Monday, 6 July 2009

Shrewsbury 24 Papers Not Released

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12:  Actor Ricky Tomli...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The 'Shrewsbury 24' were a group of union members who were involved in trying to maintain the national strike whch hit the building industry in 1972. Among the demands of the strike were a 35 hour week and an end to the 'lump', a way of employers avoiding financial and health and safety aspects for the workforce.

In a clearly political move the Tory government made an example of 24 unuion members, known as the 'Shrewsbury 24' and had them arrested and sent to trial on charges of affray, unlawful assembly and conspiracy. Two of the 24, Des Warren and Eric ( Ricky ) Tomlinson were convicted of conspiracy and sent to prison. Des Warren died in 2004 from drug-induced Parkinson's, caused by the use of the 'chemical cosh' whilst in prison. Ricky Tomlinson was subsequently blacklisted upon his release and denied his trade but has managed to carve a career as an actor and comedian.

For a long time there has been a call for the files involved in this case to be released but this has always been refused. Even recently with a request under the Freedom of Information Act the Home Secretary 'Justice' Jack Straw refused to release them under grounds of national security.

Last Saturday there was a march and rally in support of the 24 organised by the Shropshire and Telford Trades Council.

Much more over at A Very Public Sociologist: Marching with the Shrewsbury 24

Quite what could be a threat to national security in the papers relating to these obviosuly political show trials is beyond my ken. My suspicion would be wrong doing and law breaking by the justice system. One day we will know, and our memories will not have faded.

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  1. Good on the lads who attended, Tomlinson has behaved admirably over this from the day he came out of Jail. It would be interesting to read these censored papers, [Fuck using the word redacted, lets call it what it is]

    I wonder if this censorship has anything to do with the 1974-79 Labour government, as there was a massive Labour Movement campaign back then to get these men pardoned etc which the LP Gov refused to do.

  2. No redaction because Jack Straw has refused to release them under the national security opt-out in the FOI Act. Although quite what the national security angle is I don't know.


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