Far and away the most powerful image of 1979’s Winter of Discontent, when one and a half million public sector workers went on strike, was that of the dead lying unburied. There’s a peculiar horror in that; it blends dishonour with decomposition most potently. Bloated rubbish bags, bloated corpses. Bluebottles. Stench. The unburied dead of ’79 endure in our national mythology – and myth is what it mostly is. But hey, let’s not let the truth get in the way!
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