normanstrike

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Wednesday December 14th, 2011.

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Because of all the crap going on here in the UK I feel moved to say something on this blog.

Here we are, almost 30 years on from the events described in my blog and what has changed? Absolutely nothing! Cameron is Thatcher’s bastard son, and Corporal Clegg and his pathetic cronies prop him up while he destroys our country! There are millions on the dole and not surprisingly, it’s young people and women who bear the brunt and still they keep cutting  and forcing us to pay while their rich friends get richer. That smarmy git Osbourne really makes me want to smash his smug face in!

What about ‘New Labour’? Well, Tony Bland and Gordon Clown had 13 years to make a real and lasting difference to the people of this country, especially the working class, and all they achieved was to ban fox hunting and fiddle their expenses. Oh yes, and they abolished Clause 4 and any pretence at being socialists. Now we have the laughable ‘Red Ed’ who has all the charisma of a slug, and a smarmy, slimy one at that. He refuses to stand up for those who feel forced to take strike action and even slags them off as good as Toff Cameron and chums. I really do despair because there seems no end to the terrible depression us poor people have to suffer. I know first hand because I’ve been signing on for a year and once a fortnight I get a grilling at the laughably named ‘Jobcentre’ and have to keep a written record of what I’ve done to find work! It makes my blood boil and I long for the day when the whole evil system of capitalism collapses. One thing I do know is that one day strikes will achieve nothing except those lucky enough to have a job losing a days pay. I say ‘lucky’ but I don’t really mean that. Working conditions these days seem to be worse than ever and everyone is scared they will lose their jobs. Of course I could be smug and say that if people had listened to us back in 1984 we might not be in the position we are in now. However, I won’t say that. What I will say is the working class people of this country need to realise that if they don’t take action the Tories will continue to crush them under their jackboots. The gap between rich and poor is greater than it has ever been and I don’t blame the people who chose to riot in August. I think there will be more riots next year because people are angry, and hungry. They can’t lock us all up.

To finish let me have a rant at football players getting more money per week than a lot of us can earn in a lifetime. It is WRONG, and I wish people would boycott matches and force the bastards to sort it out. I can’t take my 10 year old to matches because there is no way I can afford it. I can’t afford £50 and more to go and see a group or singer. What kind of society are we living in that allows all of this to go on. Why can’t people realise they have the POWER to change things? End of rant, for now!

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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!

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.