The decision of Home Secretary, Amber Rudd not to hold an inquiry into the criminal actions of the South Yorkshire Police and other police forces present at the Orgreave Coke Works on June 18 1984 is an appalling act of injustice.
She glibly asserts: ‘ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.’
Miners were lured to Orgreave that day and subjected to a continuous series of brutal attacks employing thousands of police, supported by mounted cavalry and vicious dogs, badly injuring over 50 men. The fact that no one was killed was purely a matter of chance.
However, the fact that no one was wrongfully convicted was not a matter of chance, but, due to the robust and dedicated work of the lawyers engaged to defend the 95 miners who were charged with riot – a crime carrying a life sentence.
These lawyers proved that police evidence was fabricated and the written statements of the arresting officers were dictated by senior officers. When these statements were exposed as false the trial collapsed, but, predictably, no officers were disciplined let alone charged with criminal offences.
However, culpability goes far beyond the police forces involved that day. It is impossible to believe that the premeditated assault on miners at Orgreave could have been organised without the active participation of Thatcher’s government. A thorough enquiry would expose the myth that the police are non-political and independent of government.
That is why a public enquiry into the Battle of Orgreave is resisted by the present Tory government and the British establishment in general.
We should never forget that Orgreave was but an extreme example of what had become common place in the coalfields and mining villages of Britain in 1984/85 and we will continue to campaign until we get justice.