Tonto Jackson was arrested this morning for having the misfortune to be standing too close to a lorry which had its windscreen smashed. The pigs just grabbed him because he was the nearest person to the crime. He’s been charged with using ‘foul and abusive language’ because he swore when the pigs roughly grabbed him.
After Tonto’s arrest we tried a new tactic, walking in front of the scab lorries at a snails pace, linking arms so the pigs couldn’t arrest us easily. It worked brilliantly but despite us shouting for more men, not enough of us were prepared to take part. The pigs charged into us and tried to break our ranks, and even though we put up a brave struggle we couldn’t stop them achieving their aim. I was linked in with Arthur Oxley from Vane Tempest Colliery. I know Arthur from Broad Left meetings and you couldn’t pick a better man to be standing next to in a fight because he’s well over six foot tall with a build to match. He was my saviour this morning because he refused to let go of me as I was dragged to the side of the road. The look on the young pigs face when he realised he was on his own with us was a real picture. Arthur said, ‘What are you going to do now son because you can’t arrest us both?’ He took the wise decision to let us go and beat a hasty retreat. The battle was over but the war isn’t won and I’m pretty certain the two of us will have to be on our guard from now on.
The pigs made 10 arrests this morning and the mood of the men seems to be getting more militant, thank god. The Westoe men are getting really wound up by the lads we’ve had arrested. The pies arrived a bit late because of Tonto’s arrest, and this has really done the trick in terms of ending Westoe passivity. You have to laugh.
Kath is very worried I am going to be arrested after I told her about this mornings events. I’ve told her not to worry because even if I am arrested I’ll only get fined. She remains unconvinced that what we are doing is lawful and this has caused even more friction between us. I feel she is allowing herself to be influenced by the media who seem to be engaged in a daily propaganda campaign against the NUM, and Arthur Scargill in particular. I feel she is coming round to our side but at the moment she still needs to be convinced we can win. We can win if we can convince the rest of the trade union movement of the justice of our fight. If only they would black coal and refuse to use imported oil. If only the scabs would see sense and that their jobs are at risk as well. If only NACODS would join us we would be guaranteed victory. It’s been 8 weeks and no sign of an end in sight so Tony Cliff has been proved right so far. This isn’t ’72 and ’74, mores the pity. Anyway, attitudes on the picket line seem to be hardening and Westoe has gained quite a few new pickets but we still need a lot more!