On Sunday, I attended the book launch of You Can’t Kill the Spirit, which tells the inspiring story of the Women Against Pit Closures.
The eradication of the UK’s mining industry was, of course, largely overseen by Margaret Thatcher with her defeat of the Miner’s Strike in 1985 proving a decisive moment. But it’s often overlooked that the closure of a further 32 pits was announced by her successor, John Major, in 1992.
In protest at Major’s plans, a group of women known as the Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures helped to organise a camp at the Houghton Main mine in the Dearne Valley. For six months, this pit camp was run by women who supported the miners’ struggle to defend their jobs.
I’m glad that these women’s stories have now been collected in You Can’t Kill the Spirit. It’s important that we remember the central role played by women in past struggles and celebrate those who stood up for their communities.
Today, people in Sheffield are once again supporting one another in challenging circumstances brought about by a Tory government. Groups like Sheffield Disabled People Against the Cuts constantly campaign against callous Tory policies, while volunteers across the city run food banks to help those hit hard by austerity.
Let’s take inspiration from the Women Against Pit Closures as we once again stand in solidarity with one another.