James CallaghanLabour, 1976 - 1979
Callaghan inherited the office of prime minister following the surprise resignation of Harold Wilson. With only a tiny parliamentary majority to support him, he faced an increasingly one-sided confrontation with organised labour in the form of rampant strike action. Things came to a head in the so-called 'Winter of Discontent', a phrase from Shakespeare borrowed by Callaghan himself to describe the events leading up to February 1979. Britain was 'strikebound', with public servants staging mass walk outs, leaving food and fuel supplies undelivered, rubbish uncollected and - most notoriously - bodies unburied. Things became so bad in Hull it was dubbed 'the second Stalingrad'. The tabloid press has since been accused of overstating the severity of the situation (and wrongly quoting him as saying 'Crisis? What Crisis?') but it was enough at the time to sound the death knell for Callaghan's government later in the same year.
For those with a selective choice for memory, this is an extract from the pro-left BBC archives. Being so brief it did not mention the absurd Poland Britain Coal Pact which saw Polish coal being Imported into these Islands floating on the stuff, in ships that had to be built in Polish shipyards by a LABOUR Force desperate to throw off the yoke of Communism through Solidarity. Island where manufactured goods - especially from British Leyland - clogged up hectares of parking space as nothing more than newly manufactured scrap. No-one wanted British cars and no-one was buying them, NOT EVEN THE BRITISH.
So Harold Wilson and hence Lord Jim lay the seeds for industrial decay by doing what Labour does best, ignoring the problems at home an glorifying in solving problems elsewhere. A ridiculous concept as doomed to failure as Communism itself. Importing cheap labour whilst there was money available for modernisation of core industries lies squarely with the Luddites of the Unions. Accept it, it is a fact. What is the use of producing something that you can't sell? ? ? ?
Don't ask a teacher about these truths. Ask those of us who got of our arses and travelled the world trying to earn an honest living, and who have not yet succumbed to dementia as most Labour supporters appear to be born with.
So when I hear Scottish former miners castigate and berating Margaret Thatcher, it certainly was not Margaret that signed the treaties that undermined - excuse the pun - the coal workers, I have to ask them were they awake when Labour was filling the pockets of the Arthur Scargill's whilst ordinary miners families were being promised Utopia on the Coal Face? My grandfather was a miner with a good Catholic education. That meant the only thing he could do was swing a pick, genuflect to priests and beat up his wife. Not great credentials to pass on to the next generation.