TORY government dirty tricks to avoid addressing police brutality during the 1984-5 miners’ strike go back more than 30 years, newly released Cabinet papers revealed yesterday.
Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet cronies were so terrified of the truth being exposed that they secretly decided that any form of inquiry “should be avoided.”
The Cabinet papers reveal they feared a “witch-hunt” against police — who had unleashed a wave of unprecedented and unprovoked violence against miners and their communities across Britain during the year-long dispute.
And 32 years later the Tory government is sticking to Thatcher’s line by refusing to hold an inquiry into the so-called Battle of Orgreave, in which 6,000 police on horseback and foot attacked pickets at Orgreave coking depot in South Yorkshire on June 18 1984.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd ruled out an inquiry into Orgreave last year, reneging on a Commons pledge just a few weeks earlier that there would be one.
Orgeave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) chairman Joe Rollin said the papers revealed the lengths the government would go to to stop workers taking successful collective action.
“Throughout the documents civil servants and Cabinet ministers refer to police violence and the damage that did to community relations — something OTJC has said from day one, and that only a public inquiry will get to the bottom of this and help to heal the wounds.
“It does not surprise us that the government of the day prevented an inquiry — and they are still doing the same thing.
“The glaring omission in the papers is that the police plan for the day at Orgreave has not been released. This will tell an even bigger story. The plan was for a riot — but not by miners.”
National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Chris Kitchen said: “The revelations are in line with Amber Rudd’s decision. We know the strike was orchestrated by the government and they still do not want people knowing how they planned it, particularly what happened at Orgreave.”
Supporters of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign will be at the Home Office in London at 2pm on Monday to “Make A Noise For Orgreave.”