‘If anyone had said our mining town would go Tory, I’d have thought they were mad’

Many former miners moved into the public sector after the pits closed. A year after the collapse of the ‘red wall’, Alison Benjamin revisited Nottinghamshire

I first met George Bell on the 20th anniversary of the 1984-85 miners’ strike when he and many fellow miners had swapped the camaraderie of the coalface for jobs in the public sector and charities helping communities devastated by the closure of the local pits.

He had become a homelessness officer for Bassetlaw district council in Nottinghamshire, and was an active Unison branch secretary, using skills gained from his days in the National Union of Mineworkers to fight for employees’ terms and conditions, when the council transferred its housing staff to a new organisation.

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