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The coal industry was de-controlled by the Government in 1921. The coalowners, having been presented with a mandate to run the mines by the nation, proceeded to do just that. The coal mines were no longer owned by individual hardy entrepreneurs in the main. The centralisation of production meant that "monopolists" like Alfred Mond (founder of ICI) had substantial coalmining interests. Nevertheless, the individual entrepreneur still survived in some places and interestingly it was these reactionaries (used in the correct sense of having a philosophy and way of doing things out of line with changed reality) who controlled the employers' organisation which did all the negotiating with the MFGB. Their control was so strong that the big bourgeoisie were unable to challenge the small owners' ideas about how the struggle with the miners should be conducted.

After 1919, relations between miners and owners were confined to traditional trade unionism. And though it should be remembered that the coalowners took the most reactionary course open to them (refusing all Government attempts at capitalist reorganisation which had been enacted by Parliament), the fact that they were able to do so was because the working class had taken the owners to the brink and failed to push them over. Left in the ownership of their pits, the owners proceeded to act as if they and only they knew what was best (having little regard for the material requirements of the industry or its most progressive practitioners like Mond). When the MFGB had to try and defend its concessions and conditions won during the war in 1921, 1925 and 1926, they had to contend not only with a worsening in the terms of trade for English coal and the increasing substitution of oil, but also a reactionary employers' organisation which could not be coerced by the more realistic members of its class because these reactionaries had won their case in the open struggle of public opinion. 

The progressive members of the bourgeoisie can coerce the reactionary members of their own class only when the working class provides the force and conscious demand for them to do so. In this case the working class had provided the force, but had drawn back at the crucial moment, so the reactionaries had won and were perfectly entitled to take the fact of property ownership seriously (i.e. to flaunt the developments in the productive forces). But we should not forget that even with the most progressive employers, miners would have had to take a cut in their wages, because the market was producing conditions which even the most progressive bourgeoisie at that time could not alter. The best it would have been possible to expect was that the cut should have been agreed by the MFGB and employers as necessary, made as small as possible, and shared between districts on a national basis; and that the cut should be redressed as soon as market conditions made this possible. Meanwhile, a progressive bourgeoisie would presumably have managed better as capitalists, exploiting the chances the market threw up better than the reactionaries.

In the meantime the bourgeoisie as a class had gained great sustenance from the coal owners' victory and began to believe for the first time since the l890s that a new epoch might indeed not have begun and that their traditional privileges and rights might indeed again be assertable. From 1919 to 1926 they try to assert these ... and fail. The coalowners and the bourgeoisie won the General Strike formally; the miners were forced to go back to work on the owners' conditions and other employers were able to sack their militants and the 1927 Trades Union Act was passed, which Baldwin had prevented even being introduced in the House as a Private Members Bill in 1924 and 1925, and had prevented backbenchers from passing in one day through Parliament during the General Strike (Parliament can indeed act quickly if the situation outside it requires it) in order to make the working class knuckle under. The Act, for which the bourgeoisie had held out such hopes, was never implemented! (The Government had to observe form in requiring the Civil Service unions to disaffiliate from the TUC. The Act's provisions requiring contracting in and not contracting out did not reduce the Labour Party's coffers at all. In about four years the trade unions were contributing as much to the Party as if they had been still contracting out. The other provisions of the Act which were never used were similar to the Industrial Relations Act. The Act was repealed by the 1945 Labour Government.)