I am currently away in Glasgow at my union conference representing the interests of some 500 souls. I doubt that many are awaiting with baited breath to discover the decisions I made on their behalf, I doubt many are aware of the uncertain future threatening the TSSA or that there is an alternative to the madness that presents itself as a government of the people for the people.
In the light of the saddening news with the first of no doubt many similar episodes, of someone deciding their own life is worthless in the face of austerity, I am at a loss why we aren’t on the streets to demand an end to the evil this government produces. What does it take for Britain 2013 to stand up and say no?
Social conscious is pilloried, the weak are castigated and portrayed as an undeserving underclass and no matter how bad the situation is, it can be exploited for profit, Lord Young was only just saying how good austerity was for business by keeping labour costs down. Here is chap who knows stuff, two years ago he told us we had never had it so good, compared to 2013 he was probably right.
We often look to the past for lessons to shape the future and the ruling classes are no different, they have learned from their losses and put plans, laws and procedures in place to keep the lower classes in place. One such lesson was given to us tonight by Eileen Turnbull who travelled from Liverpool to talk on the campaign for justice for the Shrewsbury 24. Ricky Tomlinson had been expected to talk to us but apparently he would rather have root canal work done than talk to a conference of transport workers. I wish him speedy recovery and advise him that Eileen was an inspired and captivating replacement.
Until recently I was pretty unaware of the Building Workers Strike of 1972. I was 10 years old at the time and my childhood memories are of power cuts and the four minute warning but I have learned of the injustice and the damned lies that transformed a demand for fair pay and safe working conditions into a conspiracy that led to imprisonment and blacklisting. I was privileged to attend a talk by Gerry Kelly at a trades council meeting where he outlined how he is still blacklisted from the construction industry 40 years after the dispute. I was disturbed to discover that in the 21st Century blacklisting is still determining who works and who doesn’t and that safety is being blamed for the lack of an upturn in the economy.
Hearing the plight of the Shrewsbury 24 demonstrated the lengths the fat cats are prepared to go to to get even and the lengths forty years later they are still prepared to go to to bury the truth. I am confused how a 12 week strike, four decades ago can be classed as a matter of national security and yet Chris Grayling refuses to release documents on those grounds.
The campaign and the E-petition have been well publicised, well you can’t lock up Jim Royale without it going unnoticed but it appears even now, despite the overwhelming evidence of injustice, someone isn’t playing fair and questions have been raised in Parliament over tampering with the petition. To this end the Shrewsbury 24 campaign is seeking to get the 100000 signatures the old fashioned way, on paper and I should imagine the image of a red faced Ricky Tomlinson carrying a huge box of signatures up Downing Street will be a whole lot more unpleasant than a foul mouthed toff on a push bike.
The petition can be downloaded from WWW.Shrewsbury24campaign.org.UK/