PERHAPS the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, felt that the police just didn’t hit those aggressively unarmed miners hard enough. I mean, it’s not as if anyone was killed during the Battle of Orgreave in June 1984 when cavalry divisions of the West Yorkshire Police waded into unarmed striking miners, batons swinging.

The Home Secretary announced on Monday that she didn’t think the public interest would be served by an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave. Rudd, in explaining her decision, said that “ultimately, there were no deaths or wrongful convictions”.

So now we know the main criterion that must be fulfilled before a Tory administration conducts a public inquiry: somebody has to die. It’s not now enough for police to have fabricated evidence and to have made wrongful arrests and to have been shown routinely assaulting unarmed members of the public from horseback. Neither is the evidence of former serving police officers backing up the evidence of such behaviour deemed to be good enough.

Not that mere death would be a guarantee of action by successive Tory Governments where South Yorkshire police are concerned. It took a quarter of a century and one of the most obscene cover-ups in the long and corrupt history of the UK police before the Government acknowledged that the 96 Hillsborough victims and their families had been wronged and their reputations besmirched by the relentless lies of the police.

The tactics and strategy to deny responsibility for Hillsborough are at play in the ongoing stitch-up of the Orgreave miners: Lies told under direction from on high; fabricated evidence; choreographed statements and an underlying contempt for the victims.

Margaret Thatcher, while laying waste to the UK’s industrial heartlands and trying to destroy trade unionism, turned the British police into her own thuggish private army by awarding them huge pay rises at a time when she was putting other public sector workers to the sword. In waging her class war against British workers she knew she would require the unquestioning and unyielding devotion of her own uniformed bovver boys.

Britain’s finest never, ever let her or her party down. Whether it be coshing unarmed miners struggling to save their communities or kettling anti-austerity demonstrators, our boys in blue have always been ready to do the Tories’ bidding in the safe and secure knowledge that they will never be held to account for their actions. And, in those very rare occasions when the public overwhelmingly demands that they must, their pensions and retirement packages have long been safeguarded and the last protections of death, old age and infirmity have kicked in.

The British state’s dogged protection of the police has bred a sense of entitlement amongst them. They think they can get away with any degree of malfeasance in public office. It can only have been this arrogance that was behind some extraordinary emails by the Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police, David Crompton.

The Guardian newspaper revealed the existence of emails demonstrating fully the extent to which this police force, which was rotten to the core, felt it had become untouchable. Crompton wrote: “One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version … in fact their version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t!! I just have the feeling that the media ‘machine’ favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.”

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are now seeking a judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision. On Monday afternoon there was fighting talk from the campaign as they stated their intention to seek crowd-funding to pay for a review. “The gloves are off,” they said.

I hope they are prepared for the long haul. Every Conservative Government since Margaret Thatcher’s has faithfully channelled her hatred of trade unionism and her doctrinal war against workers’ rights: this one, especially so.

Before, during and after the Miners’ Strike, which spanned 1984 and 1985, every instrument of the British state was deployed and every one of its greasy levers pulled to destroy these workers and their communities. No lie was considered too outlandish to be used against workers whom Thatcher reviled as The Enemy Within, despite these communities making colossal sacrifices to help Britain through two world wars.

In Seumas Milne’s account of the strike and its aftermath ‘The Enemy Within’ the UK intelligence services were later revealed to have had a sleeper who rose to be one of Arthur Scargill’s most senior lieutenants, while Robert Maxwell’s Daily Mirror was used to smear the National Union of Mineworkers’ leader and his closest associates. Regrettably, the smears were readily swallowed by senior New Labour figures eager to show they could never be accused of, you know, S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M. Milne has been on the establishment hit-list ever since and when Jeremy Corbyn appointed him his director of communications they tried to exact their revenge, using all their placemen inside the parliamentary Labour Party.

In Scotland, the Labour MSP Neil Findlay has been urging the SNP Government to consider similar accusations against the Scottish police during the Miners’ Strike. It’s time for this ‘radical’ and ‘progressive’ government to step up to the mark and grant an inquiry.

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