Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Strike’

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?


122. Friday November 23rd, 1984.

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I heard from my solicitor in Newcastle this morning that my trial in Edinburgh has been set for February 7th, no bail conditions. Civilised people, the Scots. Me mam always calls them Scotchies.

Gary rang and told me only 7 scabs have gone into Westoe this morning because they’d been visited and shown the error of their ways! Good! Mind you, the NCB have offered another bribe of £175 plus back pay to any miner who returns to work before next Friday. The bastards are getting really desperate now, but their 30 pieces of silver will only succeed with a tiny minority.

The majority of us will treat it with the contempt it deserves, especially as it comes straight after the tories deducting a further £1 from the pittance a miner’s family is supposed to live on, about £14 a week, all normal bills expected to be paid. Debt! Single miners get nothing, not even picket pay for me just now, a charity case living off handouts from supporters.

I met some ambulance drivers in Kenton and was given £20 in cash, and the promise of regular sums to be sent to the kitchen. If all this money from London is written down on the sheet at Westoe it should really give them heart to see the range of their support.

I can speak to Jen and Sasha on the phone, but Kath refuses to speak to me. Bloody hell! I just don’t think I deserve this.

118. Monday November 12th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2009 at 11:58 am

Today is Jennifer’s 12th birthday and it’s the first one I’ve not been there for her. I spoke to her on the phone and promised to bring her a present when I get home, but its not the same and I felt really depressed today. Sorry sweetheart, I really am!

Chris took me along to his record company, London records, so that the bands press officer, Eugene Manzi, could put together a press release about ‘The Tube’. It was a novel experience for me and I was surprised they could get a photo off tv to use with it. Best of all, I was allowed to help myself to as many records as I could carry. I got a pile of old Rolling Stones stuff, and some records I thought the girls might like, The Fine Young Cannibals and others. I think Chris was a bit embarrassed as we left with me struggling to carry my booty. It was excellent!

This afternoon a London comrade took me to a DHSS office in Harrow and the workers there have agreed to support the soup kitchen, which is brilliant.

Norman Willis, the new fat bastard in charge of the TUC, spoke at a miners rally in Wales and had the bloody nerve to condemn picket line violence! What planet are these people on? The miners responded by booing loudly until some enterprising lads lowered a noose in front of him. They should’ve lynched the fat bastard! I thought Len Murray was a disgrace but this bugger makes him seem militant.

The NCB have offered a £650 Christmas bonus to anyone who scabs before November ends. Bastards!

70. Saturday July 14th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Today should have been the 101st Durham Miners Gala but because of the strike it’s been called a rally instead. I fail to see the logic behind the name change but there you go.

The Westoe contingent, two bus loads, left the Armstrong Hall at 8.45, half an hour late due to another cock up by our Lodge officials. It was pissing down with rain, and on a normal Gala day this wouldn’t have dampened our spirits but 18 weeks into a strike it did. Everyone seemed quiet, though a few of the pickets were in a very optimistic mood due to the dockers having come out on strike earlier this week and they talked enthusiastically about Thatcher not being able to fight on two fronts. Admittedly the dockers have the power to really damage the Tories but the bastards are clever and I can’t see them letting it happen. They’ve come too far and will find any way to compromise, just as they did with the railway workers. I hope I’m wrong, but the TV and the papers are doing all they can to stop a dual front.

The rain was still pouring down when we arrived in Durham and we tramped onto a wet field to get ready for the march. I had brought Jennifer and Sasha along with me and they were just enjoying the whole experience. Kath had refused to come, choosing to go shopping instead. I wasn’t too surprised when it was discovered that the poles for our lodge banner had gone missing, and when they were finally found and fitted, we were almost last in the procession.

There were banners from every coalfield, including Scotland and Wales, and it was a really colourful spectacle. We lined up behind the Cortonwood banner and there were ‘Victory to the Miners’ and ‘Unite to Fight’ placards everywhere. Some people had even turned them into rain hats. The brass bands were playing and we set off to march through the city, down towards the racecourse by the river where the rally was to be held. Jennifer and Sasha’s faces were glowing with pride as crowds of people lined the streets and cheered us on, and I was proud as well, proud to be fighting back against Thatcher and the Tories.

Scargill gave his usual defiant speech, full of passion and anger at those unions not supporting us. Dennis Skinner was excellent, equally full of passion and fire, and one of the few true Socialists in the Labour Party. A low point for me was Betty Heathfield, wife of Peter, General Secretary of the NUM, who was appealing for Women’s Support Groups to come down to London so they could hand a petition to that champion of the working classes, the Queen! I hope no one turns up!

The real moment of magic came when Kneel Kinnock stepped up to the microphone and made most of the crowd disappear, but not before they’d booed him loudly for his traitorous lack of support for miners and their families. The bastard is more concerned about getting Labour elected than he is about his core supporters, and he even had the nerve to criticise violence on the picket lines. I was glad to see people turn their backs on him and walk away, especially as this was the same man who only a year ago had got a standing ovation. Miners at least now see him for the soft reformist he is.

Anyway, despite the rain it was a good day out and the girls enjoyed playing with other kids whose dads were also on strike. I’m glad I took them.

26. Friday April 20th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

Well,here we are in Skegness, at the Derbyshire Miners Holiday Camp. Kath and I have been given a lovely bungalow close to the children’s dormitory.

The journey down was a bit uncomfortable because the minibus was a bit overcrowded, but our driver, Anne, was excellent and the journey only took five hours so it wasn’t too bad.

After registering we went to explore the camp and I was relieved to find that there is plenty to keep Kath and the girls occupied. Jennifer and Sasha are thoroughly enjoying themselves and have already made loads of new friends.I doubt they will sleep much because the dormitory was full of noisy kids when I looked in at 10.30pm. As long as they are happy, that’s the only thing that matters, and  it will allow Kath and me to have some time to ourselves and that is very important just now because the strike is beginning to cause us problems. Hopefully this weekend will help us to sort things out.

We spent the evening having a drink with Dave and Jean Farham, and meeting people. This is the big weekend for the SWP and it was great to see so many friendly people.I was pleased to meet Jim Tierney again because I met him up in Scotland the other week and we have a mutual friend in Stuart Hepburn.

The programme for the weekend looks excellent and I am really looking forward to seeing Paul Foot of the Daily Mirror speak.

We’re having an early – ish night and Kath is having a bath so roll on tomorrow.