We shouldn’t be surprised by Boris Johnson’s remarks about the closure of coal mines.

Not just remarks, but laughing about closing coal mines and then revealing he knew it would get a reaction.

I’ll remind you of what he said.

I know, because I was one of the Scottish journalists who was on the briefing call with him.

He was on a boat, somewhere in the North Sea, visiting offshore renewable energy sites.

The Prime Minister was asked by one of the reporters about transitioning from oil and gas.

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He said: “Look at what we’ve done already.

“We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime, thanks to Margaret Thatcher who closed so many coal mines.”

As he says it, he was laughing, before adding: “Across the country we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal all together.”

At this point he says: “I thought that would get you going.”

It is not clear if he says that to someone beside him or to the reporters asking the questions.

Whoever it was, he knew the impact of his remark.

For him it was about winding people up. He knew it would get many people’s backs up in the country he was visiting, the country of which he is Prime Minister.

Winding people up about the economic and social misery the actions of his heroine brought about.

It brought it about in communities far away from what Boris Johnson knew.

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At the time of the miners strike and pit closures, Boris Johnson was a young man at University in Oxford being photographed with rich pals in a strange uniform of tailcoats.

The mining towns in Ayrshire, Midlothian and Fife, and their inhabitants were alien to him.

Behind the pit closures, and people can bandy around figures about who closed more mines, Labour or the Tories, were communities, families, men women and children.

Communities, many which were divided during a strike, and which were devastated after it.

Pits were closed, pits that were the main source of work for generations of men, pits that were the economic underpinning of the whole community, whole town in some places.

Men were thrown out of work. Many got new jobs, many had to move to get that work, leaving former thriving strong communities weak and empty.

The pits were closed with no thought given to what would replace them.

They were closed to smash opposition to a government thriving on a culture of greed is good and individualism over society.

It broke many men, broke many families, took away their purpose and with no plan for an alternative showed a complete disregard for people’s welfare that you could be forgiven for thinking that the economic pain was deliberate and deemed necessary in order for others to thrive.

This is where we shouldn’t be surprised by what Boris Johnson said and the manner in which he said it.

To him it is a joke. To him the misery of some is essential for the wealth of others.

Giving a lecture in memory of Margaret Thatcher in 2013 he lauded greed and hailed inequality as a necessity.

He praised Margaret Thatcher for “squaring up to” the miners, and for “taming the power” of the unions in general in the UK.

In that speech Johnson noted that the income gap is getting wider than ever.

He delivers a strange metaphor about people being cornflakes in a box and needing shaken up from time to time.

Then the man in charge of one of the most unequal societies in the world tells us what he thinks about inequality.

He said: “I stress: I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.”

The parts of the country where coal mines were closed, without any thought for the economic wellbeing of the population, are among the parts of the country today that are at the sharp end of inequality.

Those who Boris Johnson was at University with in the 1980s are the ones wilding the sword.

His laughter this week about pit closures shows his contempt for people and places that at the time he and his heroine considered to be the enemy.

It wasn’t a joke, a light-hearted remark.

It was what he believes.

His words and the way he said them shows he still, more than 30 years later, takes pleasure in the misfortune of others.

A misfortune that was considered necessary by a predecessor he adores as much as he does Winston Churchill.

There has been much condemnation of his remarks, from politicians of other parties and from people in those very communities.

There has been little, if indeed any, defence from within his own party.

It’s little wonder the Scottish Conservatives didn’t want him coming to Scotland earlier this year during the Holyrood election.