Public figures are queuing up to slam Boris Johnson’s despicable pit closures comment

Margaret Thatcher

Boris Johnson was branded “crass” and “shameful” for suggesting that Thatcher gave the UK a head start in the fight against climate change by closing coal mines. Public figures queued up to slam the PM’s comments made during a TV interview.


Johnson was asked during a visit to Scotland whether he would set an agenda to deal with climate change. He responded jokingly:

Look at what we’ve done already. We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime.

Adding that:

Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether.


Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon pointed out Thatcher’s assault on miners had nothing to do with the environment:

Lives and communities in Scotland were utterly devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet.

Read on...

She added:

To treat that as something to laugh about is crass and deeply insensitive.

Damage done

Politicians from Wales, another country whose coal industry was savaged by Thatcherism, took an equally dim view of Johnson’s comments.

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said:

Those remarks are both crass and offensive. The damage done to Welsh coal-mining areas 30 years ago was incalculable, and here we are, 30 years later, the Tories are still celebrating what they did.

But Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay might have captured the issue most accurately when she said:

Thatcher’s decimation of the coal industry had absolutely nothing to do with environmentalism and everything to do with her despicable anti-trade union ideology.

SNP MP Ian Blackford called for Johnson to apologise in person:

Even some Tory MPs weren’t impressed with the PM. One told the Times:

It is spitting in the face of communities that still haven’t recovered from the miners’ strike.

Johnson, meanwhile, has refused to apologise for his comments.


Thatcher’s war on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) endured for ten years. She famously labelled the mining community “the enemy within” and privately compared them to the Argentine regime against which she fought the Falklands War in 1982. And she used police to violently break up strikes at, for example, Orgreave. Some of the key details of the police operations were reported in The Canary in November 2020.

For Boris Johnson and his cronies, the pain of mining communities might be little more than a joke. But many of those people are still living with the reality of Thatcher’s scorched earth approach to the UK working class.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Marcel Antonisse

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  • Show Comments
    1. “The website ConservativeHome carries out monthly surveys among grassroots Tories to gauge their approval of the members of the Cabinet. In July, colourless dimwit Liz Truss, the Trade Secretary, came top with 89%, with Dishy Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor who brought us the cheap lunches last summer but gave loads of people Covid in consequence, on 74.1%. Third was Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the man who thought that Réunion was part of the landmass of France, rather than an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius. But then, when he was Brexit Secretary, Raab never bothered to read the Good Friday Agreement all the way through, so he obviously does not put a premium on knowledge.

      Boris Johnson, however, fared less well, dropping 36 points from June to an embarrassing 3.4%. AND THIS IS A POLL OF ACTUAL TORIES. “

    2. BBC Scotland, which is where the interview took place has been at pains to stress “Mr Johnson was JOKING”.

      For BBC Scotland, the raison d’etre, is to continually cast doubt on Scotland, the Scottish Parliament, The Scottish Government, Scottish public services, Scottish culture. It is a vehicle for colonialism.

    3. Thatcher wasn’t being green when she closed the mines, she was being vindictive, blaming the miners for her election defeat in 1974 when it was really public outrage against the financial and moral corruption of the Heath government (Poulson, Lonrho, Birmingham, Reginald “Real Estate Fund Of America” Maudling, Norma Levy, Lambton, Lucan, Slater Walker); and Thatcher provoked the Falklands War by Illegally arresting the Argentine scrap metal dealers (they were on South Georgia with the permission of the Falklands Islands Company to demolish the defunct whaling station); the Argentine did not invade the Falklands, they sent a rescue mission because they thought the Marines were gpoing to kill them, like they killed the Irish Hunger Strikers in 1981, even Chuchill balked at letting Ghandi die!

    4. If you look at Thatcher as a ‘foreign agent’, a great deal starts to make sense.

      Why she stripped this country of its Nationally-owned assets and sold them off to foreign corporates; why she attacked UK wages; why she sucked up to America and that dolt Raygun; why she did everything she possibly could to undermine even a feeling of ‘National’ awareness.

      She was not loyal to the UK. That may also have been part of the reason why the Queen loathed her too.

      Deliberately starting wars to get re-elected was just a small aspect of how loathsome she was.

      Still, at least there is a small patch of ground that will be a dedicated dance/urinal site for decades to come.

      1. Interesting take. Basically you are correct. She was, either by design or accident, an agent of the USA. As are most Thatcherites, including BoJo. but the Gammon and Little Englanders are too blind to realise they are being shafted.

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