A taped discussion of Clancy Signal’s Weekend in Dinlock, between miners and their wives, organised by John Rex
John Rex: I think you’ve all read Clancy Sigal’s book. He is, as you know, an American Socialist, and one who is profoundly concerned about the future of the British Labour Movement. He felt that it is particularly important to look at the life and values of a mining community. Why is the life of a mining community so particularly important to the future of British socialism?
Harry Freeman: I think it’s important because it’s unique. Unlike other industries, nationalisation in the mines is really close to the people that partake in it. In the mining areas of Yorkshire you find that the whole village has developed in and around the colliery.
John Rex: Do you think that the relations with the officials at the colliery are the sort of social relations that you would expect to find in a socialist society?
Mrs. McVeagh: Far from it. If a man takes his certificate and becomes an official, he’s more or less ostracised by the men, or at least thought to have changed sides.
John Rex: Do these divisions still remain?
Harry Freeman: I think nationalisation caused the rift to go even deeper. Since nationalisation, the under-officials have gone into the security class, whereas before they were more in line with the day to day face-worker on weekly pay. Now the only person who does not get superannuation or whole pay when he’s sick is the worker.