British ex-construction worker actor Ricky Tomlinson on the government’s Shrewsbury 24 scandal

This video from Britain says about itself:

21 November 2012

Ricky Tomlinson addresses the West Midlands AGM [of the NAUWT trade union] about the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, including details of his time in prison.

By Peter Lazenby and Conrad Landin in Britain:

‘Just the Tip of the Iceberg’

Saturday 12th December 2015

Tomlinson: Tories must follow Burnham’s lead and admit the reality of the Shrewsbury 24’s show trial

NEW revelations of the government’s conspiracy to frame the Shrewsbury pickets are just “scratching the surface,” Ricky Tomlinson says in the Star today.

In an interview with the Morning Star, the actor and political activist jailed after the 1972 builders’ strike suggests that still more shocking details would reach the public’s eyes if secret documents were published.

On Wednesday, we reported how new information exposed by shadow home secretary Andy Burnham revealed that the government conspiracy to frame and jail the strikers went right to the top — including Tory prime minister Edward Heath.

The plot involved the secret services, senior police officers, telephone tapping and even government complicity in a TV programme which [was] shown the evening before the jury retired to consider their verdict.

“It was a show trial. We were whipping boys,” Royle Family actor Mr Tomlinson, who served 16 months of a two-year sentence, told the Star yesterday.

Now senior MPs are linking the cover-up to Establishment white-washes of the Hillsborough tragedy and paedophile gangs in north Wales.

Stubborn Tories refuse to release documents on the scandal until 2021, citing “national security” concerns — but most of the 24 strikers accused of conspiracy could be dead by then.

Six strikers were jailed, including Mr Tomlinson and his comrade Des Warren, who later died of Parkinson’s disease attributed to his jailers’ regular use of a “chemical cosh” — a cocktail of drugs used to tranquillize prisoners.

The arrest and prosecution of the workers followed a successful 12-week strike during which pickets targeted construction sites across the country.

But Mr Tomlinson said the government was determined to make an example of the strikers as a warning to more powerful groups of workers — particularly the miners — hence the prosecutions.

“What is coming out now about telephones being tapped we have known for a long time,” he said.

One aspect of events still to be explained is why human rights group Amnesty International dropped Mr Tomlinson and Mr Warren as prisoners of conscience.

“Amnesty was put under huge pressure by the Labour Party to drop us,” Mr Tomlinson told us. It had never happened before to anyone else.

“There is still so much more to come out. We are just scratching the surface.”

Other revelations have shown that witness statements containing “inconvenient” evidence were destroyed.

Mr Tomlinson said police had originally asked him to be a prosecution witness.

“How could I?” he said. “I was a leader of the strike. The whole thing stank from day one.”

In Parliament on Wednesday, Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram identified a pattern in Establishment cover-ups throughout the 1970s and ’80s.

“That goes through from 1971, possibly through (the alleged secret service plot to destabilise Labour PM Harold) Wilson, through the miners’ strike and possibly ending up with Hillsborough,” he said.

“There are so many similarities with the Establishment deciding what was right for the country and covering things up.”

Fellow Labour MP John Mann told the Star yesterday: “There are direct links between the Shrewsbury 24 and evidence given to the police recently about child abuse in the Chester and north Wales area.”

He told MPs last month that documents linked to ex-MI6 deputy director George Kennedy Young “would be of interest to anyone campaigning on the Shrewsbury pickets and on infiltration of the miners’ strike.”

5 thoughts on “British ex-construction worker actor Ricky Tomlinson on the government’s Shrewsbury 24 scandal

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