ABSTRACT

Few episodes in the Thatcher government’s life went so well for it as its handling of the miners’ strike. It won its main objectives: it faced down the weightiest constitutional challenge it was likely to face on the UK mainland and it wholly secured the right to make the coal industry - and thus any other industry, since that was the strongest bastion of non-market production - profitable and market-oriented. Sir John Hoskyns, working full time at the Centre for Policy Studies from 1977, had the brief to work out the objectives of a future Tory government. The ‘phoney war’ with the miners in February 1981 was of supreme importance in jolting the government into making the necessary preparations for the real thing. Any actions by a hardline Conservative government would only serve to unite the clearly divided mineworkers against it, and produce in the expected ballot a majority for strike action.