ABSTRACT

The demon was exorcised, the abyss bridged, by the development of the Civil Contingencies Unit, replacing the old, and discredited, Emergencies Organisation which had its origins in the late 1940s. Its main task was to ensure the availability of vital supplies and utilities during industrial action, a task it fulfilled with some success during the 1974 miners’ strike - though the relative restraint of the miners’ picket in that engagement was probably more important. The Plan for Coal had given the miners’ union even more power than that it had secured under the Nationalisation Act and subsequent developments within the board. Every piece of contingency planning, every appointment made by the government in the period between early 1981 and early 1984 has been seen in retrospect as part of a wholly conscious plot leading to the miners’ downfall. The appointment of MacGregor was a declaration of war on the British miners and the mining industry by the government.