The West Highland Line passes by a few hundred yards from where I type.
Can’t stay away from the place. I had a day off today so took to the loch in the canoe for the morning.
Paddled through the narrows, round Inchmoan and back.
Because it was a weekday there was hardly a soul about.
My! it was great!
I noticed the news yesterday that Arthur Scargill had been told that he no longer qualifies for membership of the NUM. There’s lots of other stuff qouted which may or may not be true. There is an allegation that Scargill continued to benefit from a rent free flat in London owned by the union despite their headquarters moving to Sheffield in the 80’s.
I can clearly remember his deputy Mick McGahey almost wincing at some of the stuff Scargill came away with at the time. It was clear that McGahey was an unwilling assistant.
By comparison to Jimmy Reid’s Clyde work in, the 1984 miners strike was a disaster. Reid’s comments on the strike were controversial to say the least.
They were recalled by Tam Dalyell in this obituary in the Independent.
In 1984 there was a huge fall-out between the two ex-comrades. Reid made the interesting parallel between Scargill and Mrs Thatcher. “Those two deserve one another,” he told me. “She has closed her mind to the possibility of being wrong; Scargill never admitted to having any doubts at all. He has that frightening certitude, like Mrs Thatcher. Although they are both apparently poles apart, politically, philosophically and ideologically, they are both dogmatists. The difference is that she has the whole state machine at her disposal.”
In a devastating critique that confirmed the total political break with his former comrade, published some weeks before the end of the miners’ strike, Reid wrote: “I reject the notion that Scargill is leading some crusade against Thatcherite Toryism. Beneath the rhetoric Scargillism and Thatcherism are political allies. I would put it this way: the political spectrum is not linear but circular. In my experience the extreme left always ends up rubbing shoulders with the extreme right. They are philosophically blood brothers.”
Jimmy Reid was a wise man and was maybe fortunate that he was raised and lived in a more egalitarian society than Scargill. His comments though were absolutely spot on.