ends will always justify the means and they got to walk away unscathed and unpunished.

I observed the wreckage of the communities at the time and I still see the continuing aftermath today and in spite of this, for the barons nothing has changed.

They were and still are ideologically inspired cowards and they still abuse their members loyalty to engineer the imposition of a socialist state.

One noticeable difference is that in some cases the workers are almost as unprincipled as their bosses. Their loyalty can be bought with money extorted from employers too weak and cowardly to stand up to the unprincipled use of industrial muscle and blackmail.

The abuse of working people and the long suffering public by ideologically inspired, fat cat union barons, who are immune from the misery they cause or to the financial consequences of their actions, is a great betrayal of the sacrifice made by the principled and honourable workers of Tolpuddle who must be turning in their graves.

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