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Arthur Scargill

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Arthur Scargill
Arthur Scargill

Arthur Scargill (born January 11, 1938) was leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) from 1981 to 2000 and is presently (2003) the leader of the Socialist Labour Party, a political party he founded in 1996.

Scargill was born in Worsbrough Dale, just south of Barnsley, the son of Harold, a miner and a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He became a miner after leaving school, working at Woolley Colliery from 1953. He soon became a left-wing political activist, joining the Young Communist League from 1955-1962. He became a member of the Labour Party 1962-1996. Then he became the leader of the Yorkshire miners union 1973-1981. In 1973 he was instrumental in organising the miners' strike which led to the fall of Edward Heath's Government in March 1974. Scargill became president of the NUM in 1981.

He is renowned as a fiery and effective orator. He rose to national prominence during the miners' conflicts with the Government during 1974. His elevation within the labour movements led to his election, by an overwhelming national majority, to the Presidency of the NUM. His stand both for the future of the mining industry and the communities dependent on it and against the policies of the Thatcher Government led to his leadership of the 1984-1985 miners' strike. This ended in defeat for the miners and saw a split in the union (see also Union of Democratic Mineworkers). The strike is now widely seen as the high water mark of both Scargill and radical left wing unionism in Britain.

He founded the Socialist Labour Party after criticizing what he saw as a lurch to the right by the Labour Party. His breakaway party has had little success in the polls. He himself has contested two parliamentary elections — in the 1997 general election against Alan Howarth, a defector from the Conservative Party to Labour who had been given a safe seat to contest, and in the 2001 general election, against Peter Mandelson in Hartlepool.de:Arthur Scargill eo:Arthur SCARGILL

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