Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Political anecdote of the day

A funny anecdote concerning Arthur Scargill via a comment by 'Adamski' in response to a so-so post on Socialist Unity blog about Spain winning the European Championship:

"There is an anecdote about Arthur Scargill & the miners of South Wales that perhaps puts things in the correct perspective:

In 1972, Arthur Scargill rang Dai Francis the leader of the South Wales miners and said, ‘Look, Dai, we need pickets up at Saltley, in Birmingham.’

Dai said, ‘Where’s that?’ Arthur explained.

‘Yes, we can organise them. When do you want them?’

‘Tomorrow, Saturday.’

Dai paused.

‘But Wales are playing Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park.’

There was a silence, and Scargill replied,

‘But Dai, the working class are playing the ruling class at Saltley.’

Needless to say a big delegation of miners from South Wales were present at the Battle of Saltley Gate.

I have a wee difficulty imagining Arthur Scargill saying the above. Not because I don't think he's capable of such dry wit. I still remember that classic reply of his in the BBC documentary, 'True Spies', to the disclosure that during the 1970s, senior Trade Union leaders were talking and co-operating with Special Branch in the state's operation against what they considered 'subversives' within the trade union movement:

- BBC Interviewer: Does that surprise you, over 20 trade unionists, senior members of the trade union movement talking to Special Branch?

- Scargill: Yes it does surprise me, I thought it would be many more than that.

No, I am wee bit surprised because if the anecdote was truly verbatim, surely it would have read as follows:

‘Look, Dai, Arthur Scargill says that we need pickets up at Saltley, in Birmingham.’

Dai said, ‘Where’s that?’ Arthur explained.

‘Yes, we can organise them. When do you want them?’

‘Arthurs Scargill says Tomorrow, Saturday.’

Dai paused.

‘But Wales are playing Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park.’

There was a silence, and Scargill replied,

‘But Dai, Arthur Scargill says that the working class are playing the ruling class at Saltley.’

Only three people will get that joke, but it's the same three people who actually read this blog.

Further Reading:

  • Transcript of TRUE SPIES 1. SUBVERSIVE MY ARSE
  • 3 comments:

    Kevin Williamson said...

    Personally I would have gone to the Scotland-Wales match. I mean it was 1972 and Jimmy Johnstone and Pat Stanton were in their prime.

    Darren said...

    I think you might have turned up to an empty stadium. We were talking early seventies South Wales union leader; it must have been rugby union they were nattering about.

    Saying that, if Jinky had played rugby he'd have been better than Phil Bennett. ;-)

    Kevin Williamson said...

    Right... forgot there was another sport...