normanstrike

38. Friday May 4th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2009 at 9:37 am

This mornings picket at Tow Law was quiet until 10am when 3 lorries approached the entrance. We tried the same tactic as yesterday and poured into the road and linked arms in front of the first lorry. Yet again there must have been over 200 men present but only about 70 of us were prepared to get involved whilst the idle bastards just stood and watched. It was those bastards who were responsible for 17 of us getting lifted this morning, not the pigs! Our bloody union officials should be there giving a lead and taking the names of those people not getting stuck in, and stopping their £2 picket money. If the buggers weren’t getting paid they wouldn’t turn up. Bastards!

As we moved onto the road we took the pigs by surprise. I was right in front of the leading lorry, swearing up at the scab driver for helping the Tories. It didn’t take the pigs long to organise themselves and storm into action, with me being grabbed violently round the throat from behind. Unlike yesterday there was no big Arthur to rescue me, and despite my vainly trying to put up a struggle I quickly found myself being forcibly dragged by two pigs into the site where two vans were waiting for us. I was thrown violently against the side of a van and a pig kicked my ankles and ordered me to spread my legs, just like they do on TV cop shows when they search people for weapons. This bastard added a knee into the small of my back as he roughly searched me. There was no bloody need for his violence as I’d done little to resist, but that didn’t stop him from pushing me hard into the back of a van. As I went in I heard Arthur’s voice saying, ‘There’s no fuckin’ need to be so rough ya bastard’. When he spotted me he said, ‘Ah thought we were going t’ see the week out young ‘un’. Before I could reply I landed hard on the metal floor of the van and hurt my shoulder. I hauled myself up and sat on the bench that ran down either side of the van. Within minutes I was joined by Ian Wilburn, who sat next to me, and pretty soon the van was full with six pigs and six pickets. Ian remarked how strange it was that within days the men who delivered the pies, and the one who raised the money for them were all arrested. I said that I hoped the bastards who had stood watching us getting arrested starved to death!

On our side of the bench were Ian, Micky  and me, plus three hefty pigs, and just before we reached our destination the bench collapsed beneath us and we burst out laughing. The pigs weren’t amused and accused us of breaking it deliberately. I blamed it on all the pies we’d eaten and that made us laugh even harder. We were almost hysterical when we found we were in CROOK police station. The puzzzled pigs glared at us.

We were taken from the van one at a time and made to queue outside the door until our turn came.Inside we were ordered to remove our belts and take everything from our pockets. I was asked my name, and yet again was told not to try and be ‘fuckin’ funny’. They must have checked me out because they soon started to take the piss with jokes I’d heard a hundred times before, stupid bastards!

After answering their routine questions I had to be photographed with the two arresting officers standing either side of me. They spoiled a lovely picture! A Polaroid camera was used and they assured us the photographs would be destroyed at a later date, lying bastards. I was taken to a cell and ordered to remove my boots and leave them outside. The smell from my socks even made me feel sick!

I was soon joined by two Westoe lads, Martin Quantrill and Mick Myers. They complained about my smelly feet but their farting did nothing to help. We talked about how we’d each been arrested before Mick and me were taken out to meet Tommy Callan, Durham Area NUM General Secretary, who took our names so he could get us legal representation. He also offered to inform our families but I refused because I didn’t want Kath to worry while she was at work, and I knew I’d soon be released. Tommy gave us a cigarette each to take back to our cell and told us we were to be charged with ‘Obstruction of the Highway’ and would be appearing at Bishop Auckland Magistrates Court at 2pm.

At 1pm we were put into the back of a police car and taken to Bishop Auckland where they put us in a cell beneath the court. The three of us were absolutely starving because we hadn’t eaten since early morning so we were overjoyed when the hatch in the cell door slid open and a pig asked us if we wanted pineapple on our gammon steak? I told him I was a vegetarian but he said,’That’s OK, you can just have the pineapple’. This made the lads howl with laughter but I wasn’t amused! The lads expressed surprise that the food on offer was so good, but they were even more surprised 20 minutes later when the hatch opened and a plastic plate full of stale meat paste sandwiches was passed through by a broadly grinning pig. All of us burst into laughter and rolled about the floor laughing at our own naivity.

My court appearance didn’t take long. The female magistrate tried to supress a grin as my name was read out, then remanded me on bail with the condition I was not to go within two miles of Tow Law until my court appearance. Martin and Mick got the same. We were given back our meagre possessions then released.

Nine Westoe lads had been arrested so Durham sent the Executive coach to take us back to South Shields. Back at the pit we were warned by our own officials not to break the bail conditions and left to make our own way home. Those bastards didn’t give a shit about any of us, or what we’d done for our union. I hate them!

Kath was upset when I told her about my day and said I should just stay at home. I had to remind her that I’d been shouting my mouth off about Scargill since he was elected and I couldn’t take a back seat. I don’t want to! I hope she understands but I’m not sure she does.

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