chapter  Seventeen
17 Pages

Coalfield Leaders, Trade Unionism and Communist Politics: Exploring Arthur Horner and Abe Moffat

ByJohn McIlroy, Alan Campbell

Arthur Horner and Abe Moffat are sometimes bracketed together as successful architects and builders of twentieth-century trade unionism in the British coalfields. Only two years separated Horner and Moffat but the differences in their political development suggest the complexities of generational analysis. In the postwar era the industrial politics of both Horner and Moffat were circumscribed by the positions they held and the ideas which they brought to these positions: first, by loyalty to the National Coal Board; second, by the perceived need to nurture and extend the fragile unity of the National Union of Mineworkers. Both the protagonists, despite disjunctures in their practice and constraints of structure which they accepted both by seeking office and by internalizing its limits, persisted with their politics and their party to the end. But even before Horner and Moffat had passed from the coalfields, things were changing like the seasons.