Henry's Songbook

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Maggie's Hit Man

  • (Colin Lewis)

       Ian McGregor - hired by the NCB
       Paid by the Tory government to shut your colliery

    Your village grew up round your pit your work it was your pride
    You hewed out coal that went up north to fire ships from the Clyde
    Your coalfield was respected from the Falklands to the North Pole
    But now they want to shut it down and put you on the dole

    You've got a wife and three young kids and a mortgage overdue
    Your mates and you were working then you were the lucky few
    They put the argument forward you'd get redundancy
    Twenty-thousand pound for twenty-five years but that's no good to ye

    You've got a Tory government with a woman at the head
    The lady's not for turning but she's gone back on what she said
    In nineteen seventy-four my lads you signed the plan for coal
    But now that turncoat Thatcher wants you all put on the dole

    Now some of you have been tempted to take this golden egg
    Your wife and kids are starving but you're still too proud to beg
    Stick it out my lads and you will win to the Tories do not bend
    Stand by your National Executive stick it out to the bitter end

    They say your pit doesn't pay its way, Shut it down, cries the NCB
    You've had your fair share of abuse in the press and on T.V.
    But don't forget Sanghenydd or the kids from Aberfan
    They died in the name of coal my lads keep on fighting if you can

    (as sung by Dave Burns)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  •   [1935:] In October, 1913, the Sanghenydd mine [near Cardiff] exploded, with a loss of 439 lives. It had long been known as a "fiery" mine, but neither the provisions of the Coal Mines Act, nor a circular from the Home Office, had made much impression on its manager. There was no apparatus for reversing the current of air, nor for dealing properly with coal dust; the electric signaling wires, on the covering of which the Home Office was particularly insistent, had been left uncovered. Prosecuted before the local magistrates on seventeen different counts, the manager was fined exactly £22! "Miners lives at 1 s. 1/4 d. each", said the district labor paper; and it was true. If legislation could do no better than this, it was clear that the Government needed another lesson, for many other mines were hardly better protected. (Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England 397)

  • english [1967:] At 9:15 A.M. on 21 October 1966, a colliery waste tip from the Merthyr Vale Colliery slid down Merthyr Mountain and into the mining village of Aberfan, Wales. It engulfed Pantglas (Welsh for "Green Hollow") Junior High School, smothering to death 109 children and five teachers in their classrooms. The physical disaster was compounded by a public relations fiasco when the director of the National Coal Board chose not to rush to the site of the tragedy but instead attend his installation as the Chancellor of the University of Surrey. A coal tip is a large pile of coal waste. In Aberfan such tips were placed on top of an underground set of fresh water springs, a disaster waiting to happen. The total death toll in Aberfan was 144. The British government ruled negligence on the part of the coal board in its subsequent reports, and the coal officials conceded neglect. (New York Times, 21 April)

  •   [1979:] Der 21. Oktober 1966 begann in der Bergarbeitergemeinde Aberfan in Wales als ein Tag wie jeder andere. [...] Gegen 9.15 Uhr [...] rumorte es plötzlich auf dem Berg über Aberfan, und viele tausend Tonnen Grubenaushub fegten schnell und mit düsenartigem Fauchen den Hang des Merthyr-Berges hinab, der die westliche Flanke der Bergwerksgemeinde bildet. Der massive Abbruch der Halde überrollte zwei Bauernhäuser am Hang mit ihren Bewohnern, überquerte einen stillgelegten Kanal und rollte eine Eisenbahnböschung hinauf. Die schreckliche Lawine aus Geröll und Ruß verschlang ein Schulgebäude und achtzehn Häuser und beschädigte ein weiteres Schulhaus, ehe sie zum Stillstand kam. In der Katastrophe kamen 144 [Menschen] ums Leben. 116 Opfer waren Kinder, die meisten zwischen sieben und zehn Jahre alt. 109 Kinder kamen in der 'Pantglas Junior School' um. Von den 28 Erwachsenen, die ihr Leben ließen, waren fünf Lehrer an dieser Schule. Einen von ihnen, den stellvertretenden Rektor David Beynon, fand man tot unter den Trümmermassen, so wie er versucht hatte, fünf seiner Schüler gegen die Wucht der Lawine mit seinem Körper abzuschirmen.

    Die Katastrophe von Aberfan löste in ganz Großbritannien eine Welle der Hilfsbereitschaft, aber auch peinliche Fragen aus: Waren hier Versäumnisse der Väter beim Auftürmen der Halden seit 1869 an den Kindern und Kindeskindern furchtbar gerächt worden? Das Aberfan-Tribunal kam nach einer eingehenden Untersuchung zu der "festen und einmütigen Ansicht, daß die Katastrophe von Aberfan hätte verhindert werden können und müssen". Natürliche Zwänge, wirtschaftlicher Druck und menschliche Schwächen hatten zusammengewirkt, um der tödlichen Lawine den Weg zu bereiten. [Das Abfahren des Abraums] wäre zu teuer geworden. Die walisische Kohle vertrug keine zusätzlichen Lasten. So wurden die Halden getürmt, recht und schlecht, nach ungenauen Karten, nach unklaren Instruktionen, weil man unfähigen Mitarbeitern nicht dreinreden wollte und hoffte, Gott werde schon alles richten. (Breitenstein, Großbritannien, DuMont, Köln, 130f)

  •   [1986:] Written during the 84/85 strike. Its author is an ex-miner from Pontlottyn, who has been granted political asylum in Cardiff. Colin is one of the regular singers at the Miners Benefit Nights at St Peters RFC. (Notes Dave Burns, 'Last Pit In the Rhondda')

  •   [1989:] The miners' strike [of 1984/85] lasted 358 days, and [...] cost fourteen deaths (one of them officially a murder), nearly 10,000 arrests, thousands of injuries to both miners and police, and over £7 billion of taxpayers' money. It was a dispute about pit closures and the future of mining communities that was seen by much of the media and the public in more simple terms, as a show of strength between a hard-line left-winger, Arthur Scargill, the miners' leader, and an apostle of market forces, Margaret Thatcher. The media, for the most part, reflected public opinion in their hostility towards the miners, particularly as the bitterness and violence grew. (Denselow, Music 212)

  •   [1999:] I don't think Lady Thatcher ever made a joke of her own during her long career in politics. All her jokes at conference time were provided for her by the playwright, Ronald Millar, who was eventually awarded a knighthood for such brilliant gems as 'the lady's not for turning' [adapted from Christopher Fry's 1949 play 'The Lady's Not For Burning']. (Richard Ingrams, Observer, 4 July)



Quelle: Wales

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 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 29.11.2000