We got up early this morning to travel down to Easington, a two bus journey via Sunderland, so Chris and me had loads of time to talk.
We had a brilliant time in Easington. First of all we visited Tommy Ashurst in his house. God, poor Tommy has suffered and lives in a threadbare house. He’s a single miner and gets no help other than the support he gets from the local community yet he’s as active and militant as he was on day one. He told Chris about how the village was totally surrounded by riot police when the scab went back, and how the pigs insulted and abused the local people. Shocking, and something I hope we never experience at Westoe. The visit renewed my faith in the strike and made me realise how lucky I am in comparison to Tommy.
At the soup kitchen we met the most inspirational woman I have ever met, Heather Woods, one of the women behind SEAM (Save Easington Area Mines). She actually has nothing to do with mining, her husband is a plumber, but as she says, it’s her community and she will fight for it to survive. Heather helps to run ‘The Miner’s Kitchen’ and they are serving 500 to 600 meals a day and doing a fantastic job. We need something like this at Westoe because it really brings people together.
Chris went to Wearmouth picket on his own this afternoon because it was too risky for me to be making an appearance. He told me the picket was sold out by Lodge officials and Bob Clay, left wing Labour MP and ex – revolutionary. Apparently over 300 pickets took the pigs completely by surprise and some of the men barricaded the front entrance whilst others started to rip up the barrier around the car park. They had the opportunity to occupy the whole pit and get at the scabs but that bloody stupid rumour about police horses and riot police started again, and Bob Clay appealed to the pickets to leave, saying,’We’ve achieved what we came to do’, and he was supported by the officials! Chris is disgusted, as are most of the other militants I’ve spoken to on the phone. It was a wasted opportunity to stop the scabbing and send out a message to all those other bastards sitting on their arses at home thinking of joining them.
Chris has left for Yorkshire, and I really hope he finds them a lot more organised than we are in Durham.
Kath is on a real downer and keeps going on about losing her job. I’ve told her we’ll cope if she does but it hasn’t made any bloody difference.