IT really shouldn't come as a surprise that the party which was in power in 1984, the party in power today, is refusing an official inquiry into the clash between police and miners at Orgreave (“Rudd is accused of ‘Establishment stitch-up’ over Orgreave decision”, The Herald, November 1). The decision, however, has an added layer of cruelty as campaigners had been led to believe by Theresa May, when Home Secretary, that some sort of inquiry would be held. Now, Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary, has said that an inquiry is not necessary as there had been no deaths or wrongful convictions, but the fact that no-one died at Orgreave was down more to good luck than anything else, as can be witnessed in the scenes captured by television cameras of baton-wielding policemen and miners with blood pouring from their heads.

Quite apart from Margaret Thatcher's shocking treatment of the miners she branded as "the enemy within" I have always thought that generations of miners have never received the respect they are due. It takes brave men to go under the ground and work literally at the coal face, under the bleakest of conditions and at peril to life and limb. Records of mining fatalities over centuries make grim reading; Scotland's worst mining disaster at Blantyre in 1877 killed 207 men, the youngest an 11-year-old boy, and in Glamorgan, Wales, 439 men and boys died in a gas explosion in 1913.

The Orgreave campaigners deserve to be treated with respect, and Ms Rudd should heed the words of Magna Carta: "To no-one will we deny or delay right or justice".

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road,


WE should all demand an inquiry into the facts that surround the “Battle of Orgreave” as this was an extremely worrying event in this country’s history.

In 1977 the then Labour Government, facing a possible strike by the police force, accepted the view of an inquiry that the police were entitled to a 45 per cent increase in their salaries – but, because of the prevailing unrest in the country ( the “Winter of Discontent”), it proposed phasing this in over a number of years.

However, the 1979 General Election intervened and one of the first actions of the new Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was to make full and immediate payment of this salary increase. The comments of a former chief inspector, Peter Kirkham, make sombre reading: “I think that was the start of the police’s problems, becoming politicised in a party political way, in an overt way. Thatcher knew she was going to use the police to fight her battles for her, therefore she wanted to invest in them.” He followed that with “Maggie’s plan worked – they thought Maggie was their hero” and “they loved Maggie ... they’d have done anything for her”.

A former Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, Brian Paddick, is also on record as saying that “I suppose, looking back, you might cynically see Thatcher accepting Edmund Davies’ recommendations as her buying the police – buying their loyalty ... and when it came to the miners’ dispute, it was sort of payback time”.

Note also the comments of Michael Mansfield QC, one of Britain’s leading barristers, who successfully defended the miners and is on record as having stated that the statements of the police who were at Orgreave were written using identical terms to make sure that Orgreave was classified as a riot. “They had to make sure they had the phraseology which fitted the definition of riot. So many, many statements had the same writing. It had been obviously dictated by a unit.”

The South Yorkshire Police force was notionally in charge at Orgreave and this was the same force that was in charge of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, where again the police records of the event have been shown as being less than accurate.

Now we have a Home Secretary denying the miners and the public access to the truth that surrounded the Orgreave events. My fear is that she is simply “keeping the police onside” just in case events surrounding the post-Brexit requires “strong policing”.

Alan McKinney,

10 Beauchamp Road, Edinburgh.

SO it has been decided that there should not be an inquiry into what has been dubbed the “Battle of Orgreave”.

I believe that the Home Secretary’s decision is mistaken and can so easily be construed as politically motivated, given that it took place during what were at times the turbulent and confrontational Thatcher years. The scenes at Orgreave in 1984 are not easily to be forgotten. We had thousands of miners fighting with thousands of police. We even had police on horseback with truncheons charging miners and many being injured. When the British people watched that on TV, they did not like to witness such serious violence in their country whatever the cause. These were indeed bad scenes. The Tory Government of the day was clearly going all out to defeat the miners and the gloves were off.

The absence of an inquiry will not dispose of allegations such as that the Government mobilised the police, including the Met, to stop pickets persuading working miners to stop work; the Government used the intelligence services to obtain information on the strike; the armed forces were put on standby, and the police were responsible for collusion in the manufacture of statements for use in prosecuting miners.

Many such allegations are of a long-standing nature and it occasions some surprise that an inquiry was not instituted during the Labour Government years of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (1997-2010).

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.