Bill Carmichael: Scargill: the secret Tory

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IT is only January and already we have an outstanding contender for the most hilarious story of 2014.

It turns out that the great socialist hero, Arthur Scargill, was a secret Thatcherite who tried to buy his council flat under the Conservatives’ Right to Buy scheme in 1993. Come on! You would need a heart hewn from the Barnsley seam not to laugh at that one.

Scargill protests that he only wanted to buy the flat, on the prestigious Barbican estate in London, in order to present it as a gift to the National Union of Mineworkers which paid the rent.

Yes sure, and if you pull the other one Arthur, it will play the Red Flag!

Let’s not forget that Scargill tenaciously held on to his grace and favour apartment – annual rental £34,000 – until the union finally winkled him out as a result of legal action in 2012. The idea that he would meekly hand over an asset worth more than £1m is simply risible.

And what about the principle at stake? The Left, including loudmouth Scargill, opposed Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme because they said it would reduce the local authority housing stock available for needy families.

Well, it turns out that that as far as Scargill was concerned needy families could go hang if there was a chance he could get his greedy little mitts on a prime piece of real estate.

When my late father bought his council house in the 1990s, his left-wing chums – the sort of credulous idiots who thought the sun shone out of Scargill’s backside – denounced him as a “sell out”.

I wonder what they think today? Perhaps they agree with former Scargill loyalist Jimmy Kelly, a miner at the Edlington Main pit near Doncaster in the 1980s, who said: “It’s so hypocritical it’s unreal.”

But the real story here isn’t socialist hypocrisy – we knew that already. On issues ranging from tax-dodging schemes to private education, left wingers say one thing in public and then do exactly the opposite in private.

What this demonstrates is the sheer brilliance of Margaret Thatcher. After all, her policies were so good that even Arthur Scargill couldn’t resist them.

In selling council houses to their tenants and selling shares in privatised industries to the public, Mrs Thatcher was responsible for the biggest shift in wealth in favour of ordinary working people in British history.

That is why Maggie should be remembered as an authentic working class heroine, whereas Scargill will go down as a sore loser – and now Britain’s biggest laughing stock.

Bottom of the class

With the economy slowly improving and Labour’s poll lead rapidly shrinking there must be the whiff of panic circulating among Ed Miliband’s entourage.

How else to explain Miliband’s bizarre claim this week to be the champion of the middle classes?

Is this the same Ed Miliband who was part of the last Labour government that virtually destroyed Britain’s private pension industry, increased taxes to ruinous levels and borrowed and spent so much that Britain was left teetering on the brink of total economic collapse? Indeed it is!

Miliband is desperately searching for a new song to sing as all his previous numbers have proved to be duds. Who remembers now the claim that the cuts had “gone too far too fast”, or how we should follow France in rejecting austerity, or his handwringing about the “squeezed middle” and the “cost of living crisis”?

If Miliband really wanted to help the middle classes – and every other working person in the country – he could promise to cut spending and reduce taxes. But his union paymasters will never let him get away with that.

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