February 11th 1972

“First Power Cuts”

It seems I documented the days we received power cuts.

These were as a direct result of the miner’s strike against the government, and due to raw material (coal) not being made available to the electricity generating stations. Households & businesses throughout the UK  – in some kind of day-on/day-off rotation – had their supplies cut off for 4 to 6 hours to “conserve energy”.

The strike itself had started in early January ’72, and, in retrospect, I am surprised the cuts took over a month to kick in down in Southern England.

On Feb 9th, Prime Minister Edward Heath had introduced what was called “a three day week” (where major businesses could only open 3 days out of their regular five, again to conserve electricity) as well declaring a “state of emergency”.

It’s weird – that whole black hole again – but I can’t recall the cuts causing me any major inconvenience, but I realise it must have been awful for a hell of a lot of people. (It’s somehow unsettling to realise that, given the growth of technology and ‘electronic dependence’ since those days, utter chaos would now prevail if power cuts again returned to the UK landscape)

As the good socialist I have almost always been (similar to my Man City embarrassment, there were a few years in the 80’s when I adopted *gulp* Tory ideals), my support would have been in favour of the miners. (Always support the little man doing the biggest job) 

Googling the dispute, I discovered that the miners were on their first strike for almost 50 years, and were demanding a meagre £9 pay-rise to their pitiful weekly wage of just £25 ($50).  I don’t know about you, but there’s not enough wild horses in the world that could drag me underground to a dank dark coalface to swing a pick-axe for £100 a month. Not even for a million times that.

Tory tosspot Ted Heath had to cave in after just seven weeks, giving in to the mineworkers demands. Silly old shoulder-shrugging sod never learned his lesson though, later attempting to impose “social contracts” on the unions. These suggested miners should not be able to strike, accept all-new working conditions and do unlimited overtime when necessary. This less-than-clever “toecap in the balls” approach resulted in the miners union stopping all overtime and yet another “state of emergency” in 1973. (Followed by more strikes in 1974)

I wonder how much those precious batteries in my cassette player got used during this period?


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