Follows Scargill's career, from his early involvement with the Communist Party and his mysterious defection, through to his gaining the only job he ever wanted - lifelong President of the National Union of Mineworkers. The book also examines the nature of Scargill's later rehabilitation.
No history of post-war Britain's industrial and political troubles would be complete without discussion of Arthur Scargill. The darling of the hard Left, vilified by the right, adored by his unions, he has had a long career of controversy and has stirred passions throughout the land. Paul Routledge follows Scargill's career, from his early involvement with the Communist Party and his mysterious defection from their ranks, through to his gaining the only job he ever wanted - lifelong President of the National Union of Mineworkers. Conflict has been Scargill's raison d'etre. He is naturally antagonistic, possessing an almost unstoppable will for power, and his dialectical training found him a willing pupil. Out of confrontation would come revolution and victory for the working classes. Yet it was arguably the failure of the NUM's confrontation with the government of Margaret Thatcher during the 1984-85 coalminers' strike that marked the breaking of the working-class will to fight through strike action, and ushered in a new era of industrial peace. And behind that failure was, argues Routledge, Scargill's misplaced sense of destiny and his arrogance in dealing with fellow leaders. The book goes into the scandal of the Gadaffi-Russian money affair, the Lightman inquiry and Scargill's admission of "teeming and ladling" with NUM funds amounting to millions, of which his own executive was ignorant. It goes into Scargill's relations with politicians and his fellow miners' leaders, such as the redoubtable Mick McGahey. And it examines the nature of Scargill's rehabilitation as the era of British heavy industrial might is finally consigned to the dustbin of history.