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The Sun At 40: When Arthur Scargill Was ‘Mein Fuhrer’

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sun2THE Sun newspaper is 40 years old this year. Brendan Montague looks back at a headline that never made it into the retrospective issue. Your writer once presented a feature on the BBC about tabloid journalism’s front pages. I never saw this one in the British Library’s exhibit. Brendan explains:

THE EVIL Sun front page showing NUM leader Arthur Scargill apparently giving a Nazi salute under the headline “Mine Fuhrer” has been revealed for the first time. has secured a world exclusive from a former mole at the News International printing plant in London’s Bouverie Street.

The leak comes 25 years to the day after the hard-right tabloid first tried to tar the Marxist union leader as a Nazi.

The Sun front page never made the light of day.

Union members at the printers refused to publish the filthy slur and instead humiliated bullying editor Kelvin McKenzie.

They publicly shamed him by running across the splash: “Members of all The Sun production chapels refused to handle the Arthur Scargill picture and major headline on our lead story.

“The Sun has decided, reluctantly, to print the paper without either.”

It was May 1984 and the height of the historic miners’ strike.

Sun owner Rupert Murdoch wanted to thank PM Margaret Thatcher for smashing the Monopolies Commission so the foreigner could buy four British newspapers.

At the same time, the print unions were showing striking miners around the presses – and raising cash to fund the industrial action.

The printers knew if the miners lost they would be next.


Olly Duke, 57, worked at The Sun’s art desk making up pages when his union “comrades” blocked the Hitler front page.

He was a member of the NUJ and the hard-left Socialist Workers’ Party. He would have screaming rows with the editor.

Yesterday, from his home in the south of France, he told “The picture came through John Brown of the National Geographic Association and he refused to touch it.

“Arthur was waving to someone – there was no salute. A huge shock wave went through the offices when we stopped the page. We just wound not set that headline.”

It made us all feel incredibly powerful. I felt great. I went into the NGA art department and mocked up what the front page the editor wanted, just to see what it would have looked like.”


The final front page that went out that day was to become the high water mark in union militancy and journalistic accountability.

Almost as soon as the ink was dry Murdoch launched his secret plot to buy Wapping and lock out the print unions – leaving 5,000 highly paid workers out of a job.

The smashing of the print unions two years later opened the way to destroy any NUJ chapels at the company, and slowly but surely sack reporters to make even more cash.

Now reporters have no way of stopping their editors printing lies, distortion and celebrity nonsense.

Duke added: “When the miners were defeated we knew we were done for – they would come for us. That was the beginning of the end for journalism in this country.

Samantha Fox is a woman – (pictures here)

The Miners’ Strike Silver Jubilee In Pictures

Brendan blogs at The Sauce

  • Chris Ellis

    Fantastic story that I’d never heard or seen. I was a journalist/reporter with BBC Local Radio in Stoke-on-Trent during the strike. Stoke, among other mining communities, was at the “coalface”, as it were, of the strike, and men died for the cause. Terrible times; I’ll never forget them. Thanks for the article, you learn something every day. Shame about the typos in the introduction, but still a fascinating story.

  • Thanks, Chris.

  • Emma

    This article goes to show why the whinging from the usual suspects (including MacKenzie) about the destruction of press freedom under Leveson (yes, you too Michael Gove) is hollow hot air. It has been a long time since we had a ‘free’ press in this country. The Leveson inquiry won’t stifle the press – it will liberate it.

  • Peter

    Union leaders are, by-in-large, thick as pigs shlt. All they do is try and get as much money as possible to score kudos points with the members. Have got no clue that the people they’re milking are already treating the employees well and what they’re actually doing is jeopordising their employment. They’re also unable to behave like professionals. Union scum. We will win, just like Maggie did. Need more proof?

  • James

    So what your saying is that Scargill was caught on photo doing what looks very much like a Nazi salute. This photo, that was very much in the public interest in order to properly understand the psyche of a man who wasn’t interested in listening to the voice of his members and who consistently tried to get round a lawful ballot, was spiked by a militant print union worker.

    And that was a good thing? You need to sort your moral compass out.

  • james

    if you have evidence of scargill being a fascist then provide it or stfu

  • Harry Paterson

    I was there when this photo was taken, in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and what is not being told is that *both* his arms were up in this position – and then down again, and then up again – as he was gesturing for the rapturous applause to stop so he could be heard.

    This ‘photo’ then was a deliberate smear and a nasty piece of propoganda.