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The Iron Lady and the UK coal sector

The Thatcher government’s confrontation with the UK's coal miners was the most bitter industrial dispute the country had ever seen. It changed the UK’s industrial landscape irrevocably, and its effects are still being felt today. But not, perhaps, in a way you would expect

The UK’s first (and, so far, only) female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who died yesterday at the age of 87, was known as the Iron Lady – a nickname coined by Soviet reporter Yuri Gavrilov in 1976.  However, one of her most enduring legacies has nothing to do with iron. It has far more to do with coal. Thatcher’s clashes with the UK’s powerful trade union movement in the 1980s, centring on plans to privatise the UK’s coal sector, became one of the defining battles – perhaps the defining battle - of her 11-year premiership. The UK’s coal sector, nationalised by Clement Attlee’s Labour government in 1947, was dominated by the powerful Nation

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