GIVEN THE Government’s intransigence in the face of growing demands for an inquiry into police conduct at the so-called Battle of Orgreave, the very least that the Home Secretary can do is to make public all the official information relating to the violent events of that summer day 32 years ago.
It is gratifying, then, that Amber Rudd has seen fit to show goodwill on this issue by releasing a host of files relating to the 1984 miners’ strike, including at least one directly concerning Orgreave.
Of course, this will not nearly be enough to satisfy the Orgreave campaigners. Nor should it be considering this newspaper’s findings which revealed serious concerns about South Yorkshire Police’s conduct prior to the collapse of the prosecution of dozens of pickets arrested during clashes at the coking works.
The heightened concern over this issue, the exposure of the police’s manifest failings at the Hillsborough disaster five years later, and the questions that need to be asked regarding the influence of the then government, are all eloquent arguments for opening an inquiry.
However, if these arguments are to be ignored, then it is to be hoped that the files to be released next year will shed sufficient light on these matters to resolve at least some of the arguments.
A word of caution to Ms Rudd, though: if the Government is truly committed to openness and transparency on this issue, it must ensure that no information is held back. In the absence of an inquiry, this may be the best opportunity finally to lay to rest the bitterness of Orgreave. If so, it must be taken.