The events of 1984 – including the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy and the extraordinary IRA plot to assassinate the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by blowing up the Grand Hotel in Brighton – combined to make it one of the most dramatic years in contemporary British history. It is perhaps the miners’ strike of that year, though, that has had the most lasting impact on British society, with the dispute which lasted almost an entire year from March 1984 to March 1985 shaping the political landscape, media representations, and local communities in the decades since.
The files from 1984 released today at The National Archives show how the Government attempted to deal with these events. The warnings received by the UK Government of potential violence ahead of the demonstrations outside the Libyan Embassy in London (PREM 19/1300), the possibility of slowing British-Irish negotiations following the bomb in Brighton (PREM 19/1288), and the seven hefty files on the damaged industrial relations with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) (PREM 19/1329-1335) show the swirl of activity and the sheer variety of hefty issues which passed over the Prime Minister’s desk. 1
- 1. As ever, of the Prime Minister’s Office files (PREM) and Cabinet papers (CAB) released, a selection have been digitised and are available to download from the website, free of charge for a month. ^