South Wales Valleys, is the former industrial area of South Wales in the UK and is currently home to around 30 percent of the Welsh population. The scenic countryside was first inhabited during the industrialization of the UK. After this period, The Valleys coal mine industry boomed. When Margaret Thatcher took office as prime minister in 1979 and opened the UK to free market policies, many problems arose for the state-owned mining industry. When Thatcher announced plans to close the majority of the coal mines in 1984-85, miners across the country went on strike. Ultimately, the strike failed and all the mines were closed, resulting in unemployment rates rising to some of the highest in the UK. Drug abuse, alcoholism and educational drop-out rates rose as well. The destinies of the people of The Valleys are the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and illustrate the conflicts that arise when a society that is built on industry meets right-wing political reality. Today, The Valleys are a shadow of what they once were. There are many who live difficult lives, but there is also a strong sense of community and warmth between people who are trying to get the valleys to rise again.