Letters, Monday, May 27, 2013

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Have your say

Scargill to blame, not Mrs Thatcher

I THINK David Hopper should look closer to home when attributing the demise of British coal mining to Margaret Thatcher.

 Try Arthur Scargill.

 Born to Communist, card-holding coal miner Harold and apolitical professional cook Alice, in 1938, Arthur Scargill was probably destined to enter politics one way or another, but he later insisted that Harold did not influence his decision to join the Young Communist league in 1955.

 Arthur spent 19 years in Wooley Colliery, no doubt honing his skills to become a very effective claims negotiator while also hewing the black stuff.

 Having tired of digging coal, but also having discovered a talent for negotiation, I believe he decided to find a vehicle to express his distaste for the establishment and class system.

 The NUM provided him with the means and he certainly dug a few holes in the political landscape.

 Arguably he did more than anyone else to close coal mines and also, over the years, had almost as many disputes with the Miners’ Union as he had with the Government.

 On August 25, 2010, it was reported that Scargill had been told that he no longer qualified for full membership of the NUM under union rules he had helped draw up, but was only eligible for “life” or “retired” or “honorary” membership – which did not carry voting rights.

 In February 2012, Scargill won £13,000 in a court action against the NUM, primarily for car expenses, and for the earlier temporary denial of membership.

 Scargill admitted there was ‘bad blood’ between him and the NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen, who said: “I honestly do believe that Arthur, in his own world, believes that the NUM is here to afford him the lifestyle that he’s become accustomed to.”

 However, in December 2012, Scargill lost a similar case concerning rent on his flat in the Barbican, London.

 For years the NUM had been paying £34,000 annual rent for the flat on Scargill’s instructions, without the knowledge of NUM members or many senior officials; Scargill claimed the NUM should continue funding his flat for the rest of his life and thereafter for any widow who survived him.

 Arthur founded the Socialist Labour Party – SLP – and stood for Parliament a number of times without success, poling a very low percentage of the vote each time, whereas Margaret Thatcher served Britain well for three terms as our first lady Prime Minister.

 Destiny placed Arthur Scargill in a situation where he was ill-equipped to succeed.

Denis Gillon,

Sunderland

Thanks for street light improvements

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank the Farringdon Residents Association

and Coun Stuart Porthouse for their hard work with a petition for the improvement in the street lighting in both Avalon and Arundel Roads in Farringdon.

 This work is now complete and has made a huge difference to the area. Thanks again.

Name and address supplied

Fed up of empty shops in the city

I GET fed up every time I go to the town and see empty shops in Fawcett Street. What has been done about this? How many more empty shops will there be?

 This is ruining the city. Must hell freeze over before those empty shops are working again?

 It’s bad to see two empty shops in the Bridges, but it’s even worse to see so many empty shops in Fawcett Street – there’s about five that are empty.

Edwin Robinson,

Zetland Square,

Sunderland