What Price Coal: Live Debate

What Price Coal: Live Debate

7 March 2014

30 years on from the Miners' Strike, what questions remain unanswered? We organised a live debate to find out.

On Saturday 8th March 2014, we organised a question time style debate at Nottingham Theatre Royal and streamed coverage live on our website. The debate covered many of the issues raised in the Touring Consortium Theatre Company's production of Brassed Off. If you missed the chance to watch the debate live and are interested to find out more about the social and cultural changes brought about by the closure of collieries in the 80s and 90s, you can watch it here:

The debate was chaired by Ian Clayton, a writer, broadcaster and workshop leader who grew up in a mining community.

Speakers on the panel were:

Keith Stanley (former Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers  as well as current Honorary President of the Nottingham area NUM)

Jean Miller (Women Against Pit Closures)

Andrew Birchall (Ex-Miner)

Richard Mallender (Green Party)

Martin Brandon-Bravo (Former Conservative MP for Nottingham South). 

Follow what was said about the debate on twitter #WhatPriceCoal

Ian Clayton (Chair) was born, raised and still lives in the former coal mining village of Featherstone, West Yorkshire. For the past 27 years he has worked as a writer, broadcaster and workshop leader. He is published by Route and Penguin, his book 'Bringing it all Back Home' was described as 'one of the best books about popular music ever written.' He made television documentaries for BBC's Late Show and for Yorkshire TV, including a series of three half hour programmes on the twentieth anniversary of the strike called 'Daddy, What Did You Do in the Strike?'. He remains the only British broadcaster to have made an in depth television programme with former miners leader Arthur Scargill since the miners' strike.


Jean Miller grew up in a mining family in a pit village in Barnsley. Both her sons also became miners. She has been involved in the Trade Union and Labour Movement since her early 20s, when she was an elected member of the Cooperative Group. Jean assisted with planning and attended the 'Peoples Marches for Jobs'. 

At the beginning of the yearlong miners’ strike of 84', she recalled the month strike of the 70s and the hardships that families faced with no income. Her response was to gather a few women and look at how they could collectively support striking miners and their families. This was the beginning of 'Woman Against Pit Cosures'.  Together, they created services that fed and clothed people within the mining communities. Jean has travelled all over the world raising much needed funds and support for the cause.


Keith Stanley left school at the age of 15 and went into coal mining at Newstead Colliery, following the footsteps of his father and elder brother before him. Three years later, he became a coalface worker, which he worked as until the colliery closed in 1987. He supported the NUM during the strikes in 1972 and 74, as well as voting for and striking in the 1984 Against the Pit Closure programme.


Martin Brandon-Bravo was a City Councillor for 13 years and made an Honorary Alderman in 2011. He was a County Councillor for 16 years and made Honorary Aderman in 2009. Martin was a Member of Parliament for Nottingham South between 1983 and 1992. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Housing, Home Secretary, and to the Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords.


Richard Mallender is a member of Rushcliffe Borough Council and has in the past served as a member of Brighton City Council. He is Chair of Nottingham Green Party and Parliamentary Candidate for Rushcliffe. 


Andrew Birchall worked at Parkside Colliery Newton Le Willows Warrington from 1977 - 86. He then worked at British Coal Opencast Lcancashire mine from 1986 - 93. After being made redundant, Andy went on to study and obtain a BA Honours Degree in Economics at the University of Manchester. He went on to lecture in Humanities at Preston College. Andy presently works in Trade Union Education.