The Northern Powerhouse; it’s a phrase that has been tossed around like some grand plan – but a plan to which we are not privy to the detail.
You’ll have to excuse my cynicism at the current Westminster bluster, I grew up when there still existed a northern powerhouse; it was made of engineering workshops across the Midlands, textiles mills in the north-west, steel works around Sheffield and coal mining from the North East to Nottinghamshire. The last vestige of that industrial past is laid to rest tonight in the concluding episode of the two-part portrait of the demise of Kellingley colliery – Britain’s last deep coal mine – and what it means for the 450 people working there.
It’s a bittersweet tale showing the stoic honesty of men taking pride in delivering to a production schedule that will ultimately kill their livelihood, and a telling illustration of the need to feel purpose in life when the camaraderie and routine of working life have been taken away.
No one disputes the need for greener energy solutions (bar that guy who’s just been elected to the White House) but for people of the north who lived through the Thatcher-led destruction of heavy industry, it’s difficult to see this loss of knowledge and skills as a new horizon.
The Last Miners – Monday at 9pm on BBC One