The Observer

Perhaps if the steelworkers had been farmers they might have expected some government intervention. In 2001, the government spent almost £1bn compensating farmers following the foot and mouth disease and made 37 of them overnight millionaires amid claims from within the National Farmers’ Union itself that the compensation system had been rigged. Nor were some in the farming community brought to book for many of the questionable and risky feeding practices that partly contributed to foot and mouth.

The steelworkers, though, are a different breed: they are expendable and, just like the miners and the shipbuilders, when their time comes, the rest of us are told that they didn’t upskill enough and were hostile to change management.

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