Julie drove us to the picket line this morning because Geoff was knackered. Julie is a teacher but still managed to stay for an hour before going to work. Again we arrived before the majority of pickets so I grabbed the chance to join the six ‘official’ pickets at the entrance. Gary stood across the road with Julie. As the scabs began to arrive we tried to flag them down but not one of the bastards would stop, or even slow down. Two of the lads are from Agecroft and have been out since day one. If it’s hard for us then how much tougher must it be for them? One lad was forced to go back across the road for the unforgivable crime of shouting ‘scab’. I wasn’t far behind him after posing with a limp wrist and pouting. Julie said I was being sexist and I couldn’t argue. I was just trying to wind up the scabs but her point was taken.
Stanley outdid himself today. He had constructed a shrine on the pavement consisting of a picture of a policeman surrounded by triangular pieces of silver paper, with a wooden cross and a dead sparrow completing the thing. Stan danced around the shrine chanting curses against the police, stopping every now and again to talk into his coat collar, saying things like, ‘3000 pickets arriving in ten minutes, over’, shouting in a loud voice for yhe benefit of the bemused pigs nearby. After a while the pigs came over and destroyed Stan’s subversive shrine and caused the livliest reaction of the morning from the pickets, but it was only boos and jeers, no push. The picket ended, and after we had thrown Keith’s bag at him we headed off to Manchester Poly.
Gary and me did a paper sale and managed to sell half a dozen copies. We felt ashamed and disgusted when we were talking to a young lass from Sunderland and some of our pickets started shouting at her, asking her to ,’Get her tits out for the lads’. Bloody pathetic and we shouted back at the lads and told them not to be so bloody rude and offensive. All this achieved was yet more accusations of us being ‘snobby bastards’. How can we expect support and solidarity if we behave like this?
One of the lads told us a meeting was being held to discuss whether we should stay an extra day to attend a rally in St Helens tomorrow. The meeting didn’t last long and the main issue seemed to be whether we would get an extra £8. We will, so we’ll attend the rally.
Gary and me phoned our wives to tell them the news and got a right ear bashing. Kath was really pissed off and suggested I should just stay away if I’m enjoying myself so much. I tried to explain but she isn’t happy and she wouldn’t listen. Gary got much the same from his wife so we retreated to a nearby cafe for a coffee and a chance for our ears to recover. The cafe was owned by a Greek Cypriot man who supports the strike and we had a fascinating half hour in his company as we listened to his tales of the struggles he’s had back home in Cyprus. He also said that Reagan is an imbecile and the USA are the biggest threat to world peace. We very reluctantly left because Phil was waiting outside to take us to another meeting.
The meeting was held in the Armstrong Hall in Salford, and like its namesake in South Shields, sells Vaux beer, which Gary calls ‘gnats piss’. Phil had told us we were to speak to Probation Officers so neither of us was expecting much of a reception. How wrong we were. There were about thirty people present and we spoke about how the law was being deliberately misused to break the strike, how the violence mainly came from the police, and how the bail conditions took men away from the action for trivial ‘offences’, such as Obstruction of the Highway. We were very surprised to get a standing ovation and received £80 from the collection which had been made. It was brilliant, and for the two of us, the highlight of our visit.
Back at Geoff’s we counted up all the money we have collected and were amazed to find we have £411.23p, which will really help the Women’s Support Group. We’re off for a night out with the Manchester comrades but this time we’ll leave the money at home!