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Running Commentary (Column)

Running Commentary: Strike Lessons

Strike lessons

In the tactics they have followed in the clashes with the flying pickets, the police have shown a willingness and an ability to learn from experience. Can this also be said for the miners? There are in fact some very important things which have been overlooked by the men speeding from one coalfield to another.

The first is that the police will not unfailingly do their best to ensure that everyone who wants to work will be free to do so. They are fighting the pickets for reasons other than to protect a “right to work". Redundant workers who don’t want to be sacked will not find any sympathetic boys in blue to case their way through the entrance of their old workplace.

Running Commentary: Strikers Condemned

Strikers condemned

More than 5,500 workers were out on strike as a wave of industrial unrest spread to hitherto uninvolved plants. The week-long spate of walk-outs and go-slows affected 27 firms in five cities. A total of more than 8,700 people had stopped work since strikes started and more than 750 of them had been dismissed as a result. The dispute was over pay, a shorter working week and guaranteed pension funds. A spokesman for the employers’ association said he was “gravely concerned’’ and the trade union congress issued a statement expressing hope that the government would “respond constructively in solving the problem”.

Running Commentary: Ice-cold Death

Ice-cold death

Each winter, in this land of microchips and nuclear power stations, people die a primitive death through the cold. Sometimes this is caused by hypothermia, the reduction of the body's heat below a critical level. Others die of pneumonia or suffer strokes and heart attacks as the blood pressure is forced rapidly upwards by the cold.

According to the Sunday Times of 27 January, during three weeks in this year's cold spell, over a thousand people had to be treated in hospital for hypothermia. A consultant who has made a special study of the problem tells a grim story: about nine thousand deaths a year from straightforward hypothermia and several times that figure for deaths from diseases induced by the cold.

Of course this could all be avoided if only people like pensioners heated their homes properly, except that they, of all people, know how the expense of this would be an added stress in their everyday struggle to make ends meet.

Running Commentary: Concentration Camp Art

Concentration camp art

Culture lovers and those looking for sound investments from which to pay the next gas bill will have found the Art Sales columns of the Daily Telegraph of 6 February interesting reading. Their correspondent was reporting the forthcoming sale at auction of a collection of concentration camp money, including notes issued at Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and the “show camp” Theresienstadt. Believed to be the best of its kind, with 1944 Auschwitz creations expected to fetch a top price of £875 each, the collection included an exquisite example of the yellow cloth "Jud” badge which Jews were forced to wear. Noticeably absent were the unique specimens of lampshade design of the period, although this does not appear to have deterred potential buyers. The lot was purchased by the auctioneers, Stanley Gibbons, at the knock-down price of £20,000.

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