Still the Enemy Within is a unique insight into one of history's most dramatic events: the 1984-85 British Miners' Strike. No experts. No politicians. Thirty years on, this is the raw ...
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Still the Enemy Within is a unique insight into one of history's most dramatic events: the 1984-85 British Miners' Strike. No experts. No politicians. Thirty years on, this is the raw first-hand experience of those who lived through Britain's longest strike. Follow the highs and lows of that life-changing year.Written by
If you can watch this documentary with an open mind, knowing that it's meant to make the miners look like saints and Thatcher look like a demon, then you'll enjoy it
This is a good documentary, no doubt about it, but remember that it's a completely uncritical retrospective on the 1984-1985 miners' strike in Britain, one which is unabashedly sympathetic to the coal miners alone. Did Margaret Thatcher smash the coal mines for ideological reasons? Most probably. Were the nationalised mine pits losing money the length and the breadth of the land? Most definitely. Had the people of Britain long tired of the extreme militancy of British union leadership, especially the kind of "leadership" served up by the likes of Arthur Scargill? Absolutely.
The 1970s left Britain hobbled, broke, and thought to be the washed-up sick man of Europe. Margaret Thatcher had to move quickly to bring it back to life. This meant that many things had to change, including the extreme stranglehold that unions had over day-to-day life in Britain and the ability they had to shut the place down. For better or worse, Lady Thatcher sorted that out. What you think of her depends on where you fall on the political spectrum.
To the left, Lady Thatcher remains a Devil-like character, whose memory should be retained only to caution the generations which came after her rule that she was an evil harridan in their eyes. To the right, Lady Thatcher remains a God-like character, whose pragmatism and ruthless strategising saved not only Britain, but, indeed, the entire Western world from itself. How you feel about Margaret Thatcher will colour to a certain degree how you feel about this film. If you're big into social justice, climate justice, or any of those left-wing causes du jour, then you'll absolutely love it. I'm not, but I enjoyed it because I recognised it for what it is: an attempt to depict these strikers, their union, and their movement as the closest thing to having saints walk amongst us since Christ and his twelve disciples walked throughout the Holy Land.
Am I the only one who found it completely unbelievable that the filmmakers responsible for this documentary made no mention of the economic chaos which union militancy and the status quo had put Britain in at that time? Am I the only one who is incredulous the filmmakers didn't mention that these once-private industries, nationalised for ideological reasons in the decades after World War II, were bleeding money and required massive state subsidies to keep running? The situation was untenable and Britain was being run into the ground. Let's be perfectly clear: many of the guys and gals featured in this documentary weren't saints; they were scroungers. But the ideological biases and/or the desires of the filmmakers to make these supposed justice warriors look like saints prevented them from being objective, so they completely omitted any mention of facts like these. All the same and despite being completely one-sided, this documentary is entertaining and it's worth watching. Just know that there is another side to this story and this whole mess wasn't as simple and straightforward a case as big bad government setting out to subjugate saintly miners. Recommended.
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