Back in 1984 our Arthur was carrying out NUM policy as mandated by the membership but I would agree that he never was a negotiator. Very rarely, if ever, do (did?) union leaders achieve 100% of what they were asking. The skill is (was?) in selling whatever compromise has been achieved back to the membership (and why does that sound horribly familiar at the moment?)
It was a South Wales NUM leader (whose name escapes me) who said something along the lines of "Any donkey can get men out on strike but it takes a lion to lead them back to work"
Having said all that I still stand by what the NUM did in 1984/85. We were the only union that had the balls to stand up and fight Thatcher et al. We were wrong footed from the start, the government choosing exactly where and when the fight took place. The fact that most of the union stayed out for the best part of a year is an achievement in itself, if not exactly a victory. I feel proud to have been a small part of that struggle.
It was a long time ago but if you supported the NUM back then you still have my heartfelt thanks.
ex Hatfield NUM