We travelled down to Doncaster for a meeting of miners who are either in the SWP or close to it. There were 5 of us from Westoe, Gary Marshall, Keith Smoult, me, and two younger lads, Ian Richardson and John Rumney who we have been picketing with and selling the paper to. They are keen on politics but confused on issues such as nuclear weapons and parliamentary democracy.
We arrived late due to a flat tyre but didn’t miss too much. There were miners present from every coalfield except Wales, which is dominated by the Communist Party, and I was pleased to meet up with Ian Mitchell and Steve Hamill again. It was interesting to hear that I’m not the only one having problems with union bureaucracy, and also that other areas are having problems with raising the level of picketing. Steve Hamill spoke about the need to picket at Orgreave and also said that in his opinion Jack Taylor, President of the Yorkshire Area, is deliberately preventing a mass picket by sending men into Notts where the policing is so high it is a complete waste of manpower. Another lad agreed and said we should picket NUM National HQ in Sheffield to draw attention to this. Steve said we shouldn’t waste our time with union officials but organise picketing ourselves at rank and file level. The most important target now is to picket steelworks such as Ravenscraig, Scunthorpe, Redcar and Llanwern. We need to go back to our pits and start arguing for this case because its the only way we can win. We really need to start fighting back against the Tories because people seem to be getting complacent. It was an excellent meeting and if it did nothing else it made us feel we aren’t on our own.
On the way home we talked about the meeting to Ian and John and Gary was particularly convincing because he’s now joined the party. Ian also told me that one of the committee men is spreading rumours that the only reason I opted for jail the other day was so the forgery case against me would be dropped. Christ, those bastards just seem out to get me and I’m wondering why I bloody bother!
Keith also told me that the reason I was chucked out of prison was because I was charged with Obstruction of the Highway, which isn’t a prisonable offence. They were all charged with Obstruction of the Police, which is, and anyway they were all freed the next day after appealing to a judge in chambers, whatever that means.