Ladt week Boris Johnson faced condemnation from the First Minister of Wales after joking about Margaret Thatcher closing coal mines.
Mark Drakeford said the Prime Minister’s comments were “crass and offensive”, with the collapse of the coal industry causing “incalculable” damage to Welsh communities.
The Prime Minister had claimed that Mrs Thatcher had given the UK an “early start” in the shift away from fossil fuels by closing pits.
Drakeford’s comments were backed by a number of other leading political figures including Nicole Sturgeon who tweeted: “Lives & communities in Scotland were utterly devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry (which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet).
“To treat that as something to laugh about is crass & deeply insensitive to that reality.”
Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Boris Johnson’s shameful praising of Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the coal mines, brushing off the devastating impact on those communities with a laugh, shows just how out of touch he is with working people.”
Labour’s leader in Scotland Anas Sarwar said the remarks were “just another example of why the Tories are a disaster and the biggest threat to the union”.
The party’s energy spokeswoman at Holyrood, Monica Lennon, criticised the PM for “laughing about Thatcher’s pit closures that decimated our mining communities”.
Fellow Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “To attempt to turn one of the most divisive and destructive periods in British history into a retrospective victory for the environment is deeply offensive to the people and communities who faced considerable hardship and misery.”
The SNP MP for Midlothian, Owen Thompson, also condemned the Prime Minister.
He said: “The Thatcher years might have been a spiffing time for Johnson, who was busy partying in the elite Bullingdon Club, but in the real world Thatcher devastated communities across Scotland.”
Scottish Greens Central Scotland MSP Gillian Mackay said: “Thatcher’s decimation of the coal industry had absolutely nothing to do with environmentalism and everything to do with her despicable anti-trade union ideology.
“Communities across Scotland were decimated by these cruel and vindictive policies which destroyed industry and left workers high and dry.
“It’s no surprise that Boris Johnson eulogises Thatcher, but we must ensure his government don’t repeat her actions as Scotland begins to transition from oil and gas to our renewables future.
“The Scottish Greens won’t allow the Tories to repeat the mistakes of the past. We will fight for a fair transition for workers that sees their jobs guaranteed in the sustainable industries of the future.”
So you get the point, his comments, joking or not, have offended a lot of people, especially in Red Wall seats, that the Party has been targeting, to some success.
Ignoring the backlash the Mail’s, and Micheal Gove’s ex, Sarah Vine decided to write a piece for the Mail on Sunday, supporting the PM’s comment. The fact is might have been a crass joke seems to have been ignored and they have ploughed on trying to back Johnson’s claim.
The headline reads “Coal mines row shows the Left needs a lesson in 1970s history because Margaret Thatcher was well ahead of her time on climate change awareness.
As ever there were some bemused comments on social media to the artilcle.
The Mail on Sunday. Where truth goes to die. pic.twitter.com/BAUbbMOZ3n— Scarborough lass ? (@Scarborough_GB) August 8, 2021
You know, I am not entirely sure Sarah Vine has read the provocatively titled 'Hot Air and Global Warming' 10 page section in Statecraft, a book by one Margaret Thatcher published in 2002, in which she dismisses climate change concern as a leftie plot. pic.twitter.com/X4xPg30GVY— Paul Cotterill (@Bickerrecord) August 8, 2021
*Sarah Vine*— *Followed by 98k Anti-Tories* (@MarieAnnUK) August 8, 2021
Yeah and the Mail was well ahead of its time on Brexit awareness when in the 1930s it supported Hitler. ?pic.twitter.com/yAz0AjGUOS
Sarah Vine thought marrying Michael Gove was a good idea. Why would you trust her judgement on anything else?— Malcolm V Tucker ?☠️ (@Tucker5law) August 8, 2021
Hey Sarah Vine thank god all those lorries have been removed from our roads.— Steve Bray despises corrupt Tories (@snb19692) August 8, 2021
a) Saves the environment
b) Makes the roads safer
c) Fights obesity.
But you're going to tell us that was Johnson's plan all along! ????????????
So, Sarah Vine, did Thatcher close the dockyards to save on water then? FFS. pic.twitter.com/yoXNcT5Jw9— Rachel Woollett (@RachelWoollett) August 8, 2021
So we can add 1970's history to the huge list of things that Sarah Vine knows nothing about. pic.twitter.com/PxXz14m2M1— Lauren Rose (@LeftLozB) August 8, 2021
Sarah Vine told us today that "Thatcher closed coal mines due to her concerns about climate change".— Mark Cockerton (@CockertonMark) August 8, 2021
Next week: "Boris is misunderstood. His obsession with removing funding for free school meals is because he worries about childhood obesity".
Hysterical laughter pic.twitter.com/rnSvunatEk— Fionna O'Leary, ??? (@fascinatorfun) August 8, 2021
Sarah Vine arguing Margaret Thatcher was ahead of her time on climate change yes but her time was approximately 432 BC— dave ❄️ ? ? (@davemacladd) August 8, 2021
Sarah Vine is now so far removed from the truth that she can’t even be arsed to get the decade correct. pic.twitter.com/3w33aZi0Xg— Morris E. Smith (@TheGeniusID) August 8, 2021
In her next column, Sarah Vine explains how Margaret Thatcher stopped free milk in schools to raise awareness of lactose intolerance. https://t.co/fOICaIEq4g— ??? ????? ? (@thatjimdavis) August 8, 2021
Thatcher didn’t stop us using coal: she just imported it rather than mined it. Didn’t do a thing for climate change.— Prof Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) August 8, 2021
Sarah Vine is right. Who'd want to go back to the 1970s, with all those secure well-paid jobs, cheap housing, final salary pensions, properly-funded NHS and social care, free tuition and student grants, affordable rail fares and fabulous films and music?— David__Osland (@David__Osland) August 8, 2021
I wonder if the revisionist Sarah Vine could explain why Thatcher did not sack oil workers instead of increasing production— Rangzen (@revoltinghippie) August 8, 2021
I'm not taking any history lessons from Sarah Vine. I lived in one of the mining communities which was left devastated by Thatcher's battle with what she described as "the enemy within". It was absolutely nothing to do with "climate change awareness". And she knows it! https://t.co/Hc1vEiWyLS— Neil Drysdale (@NeilDrysdale) August 8, 2021