For Gethin Roberts & Sian James

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Where were you when you heard Margaret Thatcher died?
Pretty sure no one here cried
Where were you in 1979?
Did you celebrate an act of feminism or mourn the death of socialism
When she entered No10

Where were you in 1984?
When trouble came knocking at your door
Threatened pit closures and jobs at risk
National Union of Mineworkers picketing in solidarity with tightened fists

Striking to save the backbone of their communities
Not just a job but a provider of social security
A nationalised treasure, Clement Attlee’s endeavour
Now condemned to lie empty forever

Was it you who queued in lines of beaten faces and trodden souls, claiming the dole?
That’s not what we want, we want coal
‘Can’t pay wont pay’ that tax called poll
On the breadline trying to survive
The widening gap of the rich and poor divides

Your fight and struggle didn’t fall on deaf ears
We have been on the same journey, if different roads
Carrying heavy burdens, we can now share the load
Lesbians, gays and queers been attacked,
ostracised and victimised for years

Did you march in London Pride in 1984?
Clutching banners and buckets, showing your support
Did you dance in the Electric Ballroom to Bronski Beat
So miners and families can have something to eat?

Two communities unified in their fight and identified, demonised
‘Pits and Perverts’
Under a colourful rainbow of hope
Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners
Giving more than money but a lasting friendship of survivors
‘Gays The Word’ a bookshop, now a headquarters
for LGSM the disenfranchised and Miners wives politicised

Who said ‘there is no such thing as society’ or the promotion
of homosexuality in schools or public libraries?
28 reasons to hate her and none to love
A clause for concern and a hard lesson my generation had to learn
Breeding homophobia in schools through her iron rule

Where were you when Thatcher snatched your milk?
I was made redundant at the age of six
As the Iron lady rusts away the damage is residual and only time will fix
You see we are all victims and victors
Choose whatever fits

Where were you in 2015?
Your story now on the big screen
30 years on from ’85, when miners walked by your side
‘Pride’ breaking cultural boundaries is now worldwide
History is a lesson to be learned
Leading the march is a position that needs to be earned
In the age of austerity we are pushed behind a bank
A corporate sponsor who hired their rank

Let us not forget those who have tread before us
Their legacy is one we need to honour
Through your activism you lobbied LGBT legislation
Your story is an inspiration and an education
Our liberties enjoyed by your fruits of Labour
A love providing unified PRIDE
Forever indebted and respected

We thank you
You are my hero’s
Let us march towards a better future
who knows where we’ll be then



Damien Arness-Dalton

Photo credit : Colin Clews used with kind permission.

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