( Picture courtesy of the telegraph : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/uknews/10607957/In-pictures-A-look-back-at-the-Battle-of-Orgreave-in-1984.html?frame=2807590 )
I surprise myself at how deeply moved I am watching this evening’s Channel 4 news. The IPCC are not going to hold a public enquiry into what happened at Orgreave. There’s an middle-aged former miner who can’t speak at his press conference, because he is in tears. And I’m just moments behind him.
I was an odd kid as a Hampshire teenager – I avidly watched the news of the miners strike in the 80s. Much to the astonishment of my southern, staunch Tory parents. They must have wondered what on earth had happened to me.
So I remember the horrific, almost biblical, pugilistic images of the Battle of Orgreave on the 6 o’clock news. But now I see it with adult eyes. And I’m reminded and saddened how Thatcher’s Britain turned working man against working man. Miners and Policemen, both public sector workers, both doing hard & sometimes dangerous jobs, and both traditionally unionised. How did they end up pitted against each other?
I look to the political and civic leadership of the time, and can only conclude that the politicians sought to use the police force as part of their political war on the working class. And the police leadership failed their rank and file officers by taking them into it.
There’s every chance I’m wrong about that. An IPCC enquiry might have had me better informed.
I’m interested in people power. If the IPCC won’t investigate, can the people do it for themselves? What would a crowd-sourced testimony look like? Surely the simple act of honesty, of telling the stories of what really happened, could be a key part of healing the hurt that still exists.