Monday, October 19, 2009


An unusual experience. Browsing books at WH Smith, Paddington Station, after forgetting to bring a book for a long tube journey, I had a look at the paperback of David Hencke and Francis Beckett's revisionist history of the Miners' Strike, Marching to the Fault Line. On the back was a quote: 'restore(s) labour's greatest defeat to history, not myth' - New Statesman.' Now, I may have typed those words in my NS review, but not quite in that manner. What I actually wrote was: 'Beckett and Hencke make a laudable attempt to restore labour’s greatest defeat to history, not myth. Yet, because they lack a wider perspective, they eventually set up a counter-myth – that neoliberalism could have been appeased, that a decent compromise was possible and that the failings of one man destroyed the entire labour movement in Britain – every bit as unconvincing as all the others.' I.e - they failed to restore it to history rather than myth. An even more scathing review by Seumas Milne is excerpted in a similarly fishy manner on the back. It should be noted however that the main quote on the front is from Neil Kinnock, who gets an unbelievably easy ride in the book...


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