Thatcher funeral to be marked at miners’ memorial

First  British woman Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher
First British woman Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher
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Anti-Thatcherites will gather at Allerton Bywater’s mining memorial next week to mark the funeral of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Artist and former miner Harry Malkin is organising a gathering at the memorial, which he designed, at Leeds Road on Wednesday April 17 at noon for people who want to mark Baroness Thatcher’s death in their own way.

He said: “Everybody has got their own opinion of Margaret Thatcher’s demise. From my point of view it’s an old woman who has died in an awful way. Stroke is an awful death, but it was an awful life.

“She decimated a lot of communities and a way of life, so it’s something to mark her death. A lot of people on TV are praising her to high heaven, but there are still people who have strong memories of that time and feel strongly about her.

“If she’s having this ceremonial funeral, I think there’s people who are looking at the other side of it as well.

“If her funeral was held in Wakefield it would be a very different funeral to the one she will have down in London. There’s still a north-south divide.”

The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was the most divisive confrontation of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, with her describing them as “the enemy within”.

It dramatically changed industrial relations in the UK and was seen as a huge victory for the Thatcher government.

Harry added: “From the Tory point of view, if you’re doing badly, which a lot of ex-miners are in these communities, it’s because there are no jobs left and it’s their own fault for not trying hard enough.

“If you’re doing well, then they created the atmosphere for them to do well. They never take responsibility.”