LAST week, the righting of a decades-old injustice was announced. The Scottish Government has said it will pardon miners convicted of 'crimes' dating from the Miners' Strike in the mid 80s.

There were tears in many communities across the country, not least in Clackmannanshire with its long and proud history of mining.

The miners in 1984 and 1985 faced a brutal and relentless foe in the Conservative Government led by Margaret Thatcher.

Workers who'd been lauded for their role in keeping the country powered during the dark days of World War 2 were traduced by Mrs Thatcher as "the enemy within" just a few decades later.

No-one pretended that mining was an easy job. It was dirty and often dangerous. But it fed families and kept communities alive.

And it had a long history in our county. Mining in Sauchie dated back four hundred years. Until the 20th century, women and children worked alongside their menfolk.

In Dollar, women – known as 'bearers' – carried mined coal 100 feet to the surface in baskets strapped by belts to their foreheads. One woman – Janet Paterson of the Devon Iron Works – is recorded as carrying 254 kilos for more than 50 metres.

Deaths were not uncommon. In 1897, five men lost their lives in the Devon Colliery in a major flood. Tragedies took place at the Sheardale Pit and elsewhere.

A memorial to the legacy of the mining industry and all the sacrifices made now stands in Sauchie.

Miners in the 1980s had every reason to believe that a grateful nation would continue to honour their sacrifices and the pivotal role they'd played in the nation's industrial history. But Mrs Thatcher had little time for sentiment.

And she saw people as units of production, either profitable or dispensable. Despite public promises of a reformed industry, her plan was its elimination. And if that meant the death of communities, so be it. They could get on their bikes.

The miners knew they faced an existential crisis. They also faced a police force being used by the UK Government for political purposes, something many officers found intolerable living, as they were part of the local communities they served.

Those of us old enough remember ranks of police officers massed against striking miners who'd gone for weeks and months without pay.

Folk went hungry. Families split. Friendships were destroyed. And cases went to court leading to convictions and prison sentences for men who'd hitherto led blameless lives.

Great wrongs were committed against the mining communities.

Mining is now gone in Scotland. And few argue that, for the health of its workers or the future of the planet, it should return.

But the industry's destruction was inexcusably brutal for those whose lifeblood it was, and the scars remain.

So it's right that pardons covering both the living and the dead should belatedly be granted. And we should never forget the heroic role miners played in our national story.

In the words of the Sauchie Memorial "Their darkness, our light."