Siobhan calls for rethink on ‘guilty’ miners

Siobhan McMahon
Siobhan McMahon

MSP Siobhan McMahon has urged the Scottish Government to rethink its opposition to a review into the conviction of miners in Scotland during the 1980s miners’ strike.

Ms McMahon, Central Scotland Labour MSP, made her plea in a letter to new Cabinet Secretary of Justice Michael Matheson following the publication of a report highlighting a disproportionate conviction rate of miners in Scotland compared to those in England and Wales.

She said that in the rest of the UK 23.6 per cent of miners brought before court were acquitted, but in Scotland this figure was only 15 per cent.

She said: “Coming from Lanarkshire I am acutely aware of the contribution of the mining industry to our past achievements and current standard of living.

“In 1910 Lanarkshire was home to nearly half of Scotland’s pits and thrived as a coal producing region until the onset of Thatcherism.

“Despite only being an infant during the strike, the mining industry and the impact of the strike has had a profound impact on my life.

“Only by understanding the importance of this background and knowing the history of the tragedies associated with the trade can we appreciate the scale of the insult miners were subjected to during the strike.

“To demonize men who toiled to provide us with energy, and whose forebears had given their lives, as the enemy within was unpardonable.”