From the TUC

National security, my arse! A new blow to justice for the Shrewsbury 24

14 Feb 2013, By

Des Warren, Ricky Tomlinson and supporters

The fight for redress for the 24 pickets who were prosecuted five months after the first national building workers strike in 1972 has hit a ridiculous new setback.

I was one of those building workers, and was given a two year prison sentence,for my part in the dispute. I, and the others who were prosecuted, believe that government files about our case are still being held secret as they’ll show there was senior government interference involved in getting charges against us that should never have been brought.

In the latest development, the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has told the campaign that we’re going to have to wait longer to see the crucial evidence that we need – A lot longer. Apparently his predecessor Kenneth Clark gave approval back in December for the records of the cases against us to stay secret, under the exemptions in section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act.

The information covering the Shrewsbury Trials won’t now be released to the public until at least 31st December 2021. This means that in the interest of ‘national security’ they’re going to continue to withhold crucial documents. The next review of the situation will now take place a ludicrous 50 years after we were prosecuted.

But we simply don’t have that time to wait. I reckon that given our ages, which stretch from 65 to 85, the government are just playing a cynical waiting game. They’re banking on us all dying off, just so they aren’t embarrassed by the documents that we believe are going to prove we were victims of a serious miscarriage of justice.

If we’re right, I can see why they’d want to hush it up. But we were no danger to ‘national security’ back in 1972, and we sure as anything aren’t 40 years on.

I’ve sponsored an e-petition, with the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, calling on the government to release the documents now, while we are still alive to see the reasons for what happened to us back in 1972. Getting the issue out in Parliament could be crucial to letting the light of day into the government archives.

Please sign our e-petition

 

GUEST POST: Ricky Tomlinson is an actor, comedian and activist, famous for roles including Jim Royle in The Royle Family and Bobby Grant in Brookside.

5 Responses to National security, my arse! A new blow to justice for the Shrewsbury 24

  1. Steve Barley
    Feb 14th 2013, 5:12 pm

    I protested along with others in the 70s why has justice for these men taken so long.

  2. Michael Houlihan
    Feb 14th 2013, 10:01 pm

    I was one of those involved in that dispute and a friend of both Ricky Tomlinson and the late Dessie Warren RIP. The view, which I still hold, is that the Police hierarchy & the Gov’t colluded in dredging up an archaic conspiracy law, a catch all, in order that the judiciary could hand down severe sentences to those who were charged. It is little wonder that the present Gov’t will not release the records of that conspiracy of their making as it would clearly show the extent to which they went, and would still go to thwart the aspirations of working men. We must not let the matter rest there.

  3. Carol Wood
    Feb 15th 2013, 7:17 am

    This is crazy. The only reasons they are stopping this is if there is indeed government intervention.

  4. sharon finn
    Feb 19th 2013, 11:35 am

    You and I know these men are innocent, we must continue to fight their injustice to clear their names.United we stand let’s go public all the way.

    Tommy Finn and family

  5. Oliver Dorman
    Feb 23rd 2013, 4:30 pm

    There is no “national security” issue involved here and all files related to the dispute should available now. Of course, the reason they are not is because the government has something to hide. It is yet another example of the way this government is closing down democracy in Britain and it must be chucked out of office a.s.a.p. That means organising the labour, movement now to do so.