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Dead Blow…alive and McKicking

Submitted by on April 21, 2013 – 6:54 pmOne Comment

How was it for you? Did you party like it was pre-1979 or was your Thatcher revelry as bad as it was for me? a massive anti-climax.

ripiecesA few years ago an IMUSA and FC United mainhead and me were discussing how we were going to celebrate on the day that thatcher dies. Various ideas were discussed and also a business idea from me to have inflatable gravestone dance-mats manufactured. We’d sell these inflatables to Manchester’s jubilant working class in a jam-packed Albert Square and a mass ding-dong dance-off would take place. The proceeds from my entrepreneurial skillage would go to summat like the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation. Just like the imagined lengthy, wild celebrations, the dance-mat never happened. Like most of my decent ideas, it stayed as an idea (if anyone has got a future “go-to market” and wants to “run with this” we can “touch base” and sort me a few akkas in royalties please). What else didn’t happen was the jam-packed Albert Sq. which wasn’t helped by the rotten cow dying on a Monday, although I reckon she probably croaked on the Friday but her chums kept the coffin lid on it so we couldn’t make a weekend out of it.

So Monday it was. The phone was in overdrive with texts of glee and a family get together at ours was quickly arranged. On the way to order the curry I was dropped at my local Openshaw Morrissons to get the beers in. It was when walking through the “Dead Blow” Steamhanner sculpture entrance to our new shopping centre that the anti-climax kicked in. The sculpture is a 29ft, 15 tonne artwork which reflects Openshaw’s industrial history. The area, once brimming with heavy industry, was a community full of skilled and semi-skilled people. Rather than give these industries the support that the likes of the successful economies of Japan and Germany got, thatcher made sure these industries were killed off. They were a threat to her holding power. They were the foundation of the labour movement and thatcher made sure they choked just like she did in Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds, Sunderland and Newcastle. They were already suffering a decline when she got in but instead of getting a boost they got the boot. She preferred to give these workers dole than support.

An indicator for what was to come happened a few hundred yards away from the Dead Blow at the Laurence Scott & Electromotors (LSE) works just less than two years after the bastard got in power.

I was one year into my apprenticeship and on block release at Openshaw Technical College where thousands of skilled Mancunians, mainly engineers, had been attending since the 1880s. We went on a field trip to LSE around September 1980 to see how electric motors were manufactured. Control of the company which had plants at four other UK locations had just been acquired by The Mining Supplies Group who had just bought 30% of the shares. The place was buzzing with activity and graft. As we toured the factory the seemingly high-spirited workers showed us the manufacturing process and took the piss in equal measure. All seemed to be well and LSE was portrayed to us as an efficient outfit vital to the mining industry at home and abroad and to the Ministry of Defence. Just over six months later, in April 1981, the 650 workers were told that their plant would be closing down, the minimum possible redundancy was to be paid and horrible Mining Supplies chairman Arthur Snipe told them that there would be no negotiation. What followed was a 12 month long battle in which the workers went on strike and occupied the plant. Snipe was soon forced into talks due to pressure from the National Coal Board via the NUM and 3 weeks of pickets from Openshaw at his main firm in Doncaster. However the NUM said they would only consider blacking LSE products if all of their plants came out on strike which didn’t happen. In July 1981 The Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (AUEW) told the Openshaw LSE strikers to go back to work. The workers voted overwhelmingly to defy this order and carry on the strike. In August with the strike now declared illegal, bailiffs retook the plant by smashing their way in with sledgehammers and pick axe handles and evicting the occupiers at 2 in the morning. It wasn’t the end though. That came in November when, in a plan like summat out of Operation Entebbe, arranged with Greater Manchester Police (who had pledged throughout that they could supply 2 officers for each picket), masked men flew helicopters in over the picket lines to retrieve £3 million worth of orders that were being held to ransom.

LSE chopperThe seeds were planted for what was to follow and how thatcher could use division (her forte) and the dibble, truncheoning any bastard that got in her way, to defeat what might have appeared to be a strong trade union movement. What followed was the decimation of M11 and industrial communities throughout Britian . What this dispute showed was that although workers were strong and solid in their own communities and workplaces, they could not rely on support from outside. A green light for the divide and conquer of thatcherism.

And so she won and is still winning. She would have been made up with all our engineering and steel plants shut down and us with a Steamhammer sculpture, a Morrissons, a B&M, a Cash Converter and a Poundland to replace them and all staffed with non-union labour. The framed photos in Morrissons of the Ferguson-Pailin switchgear works that dwarfed the house I was born in and the massive B&S Massey works are a nice touch but at the same time rub our noses in the dirt.

Back home, a nice curry, some nice beer and above all nice company of my own making were doing a good job of providing a good vibe to our impromptu party and helping me refocus on my intended celebration following my hearing of the horrid twat’s death. Despite Fergie’s usual treatment of the derby, via dodgy internet stream, we had a good night. But she has still won. Any party to celebrate her death, however you might have enjoyed it can only be followed by the sobering fact that she has won. She’s died a winner; her political heirs are continuing her damage. She’ll be fucking made up. We’re all going to die and if you die aged 87 knowing that summat you set out to do is progressing in a way you could only dream of then you die happy

It’s no surprise the twats in power now have used her death as a massive advert for their current policies that are built on and a continuation of hers. It’s been a piece of piss for them as Blair and Brown that governed before them made it oh so easy by failing to reverse any of the witch’s dismantling of any form of community and even more annoyingly, bumming her at any opportunity.

We’re fucked. This is it. All we had as mass protest was the Ding Dong song that the BBC, which we pay for, stifled.

Then came the funeral. More nose in the fucking dirt. The rotter that privatised everything got a funeral that the public paid for at a cost of £10 million? Why weren’t we fucking rioting over that decision? Why didn’t all her business mates and supporters foot the bill if that’s what they wanted? Well the answer to that is obvious – the servile British will cough up cos they’re the same mugs that tolerate and pay for the royal family.

She’s won and celebrating her death now seems pointless to me. She’s left us nothing to celebrate. She was always going to die and if she had died a loser then we could have proper partied but she’s died a winner. We’d have looked pretty stupid if we’d have celebrated Hitler’s death whilst losing WWII while his legacy, the Nazi party, continued to wipe out millions of people and  take over the Europe.

Across the road from my current house in Openshaw is the AEU (predecessor to the AEUW) Club. It should have been buzzing on the night of thatcher’s death but sadly most of the locals from my generation and younger don’t know what the letters AEU mean. Like the Dead Blow it is now just a reminder of what community we had. The engineering isn’t coming back, not just in Openshaw but anywhere and neither is the lost steel, mining or shipbuilding. But hey great news. Whilst thatcher was on her way into the incinerator building work was continuing just 30 yards away from the Dead Blow – we’re getting our first McDonalds offering Nuggetsmith and Burgerwright apprenticeships.WP_20130421_001

 

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