Sir: Regarding the lament of Michael Foot (Interview, 22 July), I imagine the Prime Minister does not attend the Durham Miners' Gala because this assembly now has little to do with Durham or miners. The gathering appeals to romantics such as Michael Foot, Tony Benn or Arthur Scargill. Together with motley vaguely leftish bodies they import themselves into Durham on this one day of the year.
To the majority in County Durham the Gala has little relevance. Although Michael Foot may not have noticed there are neither miners nor collieries today between Tyne and Tees. Nor were there many even in 1984 in comparison with 1950. Fifty years ago there were 110,000 miners in the Durham coalfield. Most people in Durham had some connection with coal mining. No one today under 45 in Sedgefield knows anything about mining. One should not romanticise exhausted mineworkings. Once a seam is worked out it is time to move on. The main concern now is to clean up the muck and mess of 200 years.
Visitors wanting a fitting memoriam to Durham's miners should visit the Cathedral. …