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"GB84" - DAVID PEACE (Faber & Faber)

Once upon a time, the UK had a mining industry, among others. Industries that employed workers to carry out work. Unions that protected those workers rights. Leaders that advised their members, talked to the bosses, & negotiated settlements that were in the best interests of their members. If an agreement could not be reached, the workers had the right to withdraw their labour: to go on strike!
"GB84" is the story of one such strike, a strike undertaken by the members of the National Union Of Mineworkers (NUM), & their leader, King Arthur Scargill.
Back in 1984, the world was a different place. This country was a different place. Communism was yet to fall. The Left had the ideology, the Right had the power. Power is might. Might is right. The bitch was in the counting house, & all of us were fucked.
The pages of "GB84" duly turn quicker than a hungry scab! Peace is at it again, make no mistake. This book grips you by the throat - & refuses to let go. It invaded my mind & dragged me all the way back to 1984, screaming: The Hop . . . gigs with The Three Johns, Under Two Flags, Ken Fucking Livingstone . . . & the Northampton Colliery Brass Band.
I played them all, I wore my heart on my sleeve, I rattled my bucket, I raised money, voices & the roof . . . I sang about Armthorpe, Orgreave & going Back To Work, as I scythed at my guitar like it really could kill fascists. Coal Not Dole! On my lapel, alongside RAR, ANL, CND. Every time I watched it all on the news, I hated: hated the coppers, fucking pigs . . . hated the Tories, that evil fucking bitch . . . hated her supporters & their evil fucking lies . . . hated the press & their eternal bullshit. The miners strike taught us all to hate, somehow or other, there was no sitting on the fence. You simply learned to hate. There was no other way. The future, we'd been reliable informed by Johnny Rotten, wasn't going to show. Suddenly, "Anarchy In The UK" seemed prophetic. Suddenly, we were living in a Police State!
 
The covert tactics developed in Northern Ireland were the weapons SHE turned on them. The villages, the communities, the families, the decent law-abiding working classes . . . broken one & all. Broken by SAS men posing as coppers, scabs, miners, robbers, terrorists . . . whatever. 10 million quid a day, that fucking strike cost. Counter-insurgency as art form. You could have given every working miner 100,000 a piece - & still have had enough change for a bag of casino chips on the way back from the TUC. Thatcher callously, knowingly & sadistically broke the working class of this once proud nation under the expensive high heel of her powder blue suede shoes. She fucked the people up the arse, wittering on about democracy & freedom with the front mouth, issuing orders to destroy every last man jack of them through the back mouth. She fucking hated them. She fucking hated us all. She was destined to destroy them. She was destined to destroy us all. That legacy is all around us to this day. Sadly, the love has well & truly fucked off! Love don't live round here no more!
 
Characters gob at you from the page. Lob bricks, run from the truncheons, the riot shields, the Transit vans rolling over Armthorpe, again. The miners: Martin, Peter . . . their pitiful & moving stories of loss & regret, but mostly loss, told in an impenetrable Yorkshire brogue as thick as broth. The President, stoical & forthright, iconic yet vulnerable, a butterfly hero crushed on a wheel of coal fired class war. The compromised Terry Winters, his hopes his dreams, his cock . . . his lies. The Jew, so easy to hate . . . so hard to understand. The Mechanic, abused by his controllers, out of control. Diane, the mysterious . . . where did the money go, love? (I know where the bodies are buried.) Neil Fontaine! Evil fucking Neil Fontaine. The Tweeds. The Denims. The Scabs. The greed. The baying wives in the background, pushing for more. I want a new kitchen, love. It's all about the personal. It's all about the tragedy. It's all about the destruction of the old world, the birth of the new order, the will of the Bildeberg Group . . . & the rape of a nation.
 
The end of days began here, back in Great Britain, in 1984. The crown jewels were sold off to the highest bidder. Never has so much been disposed of so quickly by so few. Denationalisation ruined this country for ever. We used to have a Health Service that was the envy of the world. The people had a 'steak' in the means of production. We had buses, trains that ran on time, state-controlled utilities services that didn't rip us off hand over fist, decent education, culture, integrity, pride & honour. Thatcher killed all of that with her bare hands. Killed the future, single handed. Ruined the very lives of 90% of the occupants of the country that elected her.
 
Reading "GB84" brought the hate back. I will never forgive that bitch & her ministers. Never forgive them for what they did to my country, my family, my ideology, my future. Sitting here today, a pensioner at 45-years of age, all I can do is shake my fist & cry, "I fought a Punk Rock War for you bastards!" We were sold down the river, sold up the swanny . . . sold, sold, fucking sold. Lock stock & fucking barrel.
If you want to know why your life is hollow, greed driven & global in 2007, go back to 1984 - & take stock. The intelligent amongst us will never forgive, never forget, never recover. Watching Bliar turn our humble party into the Tory party was bad enough . . . but watching Brown taking tea with Margaret Hilda was a bridge to far. The zenith of moral corruption. Personally, I look forward to the day she dies. They day we cut her head off & stick it on a pole. The day we storm the barricades of Buckingham Palace & right this fucking parade of charlatans for once & for all.
"GB84" deserves to part of the syllabus in every school, in every county of this godforsaken land. The back bone of our national curriculum: come & have a look at what you could have won! "GB84" is the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth . . . & in a world where history is ordinarily written by the winners, let's here it for the losers!
Here. We. Go. Here. We. Go. Here. We. Go. HERE WE GO!
 
Jean Encoule - tMx - Nov 2007