Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

144. Thursday January 31st, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I received a letter through the post from the manager of Westoe Colliery appealing for me to return to work so that the pit can be saved. Apparently it is in danger of being flooded so badly we won’t be able to save it if we don’t return to work NOW! Bollocks,it’s blackmail. They’ve tried bribery and that didn’t work so now it’s blackmail. The letter ends,’Remember, it is YOUR JOB and YOUR future at stake and requires YOUR decision NOW!’ The bin got my response!

The Lodge has asked for our Safety Rep to be allowed down the pit to assess the situation but the manager, predictably, has refused. The fact of the matter is its not us he wants back, it’s the Deputies in the NACOD’s union because without them he can’t get the scabs back down the pit. NACOD’s have so far refused to cross our picket lines because they know they will have to work with us once the strike is over, but that doesn’t mean anything to the NCB and they are really being put under pressure. I’ve no sympathy with the bastards at all because if they’d joined the strike at the start we would have won this bloody strike months ago!

As expected, the NCB have refused to talk to the NUM unless they agree not to oppose pit closures. How can the bastards expect us to do that after all the shit we’ve been through? Bastards are just building up mens hopes and then crushing them in the hope more men will return to work in despair. 5,000 scabs now in the North East.

Four scab buses went into Westoe this morning and three men were arrested in the push. The pigs just grab anyone they can catch. The NCB are claiming 185 men working at Westoe. They neglect to mention that 100 of these are in the COSA union, 53 mechanics and the remainder genuine NUM scabs. Hardly a massive return to work from a workforce of over 2000 men! I’m proud of the Westoe pickets and always will be!

143.Monday January 21st, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

It was totally pissing down with rain this morning and I really wanted to stay in bed but I forced myself to get up and down to the line because I still believe we can win, despite the passivity of others. One lad, Tony Scott, was arrested by the pigs but it was great to hear the ‘Zulu’ chant one more time.

The NCB have crowed louder than usual today, claiming 651 new men returning to work. The biggest scabbing happened at Ellington Colliery in Northumberland where 147 men scabbed and brought the total to 600.

There are now 4,812 scabs in the North East, almost a quarter of the workforce, and it would be stupid if we were not concerned. David Archibald, Area Director, said on tv,’These men returning reinforce our view that the collapse of the strike is inevitable and gets nearer as each week passes’.

The national picture is no better, with the NCB claiming 40% now scabbing. Thatcher is going for the jugular and is refusing to hold talks without a guaranteed sell out. She is an evil fucking bitch!!

142. Friday January 18th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

The snow has gone as quickly as it appeared but it’s still bitterly cold. Passive picketing is once again the order of the day at Westoe. The lodge officials do nothing and are seemingly content for the strike to reach its expected conclusion, defeat!

The NCB are claiming 135 back to work but we reckon there are only 24 NUM members included in that number, with 45 mechanics and 35 COSA members. Still, it’s enough for the bastards to encourage others. Me, I’m dead proud to be a Westoe miner!

Kneel Kinnock spoke today and yet again showed his true colours, a whiter shade of white! He said of yesterdays protest by Skinner and co,’If they think the miners are helped, or the Labour Party is helped by what they are doing then they are not living in the real world!”Earth calling Kinnock on Mars!!!!!! Bloody idiot. In complete contrast 500 rank and file labour activists joined the picket lines in Yorkshire.

141. Thursday January 17th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Looking out of my bedroom window this morning gave the perfect start to the day. A blizzard was raging outside and the ground was covered in deep snow, a sight only a striking miner could truly appreciate.

My good mood quickly disappeared down at the picket line because everyone seemed to be content to merely shout at the scab buses, shattering my optimism of yesterday that a new mood of militancy was growing.

Scargill spoke in Durham today, desperately trying to raise the morale of his flagging troops, with over 3,000 lads present. Why didn’t he tell them to march on one of the scabby pits like Wearmouth? A golden opportunity lost. According to him, power station workers in Yorkshire are on the verge of striking, so why wasn’t he speaking to them? It’s alright hitting the tories in their pockets, but Scargill seems unable to realise they will spend what it takes to defeat us, and get their money back in the long run. When we are gone.

Also today, in the House of Commons, the ‘Campaign’ group of left wing MP’s began to do what they should have done from day one. They demanded a debate in government time on the strike, and when that was denied, they caused a row and parliament was suspended. Dennis Skinner told Thatcher,’You aint seen nothing yet!’ We aint seen nothing for 10 months!

A large part of  British Rail went on strike today in support of men sacked for supporting our strike. It’s only a pity they hadn’t done this a lot Earlier and we might just have won!

To end on a high note, a scab has been seriously injured at Westoe and we can only hope the bastard dies in agony!

140. Wednesday January 16th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

At long last we have seen some vigour and determination on the picket line at Westoe. The mostly young lads had had enough and began a serious push against the pigs, taking them completely by surprise because they’d grown used to our passivity. We didn’t stop the scabs but we did get back some of the fighting spirit I thought we’d lost for ever.

The situation at Wearmouth grows worse by the day, with almost a quarter of the workforce, 500 men, now scabbing. This has really damaged morale because Wearmouth has always been seen as the most militant pit. If scabbing is so bad there, then how long can the rest of us continue?

139.Monday January 14th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 at 9:26 am

Since my last entry a Kent miner has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for allegedly stamping on a pigs face. How many years did the pigs get for beating the shit out of men at Orgreave and loads of other places? You know the answer!

The tension between Kath and myself grows day by day, and we just aren’t talking to each other again. I am feeling really depressed and just can’t see any point in us carrying on. Thatcher has a lot to answer for, bitch!!

138. Thursday January 10th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

A group of young striking miners have been sentenced to two and a half years in prison in Derbyshire for setting fire to scab buses. No one was hurt and I think the rest of the trade union movement should be ashamed of themselves for allowing it to happen. ‘I’m not down but I’m feeling low’.

137. Wednesday January 9th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

The NCB are claiming 101 scabs at Westoe but we reckon there are only about 65. Guess which figures will be reported in the media? The picketing is depressing,  it’s frustrating. Even when two lads got lifted for refusing to move off the pavement no one retalliated. A few months ago at least we would have marched to the pig shop to complain. Today, a big fat nowt!

I resigned as Secretary of the soup kitchen because I’m pissed off with the infighting between two groups. Down down deeper and down.

Tonight I watched a programme on Channel 4 called,’Whose Side Are You On?’ It was excellent, showing the magnificent spirit of the men and women to fight on against all adversity during this strike. The best thing though was showing the police violence against us and our communities. However, the very screening of the programme means we have lost! At least that’s what I think! How many people watch C4?

136. Monday January 7th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm

The NCB are claiming over 1,000 men returned to work today. At Westoe, as at other pits in the North East, they were expecting a huge surge back. It never happened at Westoe, though there were a few more than Friday. There was a very discouraging return at Herrington, led by the Lodge Chairman, a rat called Stokoe. Also, at Ellington, the Lodge Secretary led a return to work, despite his son being a leading member of ‘Militant’. These two dickheads claim an allegiance to the NUM, and will almost certainly encourage more scabbing from the so called ‘moderate miners’ who have sat on their arses for 10 months! Bastards!

The situation at Wearmouth just gets worse and I feel really sorry for their predominantly left wing officials because they have a lot more scabs than us, and our officials have been crap whilst theirs have been excellent. It just doesn’t make sense.

135. Friday January 4th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2010 at 11:35 am

According to the NCB 72 scabs went into Westoe today, 3,177 in the North East Area. No difference on the picket line, passivity and resignation, doom and gloom. The end seems nigh.

This afternoon I decided to take Jen and Sasha down to the picket line because I knew there’d be no trouble but just in case we stood away from the main body of pickets. I just wanted to explain to them what has been happening for almost a year, and to show them the scab buses and explain the kind of people who were hiding inside. I know that Sasha is only 10, and Jen 12, but why shouldn’t they know why their mam and dad are splitting up?

Predictably a television crew had turned up from Tyne Tees Television to film the 3 buses going in so that passive miners who still have tellies can see how quiet it is. Some of the lads jumped in front of the camera to ruin their filming as the scab buses went in, and one of the escort vans full of riot police stopped and they poured out ready for action, pushing roughly into our lads and trying hard to get them to retaliate. The lads knew their tactics and didn’t respond. I pointed this all out to my daughters and told them never to forget what they were seeing, and hearing, in January 1985. Sasha said,’They should push the police back, I would’. Out of the mouths of babes!

The pigs crawled back into their van and continued to mock the pickets by waving money at them. I again pointed this out to the girls and explained what the police were doing before leading them off to return home. We had just turned the corner when a police van pulled up just ahead of us, and an inspector, two pips on his shoulder, leant out of the window and said,’Hoy! You! What were you saying to those children?’. Anger welled up inside me and I snapped back,’What the hell has that got to do with you? They’re my kids and our conversation is private!’ His response staggered me! ‘I hope you weren’t trying to warp their minds against the police!’ I can’t remember exactly what I said in reply because I was fuming but it was something along the lines that things hadn’t got so bad that I was forced to repeat conversations with my girls to the police. His response shocked even me, a hardened picket,’I’ll tell you what then mate. When those kids, pointing at my terrified daughters,get fucking lost, or something fucking worse happens to them, don’t phone for us, phone for fucking Arthur Scargill!’ The van sped off and I was left trying to console my frightened kids. What the fuck have we come to that innocent girls have to be scared witless because their dad is a striking miner?