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Secret Meetings

Arthur Marwick, 20 May 1982

Battered Cherub 
by Joe Gormley.
Hamish Hamilton, 216 pp., £7.95, April 1982, 0 241 10754 7
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... and dirty work of separating out dross from coal; many of them became canteen workers instead. Joe Gormley was, and is, firmly against the idea of any ‘modern young ladies’ trying to secure coal-face jobs. He was outraged by the women carrying coal in baskets on their heads whom he encountered on his visit to India in 1975. As one would ...

Ex-King Coal

Arthur Marwick, 31 March 1988

The History of the British Coal Industry. Vol. IV, 1913-1946: The Political Economy of Decline 
by Barry Supple.
Oxford, 733 pp., £50, December 1987, 9780198282945
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... that cutting off supplies could drastically disrupt the nation’s industrial and domestic life. Joe Gormley accepted planned closures and redundancies, exacting in return wage rises which put miners back at the top of the earnings league. Edward Heath was unwise enough to get into confrontation with the miners, an important factor in his loss of the ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... who rose to the post of NUM General Secretary under the presidency of Scargill’s predecessor, Joe Gormley. Daly was in many ways the opposite of Scargill: intellectually curious, extraordinarily well-read, ostensibly – and certainly in his later years, when he was destroying himself with drink – devoid of the kind of ambition that coursed through ...

Tale from a Silver Age

Peter Clarke, 22 July 1993

Edward Heath: A Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... than in the coal industry. What the miners wanted was a deal which made them a special case. Joe Gormley even had a bright idea about how it could be justified. It is a mark of Heath’s wish to avoid confrontation that he (and, of course, Armstrong) had a secret meeting with the miners’ leader in the garden of 10 Downing Street. ...

Downhill from Here

Ian Jack: The 1970s, 27 August 2009

When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 576 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 571 22136 3
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... to ransom’, while some on the left attacked it as a sell-out. In the view of the NUM leader, Joe Gormley: ‘Our role in society is to look after our members, not run the country.’ It seems inconceivable now that British governments would kowtow to, or at least try to persuade and seduce, organisations of workers rather than bankers and financiers ...


Alan Ryan, 6 November 1986

The Enemies Within: The Story of the Miners’ Strike 1984-5 
by Ian MacGregor and Rodney Tyler.
Collins, 384 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 00 217706 4
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A Balance of Power 
by Jim Prior.
Hamish Hamilton, 278 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 9780241119570
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... NUM in February 1981, when Sir Derek Ezra’s – reluctant – plans for pit closures provoked Joe Gormley into threatening a strike ballot which he could plainly have won. The Government thereafter took care to build up stocks of essential chemicals as well as coal at power stations, did its sums about the possibility of switching to oil if coal ...

Coalition Phobia

Brian Harrison, 4 June 1987

Labour People, Leaders and Lieutenants: Hardie to Kinnock 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 370 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 19 822929 1
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J. Ramsay MacDonald 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 276 pp., £19.50, June 1987, 0 7190 2168 5
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Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical 
by Patricia Romero.
Yale, 334 pp., £17.50, March 1987, 0 300 03691 4
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Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst 
by Barbara Castle.
Penguin, 159 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008761 3
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... for he knows how amply each can enrich the other. Take, for instance, his excellent chapter on ‘Joe Gormley, Arthur Scargill and the Miners’. If all historians during the miners’ strike of 1984-5 had shown such balance, knowledge of context and willingness to face unpalatable truths, their profession might have done more to reduce the dreadful ...

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