Miner's Advice Home Page!
A message to working miners and ex-miners / Useful contacts
Who is David Douglass?
Recommended Reading
Links to other sites which may be of interest
The latest news
Mining 2000 - The Last Collieries
Please Sign Our GuestbookThis PageHatfield Main,   NUM Advice CentreMiner's Advice Reviews



Unofficial shift in NUM policy
A personal view by David Douglass

Anyone reading the current edition of the official NUM journal ‘The Miner’ will detect an unmistakable shift in policy direction toward nuclear power. Astounding I know, but unmistakable nonetheless.

Over the last five years, we have seen a softening of attitudes and weakening of our policy on nuclear power among sectors of the NUM National and regional leaderships. On more than one occasion, the leadership has had to be reminded that the NUM policy is total opposition to nuclear power and for the total closure of all nuclear power generation with the exception of scientific research projects.

Why on earth would the leadership of the NUM be either flirting with let alone courting the Nuclear lobby? We don’t know, one can only speculate that either a potential merger with Pro nuclear AMICUS is on the cards or else Blair’s pro nuclear evangelisms will not allow Labour Loyalist wings of the Union leadership to totally confront the drive to nuclear power despite our formal commitment to do just that.

The front page of the current edition in its large font fourth paragraph argues, “Imported coal Prices are now higher than British coal prices and nuclear power stations will take years to Build and bring on stream” (our emphasis) that isn’t the point is it? We don’t object to them on grounds they ‘take years to build’ .We don’t want them to be built at all! In the feature article by NUM National Secretary Steve Kemp he correctly argues “In the past five months our electricity generating requirement has been met by coal to the tune of 50% as gas gets more and more expensive, nuclear power stations will take years to build and renewables are nowhere near making a significant contribution.” However, the point is why should he be talking as if it is inevitable or desirable that nuclear energy stations are going to be built or should be built? More oddly he argues about ‘the danger of one fuel dependency’ ..We should recall that this ‘danger’ came from us, the miners, the one fuel dependency was COAL, it was only a danger because it gave the miners a degree of strategic power which the Tories and subsequently New Labour found Anathema. This was the reason they run down the mines to virtual extinction in the first place.

Clearer still Steve goes on to say “All the talk about nuclear power being the answer is not viable
in the short term..” This can only mean that it is the answer in the long term, or what other interpretation could one put on the conclusion ?

The underlying cause of the change of attitude rests with the changed political complexion of the current NUM leadership, which is now the most pro-Labour in twenty five years. Obviously, this isn’t to say it is uncritical of Blair and its more blatant Tory perspectives, but it has taken on board the language and presumptions of the PLP, and stands to the right of many current union leaderships in its belief in Labour and Labour policies. The ‘Leadership Comment’ talks about the trust, which Tony Blair once had. Not in our neck of the woods he didn’t. It talks about the’ better policies which are being pursued by the current government’ (?!)

Infuriatingly it talks of ‘many of the reforms that have been introduced were needed’. Reform is double speak for making things much worse for working class people and their organisations. They aren’t reforms at all, they are overwhelmingly steps back to more blatant and naked free market capitalism. Nowhere does this ‘leadership’ even mention an alternative to Blair’s New Labour Party, or that we can be anything other than Stuck with it. A bit like nuclear power in the minds of this ‘leadership’. The truth is we need neither nuclear power short term or long term, or New Labour and the completely parliamentary rotten road show. We need to fight for controls of the planet by the people of the planet enlarge. We must undoubtedly address the crisis posed by global warming and the naked pollution caused by unsafe coal production. But coal is still a fuel to provide the bulk of the worlds energy albeit if burned in clean burn technologies and is accompanied by the replanting of the worlds rain forests, the lungs of the planet. Socialism energy and the environment are the tasks of the working class worldwide, the NUM was once among the clear-sighted in that vision, sadly, its political eyesight is badly deficient these day and clearly requires the remaining NUM membership to get back involved with their union and take an active part in its future policies and perspectives.



Back to Our View