11 May 2003


It seems that the Daily Telegraph has not received a writ from Galloway over its allegations - but Gorgeous George has got the support of the Guardian's media columnist, Roy Greenslade, who sees the allegations against the Glasgow Kelvin MP as being of a piece with the claims that miners' leader Arthur Scargill took money from the Libyans to pay his mortgage (click here). (Greenslade was badly burned by this story, which he ran at length in the Daily Mirror, which he edited at the time. He has subsequently apologised.)

The Scargill case is a fascinating one, and there is a wealth of evidence that he was fitted up on the Libyan cash charge, most comprehensively collected in Seumas Milne's The Enemy Within.

But Scargill still has a case to answer on money during the 1984-85 miners' strike. The Libyan-cash-for-mortgage-payments story is almost certainly untrue, and it seems very likely that the spooks had a lot to do with it. But large quantities of cash for the NUM were provided by Soviet-bloc "trade unions", to whose international affiliates Scargill had quixotically attached the NUM. Their members had no say over the payments - the decisions were made by party-state officials - yet I don't recall anyone on the British left ever publicly questioning the legitimacy of the NUM's fundraising in this manner. Of course, we were in solidarity with workers in struggle, any port in a storm and so on - but it's strange all the same.

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