Orgreave - what do we think? I ask as a former police officer who was there for two days and have mixed thoughts about an enquiry.

(37 Posts)
StrictlyPan Mon 31-Oct-16 19:48:15

Among other miscarriages of action and process/legality over the years (esp Hillsborough, and also the death of Blair Peach in 1979) I am really not sure an enquiry would be productive, in terms of outcomes to satisfy. I utterly see why Andy Burnham would wish to demand it, but I fear it;s a bit of political posturing.
Any thoughts?

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Mon 31-Oct-16 19:52:44

Utterly unnecessary to have an enquiry. Ex copper here, but only in the 00's.

Totally agree with what the Home Secretary said - it would achieve nothing and be a costly exercise for no gain. Maybe this Home Sec has more common sense than the last one.

Those calling for something to be done shouldn't have assumed they were going to get their way in this. It isn't anything like Hillsborough.

Hassled Mon 31-Oct-16 19:56:37

What do mean by "in terms of outcomes to satisfy"? If I had been there as a picketer, I'd imagine the outcome I'd want would be some sort of calling to account, some sort of sense of justice having been seen to be done. But then I suppose those instructing the police to behave as they did will be long gone/retired. I have to confess to knowing very little about it, but the Wiki entry makes for pretty alarming reading - "no officer was disciplined for misconduct". Burnham isn't really one for political posturing, is he?

legotits Mon 31-Oct-16 19:58:39

Nearly got me.

Is that you Mr Scargill?

fabulous01 Mon 31-Oct-16 19:58:52

My other half is from a mining community and he is adamant it should be an enquiry.
Me. I agree with govt.
don't think it will get discussed again here

StrictlyPan Mon 31-Oct-16 19:58:59

I see that, but the Home Sec's bar is incredibly high, is it not? No-one died so it doesn't need to trigger an enquiry. Seems pretty exclusive of poor behaviour, and v violent on both sides.
My concern is that an enquiry would naturally focus on police behaviour, in circs for which we were not prepared and the extreme violence which we (police) endured would have no space.
We (police) did not wish to be there. At all. But what an enquiry would find? I am really not sure.

StrictlyPan Mon 31-Oct-16 20:17:16

"outcomes to satisfy" Hassled - I mean a conclusion re both sides would accept in any way as satisfactory. Which it plainly wouldn't.
We know that 'enquiries' are historically set up years later once the protanganists are long gone and beyond accountability, through death or a fuzzying of memory.
My memories are pretty clear and would provide evidences for both 'sides' tbh. The state is accountable for it's servant's actions, but here imo the mayhem we experienced would be ultimately presented as mitigation.
It was violence across about 2 square miles and everyone walked away. Unlike Hillsborough.

Hassled Mon 31-Oct-16 20:39:47

I do take your point. But I can also see why people might think that just because it was no Hillsborough doesn't mean an enquiry isn't warranted - Hillsborough shouldn't become a yardstick. I'll just sit on a handy fence I've found.

StrictlyPan Mon 31-Oct-16 20:53:29

yep, it shouldn't be a yardstick..which I've guilty used here...sorry about that.

The thing that also distances them is the police forces involved. Hillsborough was purely S Yorks. Orgreave and all the policing in Notts/Durham/Lancs/Manchester/ S Wales/ Midlands coal mines was mixed forces.
Orgreave policing involved S Yorks, Manchester, the Met. and N. Yorks, iirc. And a few others prob.

That fence has given me splinters today. Thought through notions is no substitute for emotions involved. Can see why seething anger in places remains.

cdtaylornats Tue 01-Nov-16 14:06:39

If there is an enquiry it has to go both ways and investigate the violence on the miners side and how that was instigated. If it was on instructions or at the urging of the NUM perhaps some of them need to explain themselves and have their collars felt if necessary

A look at the NUMs political motivation is needed - why call a strike when there was a stockpile of coal and in summer?.

Petronius16 Wed 02-Nov-16 16:29:36

As a general rule I'm pro unions. However, I do think an inquiry would show Scargill/NUM's deliberate attempt to take on the Government, no vote on striking for example.

Hillsborough showed that honest police officers had to falsify their note books. The population needs to have faith in its law enforcement staff.
I would it would be valuable to know if at Orgreave any pressure was brought on officers to change their evidence? Hillsborough was certainly different, no-one died at Orgeave.

Which means I'm no longer on my fence - needs repairing now - mind you it was a bit rickety anyway.

Living in the West Country, police certainly went from Somerset and Devon, so said local papers at the time.

BungoWomble Wed 02-Nov-16 17:21:47

It strikes me - this might be me talking nonsense as I'm no expert - that in asking for an enquiry into one clash in such a wideranging dispute involving so many what is being asked for is an enquiry into past relations between the state and its citizens. It's an interesting coincidence that the affair has blown up when we're ina very similar political situation, with a right wing autocratic government stamping on citizens' rights and protections (I thought for a while the junior doctors would be the new miners, thank goodness that simmered back down). And that is a very big subject for an enquiry: it's quite a big subject for a general election to be honest.

cdtaylornats Wed 02-Nov-16 21:40:21

The diference between then and now is we aren't facing a left-wing coup

Andrewofgg Thu 03-Nov-16 10:40:59

Any enquiry should begin with the attempt of the NUM to stop people going about their lawful occasions at Orgreave. They were planning a re-run of Saltley and it's a good thing it did not happen.

Andrewofgg Thu 03-Nov-16 10:41:15

Any enquiry should begin with the attempt of the NUM to stop people going about their lawful occasions at Orgreave. They were planning a re-run of Saltley and it's a good thing it did not happen.

Petronius16 Thu 03-Nov-16 11:43:08

Bongo you'e not talking nonsense with this analysis – relations with the state and its citizens. I feel we're lied to too often – Aberfan and Lord Robbens – lessons have been learnt etc.

Interesting letter in today's Times, Defining national tragedy purely in terms of deaths and wrongful convictions is dangerously narrow. If a police force can organise a concerted cover up, manipulate witnesses and commit perjuy … where in lies our democracy? Steven Capstick.

David Aaronovitch's article in the same edition however agrees with the Home Secretary.

Cdt your comment about a left wing coup intrigued me. Can't see it myself but …

In the 1980's I do think Scargill was hoping to head a left wing movement that would dominate the country much as Millitant Tendency in the 1970's. I suggest there was more chance of it happening then than there is now.

cdtaylornats Thu 03-Nov-16 13:09:42

Scargill was attempting to bring down the government with large scale industrial action. He just implemented his plan with astounding ineptitude.

Andrewofgg Thu 03-Nov-16 13:28:30

Scargill said of the 1983 election, which the Iron Lady won with more votes than nay party before or since, and a higher share than any party since 1945, that it did not mean that the working classes had to accept five more years of Tory rule.

So much for democracy.

(And of course the leadership of the NUM did not accept the decision of some areas not to strike, particularly Nottinghamshire. So much for democracy within the NUM!)

The defeat of the strike was a victory for democracy, however much you loathe Mrs Thatcher, however much you admire the miners. And part of that defeat was keeping Orgreave open for business.

Petronius16 Thu 03-Nov-16 15:51:22

Ooops cdt blush, completely misread you, sorry. You were saying there was a left wing coup then which isn't true now. Agreed.

Sorry.

Petronius16 Thu 03-Nov-16 15:56:41

Bit nervous about posting anything now, however, (climbs back on bike after falling off).

Scargill didn't hold a national ballot so Nottingham argued they weren't being undemocratic.

www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/mar/16/neil-kinnock-arthur-scargill-miners-strike

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 03-Nov-16 16:08:57

Scargill & Thatcher were both blinkered and unhinged over this imo.
And in further fence climbing I can see why they want an enquiry. I don't know what it would change. Chilcott & Levinson (sp?) haven't changed much.

babybarrister Thu 03-Nov-16 16:20:01

there has been lots of injustice in history and we do not necessarily have an enquiry for every occasion - what good would recommendations do when the whole way the police behave has moved on so much? unless anyone is saying that in fact this would happen today?

surely one of the deciding factors has got to be what difference it would make when we are talking about people - on both sides - who are now retired and policing is not the same as it was....

Surely this is more an issue for historians to write about now as an example of how the police behaved rather than having a legal enquiry? I do not say this because I think that the police behaved angels, I just cannot see how the average UK citizen is going to benefit in any shape or form from holding any enquiry ...

Andrewofgg Thu 03-Nov-16 19:08:14

The union called for regional strikes in every region which (by NUM rules, not "Tory laws") required separate ballots in each region. Nottinghamshire voted No and the attempts of miners from other regions to force them out were the negation of democracy.

Olympiathequeen Thu 03-Nov-16 20:08:07

What would it achieve? No one died, no one went to prison.

The miners were picketing in an illegal way. They were throwing missiles at the police. They were preventing people working. They behaved in a disgraceful way. The NUM were determined to bring down the elected government.

The government were determined to break the stranglehold of the powerful unions.

The police commissioners probably were instructed by the government to crack down on the strikers which they shouldn't have done. The police used excessive force.

Police and strikers were injured.

Everyone involved behaved badly.

Do the mining communities seriously think the police actions were worse than their own? Do they think pushing for an enquiry, which will cost the taxpayers millions, will be worth it just to prove the police colluded with the government when all the people involved have gone and the police force changed?

The police now have more independence and accountability and unions cannot hold the country to ransom. So what would an enquiry achieve except give a few blinkered miners the satisfaction of knowing they were treated badly while ignoring the fact they were also treading others badly.

Frouby Thu 03-Nov-16 20:18:40

My fil and his dad were at Orgreave that day. He says it was a riot. Every man for himself. The way he tells it, it was no better than organised football riots with the police on one side and the miners on the other.

I would rather see the money and enquiry would cost be spent on extra policing for now personally. Whatever the finding of an investigation neither party will come out well.

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