For those of us growing up in Britain in the 1970s, they were dark times. Not metaphorically, but literally. Industrial action by miners led to regular power cuts, so it was homework by candlelight. Rubbish went uncollected. In some cities, even municipal gravediggers left the dead unburied. The notorious Winter of Discontent, as the public sector strikes of 1978-79 came to be known, paved the way for Margaret Thatcher’s first election victory, and the privatisation of nationalised industries in the 1980s and 1990s.