MARGARET KING (HAS, Apr 24) took time to reply to my comments about the Miners’ Strike and I thank her for that.

Due to a combination of my own failings and judicious editing I failed to be more specific over some comments I made.

More pits were closed by the Labour governments under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan in the 1960s and 1970s than by the Conservatives.

Why then all the venom aimed at Margaret Thatcher and not Labour?

During these periods union militancy was escalating and had a negative impact on Britain.

I was a police officer coming from a poor working class background – nothing surprising about that.

Like many I also suffered and, as I said, the police supported law and order not any political party.

As for Margaret’s comment regarding majority voting, the voting system in our “democratic”

society allows that a single party with the largest number of votes cast wins.

That is the point Margaret, democracy.

However I do take your point, union leaders in our society get voted in on a “majority vote” when as little as 15 per cent of members have voted. That’s democracy is it not?

Since the Miners’ Strike not a single government has returned the power unions had in the 1960s and 1970s.

That says more than any rhetoric about the rights and wrongs of the strike.

John Walker, Newton Aycliffe.

JOHN WALKER in his recent letter (HAS, Apr 22) recounted his experience as a policeman during the Miners’ Strike.

Although the force did resort to physical violence this was usually retaliatory.

In fairness he does concede that he did not always condone the methods of some of his colleagues.

He was there and I accept his personal experience in what must have been volatile situations.

However, there is strong evidence, particularly from Orgreave, in South Yorkshire, that the police were quite prepared to employ far more sinister methods.

After the Orgreave confrontation in 1984, 93 miners were arrested and charged with riot, unlawful assembly and similar offences.

When the cases were heard at Sheffield Crown Court the trial collapsed when it became clear that the police evidence had been manipulated.

One officer admitted that his statement had been narrated to him.

Michael Mansfield QC described it as “the biggest frame-up ever”

and Vera Baird QC said the police were “teeing up” to pervert the course of justice.

In 1991, South Yorkshire Police paid out £500,000 to 39 miners but no action has ever been taken against individual officers. They have gone unpunished.

Self-defence is one thing – abuse of power is altogether a different matter.

V J Connor, Bishop Auckland.

MARGARET THATCHER has been laid to rest, yet still the miners and others continue to blame her for destroying communities which had been built around coal and heavy industry.

Theirs wasn’t the only industry that felt the impact of social and economic change.

The railways, docks and car industry were also badly affected, along with many other industries.

People were obliged to move home in order to obtain work in other parts of the country.

Throughout history, various industries such as cotton, lead and potteries have come and gone. The people move on and in place of the old industries new ones take root and so society progresses.

One only has to look around and see the positive change that has happened.

New industries have now replaced the old. The towns and cities appear prosperous and clean.

Shops and restaurants and out-oftown shopping centres are thriving.

It seems that these days “working class people” prefer a Weatherspoons pub or a Costa Coffee to sitting in a working man’s club.

So for those people who continue to have a chip on their shoulders, I suggest you move on and get a life.

Name and address supplied.