normanstrike

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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  1. Whoa!

    Just to say, I’ve been following this blog from the start, and it’s been an amazing story and an intense read. Thanks!

  2. I’ve been following from the start too. A great piece of work. It gave me a lot to think about. I was a young worker at the time and stuck in the middle of the collapse of American industry. I even took a trip to Kentucky to help out in the coal wars down there.

    I too landed on my feet with a decent union job in San Francisco. I’m an old worker now, but thanks to the labor movement, I’ll be taking early retirement next week at the ripe young age of 56.

    One of my last pieces of labor activism was encouraging my local union to work on developing an internet presence. At least they’ve gotten a domain name and set up a minimal website although they’re not doing much with it. This blog is just one of hundreds of ways in which workers are using the web. I’ve enjoyed the chance to learn from you and extend a bit of international solidarity.

    Thanks for your sacrifices and dedication.

  3. It’s been an absolute pleasure reading this blog. I’ve not agreed with everything you said or did, but I’m sure that in the midst of the strike there was a lot of quick-thinking to do. You’ve really pulled me in to the story, and I’ve followed it via RSS for the entire year. You’ve done the legacy of the strike an absolutely amazing service, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading. I’m glad to hear that you’re still in good health and good company, and I wish you all the best for the future.

  4. Thanks for shaaring your diary. As a young union rep i’ve found it absolutely inspiring.

  5. I’ve been following the blog since I first read about it in Socialist Worker last year. The story of the miner’s strike is an amazing one, and you’ve put a human face on the events. The great tragedy is that had the miners won, than the last 20 years would have been very different. Certainly we wouldn’t be in the worst recession since 1929, with a weakened Trade Union movement. A movement that has some of the most cowardly and sycophantic leaders you can imagine.

    During much of the last year while you’ve been writing this, I’ve been a shop steward in a school in the UK. I’ve been proud to build the union, and see it grow and the members get more confident. Sometimes it’s hard to be a representative and reading our history helped to inspire me.

    I’d like to point out to readers that there is a book version of this blog, called “Strike by Name”, published by Bookmarks. A nice gift perhaps for someone who needs some inspiration about how men and women do fight back, and how, when the workers are united we can never be defeated.

    All the best, and thanks again!

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for the last year – it’s made me laugh, feel tearful and get angry. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I knew there wasn’t a happy ending to the story of the strike, but it sounds like there was in your own life Norman. I’m happy for you. Happy Birthday.

    We fight on.

  7. An absolute quality blog Norman,a very inspiring and emotive read.

  8. Socialist Worker’s article on the 25th anniversary of the end of the strike interviews activists and strikers involved in the dispute, reflecting on the legacy today

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=20411

    Worth having a look.

  9. Fantastic piece of social history Norman, enjoyed every word. Andy

  10. Ive just read your diary Norman i was a striking Lancashire miner and did the whole strike, your diary brought memories flooding back, i was an active picket who helped to set up a support group with soup kitchen in my home town i also joined the SWP Bolton branch the best comardes you could find anywhere they were, great to see you made something of your life all the best comrade thanks for a great read .
    Mick

  11. Forgot to add Norman i would have given anything to see the look on the scabs faces when they found out their pits were closing a few years later 🙂

  12. So 59 years of age you will be retiring from teaching next year hope you have a long and relaxing retirement if you can afford to finish.

    As you say it was a very painful era and many miners have suffered in lots of ways up to the present time.

    What is so sad is the general public still do not understand what it was all about but are beginning to feel the affects of the fall out now which will only get worse for the working classes.

    Shame on all those Labour M.P.s who did not support the miners

  13. Just an amazing read. Such a personal account of that unforgettable time. I’d like to see Ken Loach put your diaries on the big screen. It’s like a Dostoyevskian epic that has everything. Being from Mexborough, South Yorks I experienced the strike first hand and this is the most humane account I’ve ever read. Your tale echoes the experience of thousands of other families from 84-85. I was willing a happy resolution to your family life but it wasn’t to be (when you took your kids to the picket line to show them why you were fighting was the part I found most heartbreaking – I could feel how much you were trying your best to protect them). What makes your tale unique is your short and surreal descent into the world of showbusiness. ‘Elton John’s boater’ had me chuckling!
    It’s great to know that you got a second stab at life though I know, for many of my friends, their stories had no happy resolution. Poverty, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction and death was the unhappy outcome for many lads as a result of Thatcher’s evil reign of cruelty.
    Btw – I also got to know The Redskins. Great lads and, after they split, my own band, The Way, picked up their mantle of Britain’s red-est band (we even included a couple of Redskins songs in the set as a tribute). We went on to play many benefits for other strikers till we split in 89.
    Many thanks for taking the time to write the blog. Now it’s my wife’s turn to read!

    • Thanks very much for your positive comments. It really makes a difference to me and I’m genuinely sorry for those who died. It makes me very sad!!! Good on you for continuing with the message, but it is more important now than it was then!!!! Reform your band and spread the message. Thank you!!!!!

      • so, on the bloody royal scrounging day no views! What does that mean?

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