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?