normanstrike

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Friday February 19th, 2010.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

So there you go, finished and done with and part of history now. I just couldn’t keep to my schedule of writing the entries on the day they happened all those years ago. Too painful, and I’m relieved I’ve finally finished. I hope reading the diary helped in some small way to understand what we went through, and why we went through it. The sad thing is nothing seems to have changed. People are still losing their jobs and whole industries have become history. One solution, revolution. Seriously.

   As for me, well, I was one of the fortunate ones. I went to London and landed a plum job with the GLC, working at the South Bank Centre. Unfortunately it didn’t last long because Thatcher abolished it! I went to Portsmouth Poly and got a degree, did teacher training in Southampton Uni, and have spent the time up until the present as an English teacher. I remarried in 2000 and have a 9 year old son, Tim, and two lovely grandbairns, Chloe and Holly. Sasha is a Registered Mental Nurse, Jennifer is a Primary school teacher, and Kath is a social worker. My wife, Anne, is a Paralympian and the most wonderful person I have ever met. Inspirational is the word I’m looking for, and I love her more than life. I’m a very lucky man. Tomorrow is my 59th birthday and I’d just like to end by saying a huge thank you to all the men, women, and children who saw the strike out to its bitter end. Heroes, every one of them!

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153. Thursday March 7th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm

This morning I played out my final part in the 1984 – 1985 Miners Strike when I appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court to answer my ‘Breach of the Peace’ charge, outstanding since July. The two arresting officers gave opposing accounts of my arrest yet I was found guilty as charged and fined £80 with eight weeks to pay.

  So that’s it, all over and done with, the most exciting, frightening and eventful year of my life so far, and one I will never forget. If I was given my time over I would do it all over again.

   On Saturday I leave for a new start down in London and who knows what the future holds? I’ve given up my job, seen my marriage end, and been beaten black and blue and thrown in jail but I’d do it all again because the issues at stake were too important to do any other. One thing I am certain of is the Tories won’t stop here, so all those unions who stabbed us in the back better watch out because it’s their turn next!

152. Tuesday March 5th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

This morning I applauded as the lads marched proudly back behind the Lodge banner, heads held high. They were followed in by the scabs in their mobile rat cage and I had a final noisy shout as they sped in.

  I went into the pit to the changing rooms and collected my few belongings from my locker. I felt both elated and depressed. Elated because I know I will never have to go down the pit again, and depressed because we have lost and I won’t be around to rebuild the union around the young militant lads who have come to the fore during the strike.

  In Northumberland the men of Bates Colliery were refused entry to the pit because they were late! That’s just twisting the knife. Kent have refused to go back in protest against the betrayal of the sacked men. Good for them! It’s what we all should’ve done!

151. Monday March 4th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I attended my last picket of the longest national strike in modern times. I almost lost my voice hurling abuse at the scab buses going in. It’s them bastards I blame!

  Yesterday a Special Delegate Conference voted 98 to 91 for an organised return to work, with no conditions. The bastards have bowed down too far and betrayed the 600 men sacked during the strike. I’m ashamed of them!!

  At a mass meeting in the Armstrong Hall the Lodge officials ran true to form and merely informed the men to phone the pit to find out what shift to return on. They brushed aside complaints from men who’ve already phoned and been told to return to work at 10pm, night shift. The bastards are really rubbing it in because it’s just over a year since we defeated the managers plans to force all men to do night shift instead of volunteers. Our cowardly officials are back to being compromise specialists. I really hope the lads get rid of them all at the earliest opportunity!

150. Tuesday February 26th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I handed in my two weeks notice to quit at the pit today. It wasn’t hard but it has left me feeling terribly guilty and depressed for giving up a job I fought so hard to keep. Bloody pathetic really, but I felt it was time I put myself first for once. My marriage is well and truly on the rocks, though strangely Kath and me are getting on better than we have done for years. I am leaving for London after my final court appearance in Scotland next week. I had to hand in my notice so I can get some cash before I leave to keep me going until I can get my dole sorted out. Dole Not Coal.

  My guilt is lessened by the fact that the strike is lost and will almost certainly end in the next couple of weeks. Everyone seems to think it is better to go back united than risk more men becoming scabs. One lad last week, who I have stood side by side with since day one, came to the soup kitchen, had his dinner and then went back to work! If things are that bad then perhaps we should make the best of it and go back with heads held high and dignity intact. I’m down but not quite out!

149. Friday February 22nd, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I’ve been so involved in talking to Kath about our split that I haven’t been bothered to write. There’s nothing to write about anyway, it’s just doom and gloom. Ironically Kath and me have talked more these past few days than we have the whole of our marriage, which says everything really. I’m just waiting for the end to happen.

148. Wednesday February 13th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Coal stocks were moved from Thurston and Silverwood collieries with very little resistance. This really is the end now and I am at rock bottom. Tomorrow should be our 13th wedding anniversary. Unlucky for us both!

147. Monday February 11th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I finally cracked today and had a huge row with Kath. I’ve decided to leave as soon as my case is over up in Scotland. I just can’t take the hostile atmosphere any more so I’ve moved back onto Paul McGarr’s settee in Newcastle. The girls were really upset and it’s not fair that we allow our hatred of each other to affect them any longer.

I spoke to a group of students at Sunderland Poly today but I wasn’t my usual defiant self. Still, it was good to see we still have some supporters left.

146. Thursday February 7th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I travelled up to Scotland yesterday with Fred Taylor and spent the night at Willie and Marlene Forsyth’s house in Penicuik. It was great to see them again but very sad to hear that Willie has been sacked.He is very worried because he’s certain the strike is going to be sold out. I agree with him but still feel confident that no deal will be signed without all the sacked miners being reinstated. We can’t betray these men who have fought so hard to win the strike, or the lads who gave their lives and the lads in jail. It’s unthinkable.

   I spent the whole of today in the Sheriff’s court waiting to be dealt with for my arrest at Bilston Glen on July 25th!! It never happened because the bastards have adjourned it yet again until March 7th! Justice my arse! The three lads who did get dealt with were all found guilty, one of them getting a £150 fine and the other two got £75 fines, with only 8 weeks to pay! One of the lads was John Scott from Westoe, and unfortunately for him his witness gave evidence that contradicted his. Another wasted journey for me.

145. Monday February 4th, 1985.

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

I got up at 4am this morning so I could get down to Westoe for the mass picket called in response to Westoe NACOD’s voting for a return to work, but only if there wasn’t a hostile picket at the gates. It was brilliant!! Over 500 men turned out to face one senior pig, as requested by NACOD’s. We were VERY hostile as we marched up to the pit gates with the ‘Zulu’ chant being shouted loudly. Just like the good old days. We spotted a man sitting in a car beside the pit, and when we asked him who he was he told us he was a reporter from the Shields Gazette, notorious amongst the pickets for its pro – scab, pro – NCB stance. He was lucky to get away alive as we began to rock his car and almost turned his world upside down.

   The Deputies leader was very arrogant in his short discussion with our officials, resulting in a hail of paimt bombs, stones and traffic bollards raining down on the Deputies, forcing them into a very undignified retreat. Things then started to get out of hand and a car was overturned. Unfortunately it was owned by a local TV rental company who have threatened to stop all credit to striking miners. At least they wont have to watch the shit being poured out constantly about the return to work!

   A Deputy’s car was also covered in paint because its owner had been particularly outspoken against us. He has already been bleating to the local media, and has hung a sign on his car naming the NUM as the ‘hooligans’ responsible. No doubt his action will result in further abuse, but whatever he suffers it will not be a fraction of what we have suffered for the past 11 months!

   The Shields Gazette had a field day in tonights edition, calling us ‘hooligans and thugs’, and reserving special indignation to report the ‘horrific experience of their innocent reporter’. As innocent as Robert Maxwell or Rupert Murdoch! The sooner this nasty, tatty little rag goes bankrupt the better for the people of South Shields!

   The Tories are going in for the kill, announcing the closure of Frances Colliery in Scotland with the loss of 500 jobs, with more to go if the stike continues. Bastards!!