BRITAIN: The Miners' Tough Choice

The meeting room upstairs at the Ollerton colliery welfare building in the Nottingham-Midlands coal field looked like a converted high school gymnasium. After an hour and a half downstairs of lager and bitter at a small communal bar, the miners filed into the room, noisy and nervous. Pea green was the color in vogue and woolen socks topped off waterlogged boots. A few sport jackets, an occasional tie, and two or three old brown frayed Stetsons dotted the crowd.

An electric apprehension filled the room as Joe Whelan, a member of the...

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