Tony is chased by mounted police through the pit village down rows of terraced houses. Police on foot chase him through peoples homes and back out into the street, where he is finally struck down by baton wielding mounted police, before being arrested and thrown into the back of a police van. This incident plays some part in changing the course of Billy’s life forever because on this very day he should have been going for a secret audition for the Royal Ballet School and instead is at the police station with his brother and father.When he doesn’t turn up his teacher goes to his home and Billy’s secret life as a ballet student finally comes out into the open resulting in a bitter argument between Tony, his father and Billy’s dance teacher.
It is not until Billy’s father catches him at the community hall trying to teach ballet to a young friend, whose emerging homosexuality is portrayed in a sensitive and gentle manner in this film, that Billy’s father finally sees the route in life Billy must take. Instead of the expected anger at finding his son dancing Billy’s father shows a quiet sense of purpose and determines to make sure his son has the chance to fulfil his dream.This incident results in Billy’s father making the conscious decision to return to work to get the money needed to send his son to London for an audition, risking alienating both his other son and his workmates. With this he puts the love of his son before all other considerations no matter how hard the consequences of his action might be. He is prevented from returning to work by his comrades, who , knowing the reason why he is willing to betray everything the union stands for, rally round and instead of condemning him offer their support.The whole community, though in a time of terrible crisis and not knowing if they will have jobs to go back to after the strike, offers their help: the boxing coach donates all his coaching fees, the local working men’s club hold a concert, all proceeds to go towards the fund.
This support by the community, which by it’s very nature of living and working, and in some cases dying, side by side and the willingness it shows to help just one member reach out and achieve a longed for dream shows the strength of the community as a whole.They may not be able to alter the outcome of their own lives but they can make a difference to the life of someone else. This reflects the tradition of loyalty within mining communities: loyalty to their way of life, their traditions and to each other summed up in the maxim “Stick together no matter what. “5 “The miners were defending their work not only as a source of livelihood but also as a dignity and a resource, a title to collective dignity” The Enemy Within – Pit villages and the miners’ strike of 1984-5, edited by Raphael Samuel, Barbara Bloomfield and Guy Boanas, History Workshop Series, Routledge ; Kegan 1986 page 29″..
… one might refer to the paternalist (or maternalist) idiom which miner adopted, whether in conceptualising the strike as an act on behalf of others – a kind of noblesse oblige – or in looking after their own. In the villages solidarity resolved itself into ‘taking care’ of those in greatest need, the ‘slightly better placed’ helping the more vulnerable to survive. Source as above including page “Pride was arguably the central issue at stake in the strike of 1984-5, when the very survival of the industry was in question” Source as above including page”The hereditary principle can also be seen in the miner’s attachment to place, both as a physical setting and as a social nexus. “.
” The fact that miners’ ‘villages’ are in many cases quite recent, does not undermine, but may actually enhance, the strength of attachment to place” Source as above page 24 “For the miners the strike was an act of faith in their leaders, faith in the union, faith in themselves. ” Source as above page 30 “…. those who came out on strike in March 1984 were still on strike twelve months later.
” Source as above page 34 “…. hereditary occupational communities, a change in job location, when younger people move away destroys the inter-generational solidarity, and two-way system of family care, whose strength (as an alternative welfare state) the strike tested and proved to be the secret of the miners’ resilience.
” Source as above page 37 “The attack on the union was thus experienced as a personal threat, jeapardising securities of all kind.” Source as above page 28 “T 1984-5 strike was a last-ditch fight to defend jobs, mining communities and the NUM itself against a government prepared to bring into play unlimited resources”……
….. “to break the union and its backbone of support” source The Enemy Within – The Secret War Against the Miners, Seumas Milne, pub.
Verso 2004 page 18.Above book quoting Margaret Thatcher speaking on television 9 years after the miners strike- see below:- “….
. the actual management of the Coal Board could indeed have brought down the government. The future of the government at that moment was in their hands “…
…. source as above page 20 “…
… they had lived at a pitch, physically, intellectually, morally even, which they could not expect to again, and which most who have not undergone war would never emulate”.source Dave Feickert, interview with the author, 5 June 1993 – The Enemy Within – The Secret War Against the Miners, Seumas Milne, pub Verso 2004 page 21 1.The Enemy Within – The Secret War Against The Miners, Seumas Milne, pub.
Verso 2004 page 23 2 Ibid page 23 3 http://news. bbc. co.
uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/12/newsid 2540000/25401175. stm 4 Ibid 5 The Enemy Within, Pit villages and the miners’ strike of 1984-5, edited by Raphael Samuel, Barbara Bloomfiel, Guy Boanas , History Workshop Series, pub. Routledge ; Kegan Paul 1986 page 25.