Thatcher, the miner strike and gay rights in the UK during the 1980’s

Margareth Thatcher was the prime minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative party from 1975. During her leadership, she was nicknamed “the iron lady” as a result of her uncompromising politics and leader style. Thatcher was the first female leader of a major political party in the UK. She led the country and fought the National Union of Mineworkers during the huge strike in 1984-85. When the strike was over in 1985 Thatcher and her government was seen as winners of the dispute. When the striking part decided to go back to work, the British trade union movement was weakened. The NUM had been one of the most powerfull trade unions in the country and was completely overruled by Thatcher and her government.

In addition to being hard on the striking miners, Mrs. Thatcher was an eager antagonist of gay rights and through the 80’s she supported a campaign basically saying being gay gives you aids.

The miners and the gays are not naturally two groups of people one expects to get along nicely. Today, however, we watched a film that gave an example of the opposite.

In the film “Pride” a gay community decides to support the miners in their strike by collecting money and donating them to the strikers. At the beginning of the film, there are som complications as the conservative miners are sceptical to accept the help from this untraditional alternative group of people. This hostility is probably due to the hefty Aids campaign going on.

The gays choose to help the miners despite the hostility because they know what it is like to be treated in the same unfair manner as the government are treating the miners in the film. In addition, I believe the gays want to show the world that they are better than those who are against them because they can see beyond the hate and help others despite all. In the end of the film the gays are attending a gay rights march in London. Just as they are about to begin the miners arrive in buses from their village in Wales to support the gays and show how grateful they are for what the gay community did for them.


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