Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2007

Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets

WELL KNOWN actor and former industrial militant, Ricky Tomlinson, spoke at the highly successful Campaign for a New Workers' Party meeting in Liverpool on 12 February. A few weeks earlier Ricky had spoken at a meeting of nearly 200 trade unionists, mainly ex-building workers, assembled in Shotton.

Roy Farrar

This small North Wales industrial town was the scene of some of the trials of pickets who became known as the Shrewsbury 24 - to commemorate the workers' struggle during the 1972 national building workers' strike.

This meeting, organised by a re-vitalised Campaign for Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets, was addressed by Arthur Scargill and by Ricky Tomlinson, one of the pickets.

Ricky related how he, Des Warren, and others who played a leading role during the strike were arrested after being 'fitted up' under the 1875 Conspiracy Act. The only real conspiracy was the one that took place between the employers, the Tory government and the state (particularly the judiciary).

The fact that one of the 24 accused was actually in hospital on the dates when the meetings of the alleged "conspirators" were supposed to have taken place was no bar to being prosecuted! Why let the facts get in the way of a "convenient frame-up?"

You could hear a pin drop as Ricky gave a harrowing and moving description of the fate of his friend and comrade Des Warren. Des had his life cut short by the state as result of persistent use of the 'liquid cosh' on him whilst in prison. Des Warren's doctor told him that the Parkinson's disease he suffered from was caused by 'therapy' he was given in prison.

"Because of his (Des's) and Ricky Tomlinson's insistence that they were political prisoners, they were persecuted by the prison authorities", says the 2007 preface to the reprinted pamphlet Shrewsbury: Whose Conspiracy?, written by Des in 1977.

Arthur Scargill, leader of the mineworkers during the momentous 1984/85 strike, gave further evidence of how the state apparatus acted on behalf of the ruling class regardless of whether Tory or Labour governments were elected.

The release of the Pentonville Five (five trade unionists arrested during the 1972 dock strike), only came about because of the threat of a general strike and not through any legal pleadings. The meeting heavily applauded Arthur's statement that "New Labour were the Tories Mark 2."

The Campaign for Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets intends to hold meetings up and down the country to work to exonerate the Shrewsbury 24. It fully recognised the need to organise the now nearly one million building workers who, lacking trade union solidarity, suffer low wages, serious injury and death.

For info about the Campaign contact [email protected] or ring 07907 307835 for copies of the above-mentioned pamphlet and Campaign t-shirts available for 2 and 8 respectively.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 February 2007:

Bush & Blair: Get out of Iraq

Iraq 'surge' doomed to failure

Italy: Thousands march against US military base

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

No to Trident!

North Korea: Talks achieve new accord

Anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist? Read the socialist!

Socialist Students

Students can defeat fees

Another profit-making racket

Living in debt - with no advice

Defend further education

Socialist Party Congress

The politics of socialism

Socialist Party news and analysis

Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets

Children at the sharp end of British capitalism

Banking billionaires

Drug companies squeeze profits out of health

Hospitals crisis worsens

Fighting homophobia


Climate change - we have to act now

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

CWI world congress: How will new workers' parties be built?

Workplace news and analysis

Valentine's day protest

Unique Care workers plan more protests

Israeli postal workers storm trade union HQ


Home   |   The Socialist 22 February 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleHow militant trade unionism defeated the 1971 Industrial Relations Act

triangleGMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas

triangleStrike back for free education

triangleOnline workers' rally: Taking fight to the bosses

triangleScaffolders' strike continues

Ricky Tomlinson:

triangleWomen workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleNewcastle: Socialist Party defies ban to counter the far-right

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Getting the Socialist out in lockdown



President of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee


South Wales

Justice for Moyied Bashir



Tories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect



London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours


HM Revenue and Customs

HMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions


Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference - postering



W. Sussex children's centres on the chopping block


British Gas

GMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas



Liverpool Unite branch supports 'no cuts' budget strategy



Scottish TUSC election campaign launch



Coventry success building subscriptions



Save John Carroll Leisure Centre



Keep the fighting fund rushing in for a TUSC stand in May



Tories target universities in free speech shakedown

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021