We have to accept that the days of honesty in political discourse are well and truly over having been replaced by spin, deceit, lies and propaganda. Distorting history has traditionally been the preserve of the victors in battle, in the case of modern political power seeking, politicians indulge freely.
These unscrupulous power seekers will say or promise anything to get their grubby hands on political power regardless of the cost to honesty, decency or moral integrity. It would appear that poisoning young minds by generating a visceral hatred of an opponent is an acceptable practice.
A chance meeting in a social club with an aspiring eighteen year old writer/politician revealed the truth about deliberately generated hatred. It was reminiscent of the 'three minute hate' made famous by George Orwell in his futuristic novel 1984.
The young man in question has a "deep burning hatred in his heart for Margaret Thatcher...he will never forgive her for destroying the Welsh coal industry and his community". Hatred on such a scale is a wasted emotion but it is a tragic waste when it is based on deliberately distorted history.
The fact that the correct version of history is easily accessible confirms that the young man has accepted the version of history given to him by unscrupulous ideologues and sadly fostered his burning hatred on the basis of it.
Presumably he will pass it on to the next generation and so forth with the result that the corrupted version is accepted as fact. Consequently political loyalty and votes will be assured in perpetuity.
I am not an apologist for Margaret Thatcher by any means nor do I endorse her policies but this gentleman's ignorance of the history about his local community is staggering. I feel it incumbent upon myself to put it right, demonstrating how history has been shamelessly distorted in the process.
The following facts are taken from South Wales Coalfield Series, Book 62. Merthyr Valley - Ray Lawrence Bsc. Also Collieries Of South Wales: Volumes 1 and 2 - John Cornwell
Our young friend's town and the surrounding area were thinly populated backwaters until the rise of iron making in the late eighteenth century. Four great ironworks were built between 1760 and 1780 causing an immigration boom which took the population into the tens of thousands. So it was iron and not coal that was responsible for the rise of his community in the first place.
Due to technical innovation and market pressures, the iron industry, along with the surrounding communities, went into decline in the 1860's and by the turn of the nineteenth century it was all but finished.
The remaining coal industry was still substantial consisting of over two hundred registered deep mines, drifts and levels in his home valley. The discovery of cheap, easily accessible oil started the decline of the coal industry but it was the recession starting in 1929 that just about finished it off.
By the time the industry was nationalised in 1947 the two hundred coal mines was reduced to four (4) and by 1955 that was reduced further to just two (2)
For the record Margaret Thatcher was born in 1925, became a research chemist then a barrister. She entered Parliament in 1959. She held the Education and Science portfolio until becoming Leader of the Opposition in 1975. By the time she became Prime Minister in 1979 the coal industry and its communities had already declined to the point of dereliction.
The facts that our aspiring friend chooses to ignore are that Margaret Thatcher wasn't born when the iron industry ended and was only four years old when the coal industry went into decline. She wasn't in Parliament at the time of nationalisation or when the industry was reduced to two mines in his valley.
The coal industry that remained was old, inefficient and costly. This necessitated a re-organisation which saw the Labour governments under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan closed two hundred and ninety mines. The ongoing re-organisation saw a further one hundred and sixty close under Mrs. Thatcher's Conservative government. That's one hundred and thirty less than her Labour predecessors.
It was the year long miners strike of 1984/5 that raises the emotional temperature but the blame for that lies with the politically motivated leadership of the mine workers union. Arthur Scargill and Mick McGahey were two lifelong communists who had a deep loathing for the Conservative government and for Mrs.Thatcher in particular.
They misused the traditional loyalty of the mining communities in an attempt to bring down the democratically elected government. They refused to hold a national strike ballot and forbid local union lodges to hold one either. They left it the local miners whether to strike or work normally, those who decided to work normally were picketed out using threats, violence and intimidation.
It is the considered opinion of MR. Lawrence that had a ballot been allowed, the South Wales area would have voted to work normally.
The democratically elected government of fifty five million people was never going to submit to a union comprising one hundred and ten thousand members. The remaining industry never recovered from the political ambitions of Messrs. Scargill and McGahey but agenda driven commentators ensured that Mrs.Thatcher got the blame.
Our aspiring young friend was horrified that someone could actually exonerate the object of his anger and vilification and pass the blame to his heroes. He obviously has an emotional need for fiction to become fact and vice verca
*In a footnote to this history it should be noted that if the industry had survived in some form after the malign attentions of Scargill and McGahey, it would have been finished by the restrictions set out in the Climate Change Act.
This industry killing legislation was put in place by the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a Mr. Edward Miliband. Better known today as Red Ed, the leader of the Labour Party.