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The National Archives release of files from 1984 revived memories of hearing a Kings Heath CEGB engineer – in the ‘60s – telling his wife that he could not understand why cheap, low quality coal was being imported, when British coal burned longer and was actually cheaper in the long run. The cheap coal adversely affected the operation of the plant, leading to increased maintenance costs and higher generating costs.

Deliberate or merely short-sighted political action that sowed the seeds of economic decline?

A comment by ‘Stander’ on a Channel 4 blog says: “It was cheaper to import coal than pay our own miners to take it out of the ground, but it’s that kind of short-sighted thinking that sowed the seeds of economic decline. It overlooked the fact that the money paid to miners was largely spent in their local communities, driving the economy. Money spent on imported coal is simply a negative on the balance sheet of UK plc”.

‘Alan’: “It was all planned and is contained in the leak of the Ridley report in May 1978 in the Economist. The forces of the state were used by Thatcher to crush the unions to make way for selling UK assets to their mates”.

Extract from the leaked report of Nationalised Industries Policy Group (Ridley report) – see the text of The Economist article, and a link to the full report at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation:

1977 denationalisation ridley report

One reader’s verdict in 2014:

Shamus: “a greedy self serving elite that control the money, legislation and media”

And many doctors fear that these tactics are being used to ‘reform’ – privatise – the NHS

A politically angled account, with added material on state violence and reference to investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, may be read here.