I was in my mid-twenties during the miners’ strike; a young Yorkshireman newly married and striking out to make a career, a home... a life. I’d been brought up to expect no help from anybody by right and to have to make my own way, whatever path I chose. I chose to accept that advice and get on with it. The backdrop to my childhood was the rotten and decaying world that our dalliance with socialism had wrought. Strike after strike, the derision of European neighbours and the emergence of dependent classes who seemed to believe they should be able to live off the state forever – cradle to grave.
The people who led the miners and their ilk may have been misguided, blinded by the ideology of their adored Soviet Russia but they were, surely, made of stern stuff. They wanted to work and they worked bloody hard; hard as nails, I thought. Then the other day on the radio, following the announcement that there would be no inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave, I heard things that made my blood chill a little. The miners’ leaders and all the big union firebrands regularly used stirring words stolen from history to eulogise about their ‘noble’ struggle against the oppressors. Fighting the good fight you could imagine Tolkein-esque warriors buoying up their troops before battle, resurrecting the words of Shakespearian heroes. “Comrades!” they cried, “We will never surrender!” and the roar of the crowd made the flat caps look less ridiculous.
Now, however, those caps are merely being wrung. On the trusty old PM programme those miners once again gave voice. But now it was the reedy, whining voice of losers who appropriated the vocabulary of others. Boo hoo, they sobbed, not fair and one after another, speakers got up to bleat out ridiculous utterings of defeat. “We ‘ad us cummyooniteh ripped asunder by t’Torehs!” they wept “Thi suffered, did t’bairns; we ‘ad us lives destroyed…” And on and on it went so that after the report I was almost ashamed to hail from Yorkshire where men were once men. These men weren’t the sturdy stock I’d formerly supposed they were; they were just another bunch of entitlement seekers.
Then there was the case of Professor Sir Tim Hunt, hounded from his job and life’s work because some people can’t handle a few words. He made an attempt at humour which fell flat and has now lost everything for what are being called ill-judged utterings. Did he hurl bricks at police? Did he aim a fist or a fence post at a scab? Did he threaten to kill or maim or rape or malign? Of course not, for all of that would not even attract an inquiry; his crime was far worse – he annoyed the feminists, who everybody knows can never see humour where there is an opportunity for attack. And in the face of a trumped-up suspicion of sexism UCL gave him no option but to resign.
The poor, starving, oppressed, huddled masses...
Meanwhile, the self-styled child-crusaders against the imagined dark forces of Tory/Mordor/Nazi evil are plotting to further their agenda by hijacking the sheeple’s marches against the equally fictional ‘austerity’, spreading fear and hate as only the far-left can. Don’t any of these people understand the importance of self-worth? They are not fighting for the welfare of people thrown into abject poverty; they are fighting for the right to have their every decision made by the state in return for a cringing reliance on its charity. The miners, the feminists, the austerity activists are emblematic of all that is wrong with their brave new world. But for all their bluster they are not fighting for freedom at all, they are insisting on slavery. Useful idiots indeed.
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