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BLOOD_ SWEAT AND TEARS MINERS STRIKE 1984-85

VIEWS: 311 PAGES: 39

									SocialistLawyer
Magazine of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers I Number 52 G June 2009   £2.50




BLOOD,
SWEAT
AND
TEARS




                                                                      MINERS’
                                                                      STRIKE
                                                                      1984-85
                                                        Contents
   Haldane Society PO Box 57055
   London EC1P 1AF
   Website: www.haldane.org

                                                        Number 52                                        June 2009                           ISSN09543635
                                                        News & comment ................................................................................ 4
                                                        From Japan to the BBC & Gaza plus the regular column from Young Legal Aid Lawyers


  The Haldane Society was founded in 1930.
                                                        Is Turkey ready to play ball? ..................................14
                                                        Rachel Bird reports on the new pamphlet resulting from our delegation to Turkey
  It provides a forum for the discussion and
  analysis of law and the legal system, both
  nationally and internationally, from a socialist
                                                        MINERS’ STRIKE SPECIAL..............................16-27
                                                        Twenty-five years on, we look back on a year-long battle to save the pits
  perspective. It holds frequent public meetings
  and conducts educational programmes.
  The Haldane Society is independent of any
  political party. Membership comprises lawyers,
  academics, students and legal workers as well
  as trade union and labour movement affiliates.
  President: Michael Mansfield QC
  Vice Presidents:
  Kader Asmal, Louise Christian, Tess Gill,
  Helena Kennedy QC, Imran Khan, Kate Markus,
  Gareth Peirce, Michael Seifert, David Turner-
  Samuels, Professor Lord Wedderburn QC

  HALDANE SOCIETY ANNUAL
  GENERAL MEETING, OCTOBER 2008
  Students and legal practitioners crowded into
  the College of Law to hear Mike Mansfield QC,
  Haldane's President, give us a wide-ranging
  speech covering issues of climate change,
  recollections of the miners' strike, and an insight
  into events at the de Menezes inquest.
     We passed motions supporting trade
  unionists and lawyers in Colombia, supporting
  Hicham Yezza's fight against deportation and
  expressing our concern at reports of torture of
  detainees in Egypt.
     The full list of officers and executive members




                                                                                                                                                                                           Picture: John Sturrock
  elected for 2008 – 2009 is as follows:
  Chair: Liz Davies (lizdavies@riseup.net)
  Vice-Chairs: Kat Craig (katherinec@
  christiankhan.co.uk) and Anna Morris
  (annam@gclaw.co.uk)
  Secretary: Marcus Joyce
  (marcusrjoyce@hotmail.com)
  Socialist Lawyer Editor:
  Kat Craig (katherinec@christiankhan.co.uk)            1968: Northern Ireland ..........................................................28
  Treasurer: Declan Owens                               Eamonn McCann’s lecture to the Haldane Society on the Civil Rights movement
  (declanowens@hotmail.com)
  Membership Secretary:                                 ‘If not me: who?’......................................................................................30
  Dave Renton (davidkrenton@googlemail.com)             Kat Craig reports from a meeting to commemorate the murder of Rosemary Nelson
  International Secretary: Bill Bowring
  (b.bowring@bbk.ac.uk)                                 Gaza: a woman’s story ..........................................................32
  Executive Committee:                                  The testimony of a Palestinian woman who lived through the horror in Gaza
  John Beckley, Adrian Berry, Dale Brook,
  Justine Compton, Rheian Davies,                       Obituaries ..............................................................................................................34
  Michael Goold, Margaret Gordon,                       Haldane members pay tribute to Steve Cohen and Paul O’Higgins
  Richard Harvey, John Hobson,
  Shakawat Hossain, Marcus Joyce,
  Catrin Lewis, Chris Loxton, Stephen Marsh,
                                                        Reviews ......................................................................................................................36
                                                        Books and films get the eagle eye of Haldane members
  Rob Murthwaite, Marcela Navarette,
  Carlos Orjuela, Tim Potter, Ripon Ray,                Editor: Kat Craig Assisted by: Liz                                              Printed by: The Russell Press
  Brian Richardson, Hannah Rought-Brooks,               Davies, Declan Owens, Tim Potter
  Paul Smith, Kezia Tobin, Nick Toms,                   and Farah Wise
  Camille Warren, Rebekah Wilson,
                                                        Many thanks to all our other contributors
  Charles Wright, Azam Zia
                                                        who have helped with this issue


2 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                          fromthechair



Better to have fought...

T
             wenty-five years ago, the miners’ strike was in full swing.
             The strike was declared on 12th March 1984, after the
             National Coal Board had announced the closure of five
             pits. Miners in Yorkshire were already on strike. They
             were rapidly joined by miners from Scotland, Kent, South
             Wales and Lancashire. The mining communities in
Nottinghamshire were split: some went on strike, others remained at
work and set up the scab Union of Democratic Miners. The year-
long miners’ strike was one of the most significant, and tragic,
events in labour movement and Labour Party history. Its implica-
tions remain today.
    As Michael Seifert, John Hendy QC and David Hopper describe in
these pages, the strike was deliberately provoked by Thatcher’s gov-
ernment, intent on destroying the mighty National Union of




                                                                                                                                                        Picture: John Sturrock
Mineworkers. The grassroots labour movement rose to the chal-
lenge. Support for the miners dominated the lives of labour
movement activists. Every Saturday, in every town in the
country, collectors could be seen rattling tins, wearing
‘Coal not Dole’ stickers, raising money, and food, from
the public. Arthur Scargill, Peter Heathfield and other
miners’ leaders received standing ovations wherever
they spoke. But the equivocation of Neil Kinnock,                                    up Women Against Pit Closures: the first time a women’s
leader of the Labour Party, and Norman Willis, General                              group had been set up in solidarity with their striking hus-
Secretary of the TUC, meant that the NUM was isolated.                            bands and family members (women were prohibited from
The miners needed other trade unions to come out on strike                     being miners). Some members of WAPC became national figures,
in solidarity. Had they done so, history would have been different.        travelling the country and speaking to packed meetings. Pragna
    The strike saw a level of policing, and of media manipulation, that    Patel describes the solidarity shown by black and Asian communities
set a precedent for the next 25 years. The ‘battle for Orgreave’ was       in Southall and elsewhere. Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners led
one of the most bloody encounters: Mike Mansfield QC describes the         to the miners subsequently supporting the campaign against the
militarised police operation in June 1984. His description of uniden-      homophobic Clause 28. Until then, the received wisdom was that
tified police officers (concealing their numbers) in snatch squads,        the stalwarts of the labour movement, particularly manual workers
using long and short shields and police dogs to attack a peaceful          such as the miners, would be hostile to liberation movements involv-
picket, and to ‘kettle’ the miners, will ring bells with anyone who        ing race, sex or sexuality.
attended the recent G20 protests. Police roadblocks from 25 years              The Government’s strategy to break the strike included trying to
ago will be familiar today to the Fairford protesters, and to protesters   tie up the NUM in court, and using the criminal law to criminalise strik-
outside the DSEi arms fair.                                                ing miners. As a result, the miners needed lawyers and Haldane
    The BBC coverage of Orgreave was shown backwards, so that it           Society members rose to the challenge. John Hendy QC is standing
appeared as though the miners were attacking the police rather than        counsel to the NUM. He describes the litigation against the NUM:
the other way around, and permitted the Government to portray the          challenges to the decision not to hold a ballot, injunctions against pick-
miners as mindless thugs. Mike Mansfield writes how independent            eting, receivership, sequestration, and the later false accusations
film-makers at Orgreave recorded the ‘battle’ and their films exposed      that Scargill and Heathfield were personally corrupt. Michael Seifert’s
the BBC’s falsehoods. In 2009, it was only the filming of the police       firm was the most high-profile in its support, sending solicitors Louise
by protesters, independent media and bystanders that revealed that         Christian, Sarah Burton, Jim Nichol, Jane Deighton, Gracia Stephenson,
Ian Tomlinson had been brutally attacked by an unidentifiable police-      Steve Cottingham and others to Mansfield to provide free representa-
man, tooled up in riot gear.                                               tion to miners through a law centre. Plenty of other Haldane Society
    In the midst of police violence, media hostility and myth-making,      members were also involved. Courts sat through the night. Despite the
a scab union, endless legal wrangling and poverty (striking miners         tragic circumstances, it was probably the Haldane Society’s finest
were denied welfare benefits and the NUM’s resources were seques-          hour in recent years.
trated), it is extraordinary that miners and their supporters can look         The Haldane Society will pay tribute to our comrades, the striking
back to 1984-1985 as one of the best years of their lives. David           miners, and to our members who provided representation and soli-
Hopper, secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association and one of the         darity, at our summer party on 23rd July (see back page).
leaders of the strike, says the strike made him a better person. The       G Liz Davies, chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
diversity of support was breathtaking. Women in mining families set        lizdavies@riseup.net


                                                                                                              Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 3
                                           News&Comment


                                            Society must
                                            back Anwar
                                                       hree judges sitting at


                                            T          Edinburgh High Court
                                                       ruled last July that
                                                       Glasgow lawyer Aamer
                                            Anwar did not commit contempt
                                            of court in statements he made
Picture: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk




                                            following the conviction for
                                            ‘terrorism’ of his client
                                            Mohammed Atif Siddique (see
                                            Socialist Lawyer 50). The Haldane
                                            Society believes that the right of
                                            lawyers to speak in the sort of
                                            terms used by Aamer Anwar is an
                                            essential protection both for
                                            individuals who find themselves
                                            accused of crimes and for society
                                                                                        Thousands marched in support of Gaza, millions identified with the suffering and willingly gave money. The BBC…
                                            at large. Unfortunately, the Law
                                            Society of Scotland has so far failed
                                            dismally to stand up for that right.
                                            Instead of defending Aamer                 Timid BBC ignored plight of Gaza people
                                            Anwar, it is conducting an
                                            investigation into whether he                        he BBC’s stubborn                    Director general Mark                  Government but laid to waste the
                                            breached the Solicitors’ Code of
                                            Conduct. It appears that the
                                            Society initiated this investigation
                                            without any complaint having
                                            been received from the public or
                                                                                       T         refusal to broadcast an
                                                                                                 appeal by the Disasters
                                                                                                 Emergency Committee
                                                                                       (DEC) provided a shameful
                                                                                       postscript to Israel’s murderous
                                                                                                                                  Thompson justified the decision
                                                                                                                                  by saying: ‘After looking at all of
                                                                                                                                  the circumstances, and in
                                                                                                                                  particular after seeking advice
                                                                                                                                  from senior leaders in BBC
                                                                                                                                                                             BBC careers of its director
                                                                                                                                                                             general Greg Dyke and chair
                                                                                                                                                                             Gavin Davies. The BBC is
                                                                                                                                                                             obsessed with avoiding such
                                                                                                                                                                             criticism again by showing that
                                            the profession. Philip Yelland,            assault on Gaza at the end of              Journalism, we concluded that              its reporting is ‘even-handed’.
                                            director of standards at the Law           January. Lay people could be               we could not broadcast a free-             The BBC was seemingly
                                            Society of Scotland, said in               forgiven for thinking that the             standing appeal, no matter how             frightened by the thought that
                                            February that, ‘following the              corporation was precluded from             carefully constructed, without             viewers might interpret the
                                            comments from the High Court of            showing the appeal because of              running the risk of reducing               broadcast as support for the
                                            Justiciary judges… the Law Society         some legal restriction perhaps             public confidence in the BBC’s             Palestinians against Israel. The
                                            has been carrying out an                   related to its unique position as          impartiality in its wider coverage         argument is specious on a
                                            investigation in accordance with           the UK’s public service                    of the story.’                             number of grounds, not least
                                            normal procedures’.                        broadcaster. However the truth is              The reality is that the decision       because it insults the intelligence
                                                The Law Society’s handling of          that there is no such limitation.          regarding the DEC appeal is                of its audience. Few people will
                                            Anwar’s case is undermining the            Moreover in the midst of                   illustrative of the timidity that has      have been in any doubt that the
                                            independence of solicitors in              widespread public anger, even the          gripped the BBC since 2004 when            money was intended to relieve the
                                            Scotland and the confidence placed         International Development                  Lord Hutton published his                  plight of ordinary Palestinians
                                            in the legal profession by the             Secretary, Douglas Alexander,              disgraceful report into the death          rather than being destined for the
                                            public, who are entitled to                was moved to argue that the                of the Ministry of Defence                 coffers of Hamas, the elected
                                            representation by a solicitor who          BBC’s bosses should reconsider             scientist Dr David Kelly which             government of Gaza.
                                            will represent their interests. I          their decision.                            largely exonerated the                     G Brian Richardson


                                            February
                                            5: The Government is             18: Three solicitors are              23: Lord Carlile, the          24: Israel has paid £1.5           24: David Cameron says the
                                            accused by a scathing High       suspended for deliberately            independent reviewer of        million in damages to the          sole focus of the Home Office
                                            Court ruling of hiding behind    breaking their code of practice by    anti-terror laws, asks Home    family of James Miller – a         under a Tory government
                                            claims of a threat to national   making £ 32 million in fees from      Secretary to enable            British cameraman shot by an       would be to tackle crime,
                                            security to suppress             miners’ compensation claims. A        computer hacker Gary           Israeli soldier while filming a    pledging a tougher approach
                                            evidence of torture by the       tribunal ruled that the partners at   McKinnon (who has              documentary in Gaza in 2003        than of David Davis. New
                                            CIA on Binyam Mohamed, a         Raleys in Barnsley, South Yorkshire   Asperger’s Syndrome) to be     – his family accepting the         Shadow Home Secretary
                                            British resident in              took a deliberate and calculated      prosecuted in the UK rather    payment saying it was as           Chris Grayling will not be
                                            Guantánamo Bay.                  risk and showed conduct               than face extradition and      close to an admission of guilt     making civil liberties one of his
                                                                             unbefitting of their profession.      serve a jail term in the US.   as they were ever likely to get.   priorities.


                                           4 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                              News&Comment

                                                                                  dismissal. Any employment                result of the recession.
                                         Claims up                                lawyer worthy of the name will go
                                                                                  on to tell any prospective claimant
                                                                                                                               But tribunal claims were
                                                                                                                           already on the rise well before the
                                         before losses                            however, that the employee almost
                                                                                  never gains as much remedy in
                                                                                                                           worst of the job losses; and have
                                                                                                                           increased from 115,039 in 2005-
                                                                                  damages as they would have been          2006 to 132,600 in 2006-7 and
                                                   he recession’s effects are     paid had they remain in post.            189,300 in 2007-8: a rise of sixty


                                         T         becoming clear with
                                                   unemployment rising
                                                   amidst massive job
                                         losses. Companies are also notably
                                         declaring cuts in pay and hours,
                                                                                      As a result of the introduction
                                                                                  of a new procedure, which has
                                                                                  latterly been revealed to be more
                                                                                  cock-up than conspiracy, The
                                                                                  Tribunal Service has this year
                                                                                                                           per cent in two years, even before
                                                                                                                           the recession took hold.
                                                                                                                               Minded by the desire to avoid
                                                                                                                           large pay-outs, and assisted by the
                                                                                                                           inflexible statutory dispute
                                         often in agreements with                 taken to announcing the figures          resolution procedures (which are
                                         workforces supposedly to limit           for new employment claims 12             being fazed out from 6th April
                                         redundancies.                            months after the end of the              2009, but which previously
                                            An employment lawyer will tell        financial year. (Previously the gap      rewarded the worst employers by
                                         you that where an employer               was ‘just’ six months; and there is      making it more difficulty for
                                         reduces an employee’s pay, this          no obvious reason why the delay          workers to bring claims), a
                                         will almost always be regarded as        should be more than a few weeks).        number of employers have been
                                         a fundamental breach of the              This means we are a year away            adopting sharp commercial
                                         employment contract, giving the          from knowing how many                    practices which would seem to
                                         employee the potential option of         additional employment claims             operate at the edges of the law.
                                         resigning and claiming unfair            there have been in 2008-2009 as a            In February, for example, The
                                                                                                                           Guardian named a high-street
Boost for ‘detention’ children’s campaign                                                                                  sports chain, which was seeking to
                                                                                                                           avoid its obligation to consult
                                                                                                                           collectively with its workers on
          arlier this year a             children’s rights. Giving further        have been overlooked. The code           redundancies (a duty which is


E         Congolese family were
          granted unprecedented
          compensation by the
Home Office for their unlawful
detention. The recent case
                                         credence to evidence that
                                         detaining children is harmful and
                                         damaging, it publicises the
                                         shortfalls of the UKBA in failing
                                         to follow its own policies.
                                                                                  does not acknowledge the
                                                                                  inherently harmful effects of
                                                                                  immigration detention, and is far
                                                                                  from transparent with regard to
                                                                                  how it is to be implemented and
                                                                                                                           triggered to different extents
                                                                                                                           depending on the number of job
                                                                                                                           losses), by declaring that each of
                                                                                                                           its stores was a separate business.
                                                                                                                               Think also of the cleaning
represents a milestone for those             In 2008 the Government               enforced.                                company whose head of personnel
campaigning against the harmful          demonstrated its commitment to              Children detained under               was contacted in December 2008.
effects of detention on children.        upholding children’s rights with         immigration powers are the only          ‘We have taken a decision and
The family, with a one year old          the removal of its immigration           children in the UK who can be            communicated it to all our stores’,
and an eight year old son, were          reservation on the UN                    detained without any judicial            she told. ‘No one is being made
detained for two months at Yarl’s        Convention on the Rights of the          oversight and without                    redundant.’ The caseworker asked
Wood Immigration Removal                 Child. The Home Office has               committing any crime. They are           the manager concerned to
Centre near Bedford. The case            further affirmed this commitment         often taken from their homes             investigate the case of a worker
resulted in a settlement, with the       through the introduction, earlier        during dawn raids, compounding           who was sat with them and had
Home Office admitting that the           this year, of a Code of Practice for     the stress and fear of an already        just been told she was dismissed.
detention was unlawful, and a            Keeping Children Safe From               horrific experience. Research            Ten minutes later, the head of
payout to the family of £150,000.        Harm. The code applies to staff          shows that children who are              personnel rang back. ‘You need to
Thought to be the largest payout         and contractors of the UKBA and          detained suffer from anxiety and         explain to her very carefully. We’re
of its kind, the case highlights the     is intended to safeguard children        stress as a direct result of their       not sacking her. We’ve just taken a
gross inefficiencies of the UK           under immigration control,               incarceration. Of the 2,000 or so        decision for the time being to
Border Agency (UKBA) and its             whether in or outside detention.         children detained every year, 40         reduce her hours to zero.’
failure to protect and safeguard         However some vital concerns              per cent go on to be released. I         David Renton


                                                                  March
24: Government report to         25: Justice Secretary Jack       9: Probation service union   13: Britain is condemned by a      13: Courts are handing out
mark the 10th anniversary of     Straw uses his veto powers       Napo warns that 2,500        highly critical United Nations     more prison sentences and
the MacPherson report into the   under the Freedom of             jobs will be lost over the   report for breaching basic         fewer cautions to people who
death of Stephen Lawrence        Information Act to stop the      next three years because     human rights and ‘trying to        illegally carry a knife. Ministry of
says that police have fallen     publcation of Cabinet minutes    of budget cuts of between    conceal illegal acts’ in the so-   Justice figures show that the
short on key areas of reform     about the invasion of Iraq, on   13 and 25 per cent, which    called ‘war on terror’ and         number of people jailed was up
demanded by the original         the grounds that it would        could result in 300,000      accuses intelligence officers of   from 1,125 to 1,386 in the last
inquiry; stop-and-search,        undermine democratic             extra crimes being           interviewing detainees in so-      three months of 2008
recruitment and retention of     decision-making!                 committed each year.         called ‘safe houses’ in Pakistan   compared with the year before.
ethnic minority officers.                                                                      where they were being tortured.


                                                                                                                        Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 5
                                           News&Comment


                                            Is Trevor right: the Met no
                                            longer ‘institutionally racist’?
                                                       he chair of the Equality     term to describe the challenges


                                            T          and Human Rights
                                                       Commission (EHRC),
                                                       Trevor Phillips, caused a
                                            slight media storm in February
                                            when he reportedly declared that
                                                                                    that persist. If Phillips’s assertions
                                                                                    are true, it is surely legitimate to
                                                                                    call into question the maturity of
                                                                                    those bodies and the continued
                                                                                    employment of individuals who
                                            the Metropolitan Police Service         either stubbornly refuse, or are
                                            (MPS) were no longer                    incapable of providing, what
                                            institutionally racist. His             Macpherson characterised as ‘an
                                            comments were made on the eve           appropriate and professional
                                            of the 10th anniversary of the          service’ to all members of society.
Picture: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk




                                            publication of the Stephen                  There are, however, a number
                                            Lawrence Inquiry Report and             of more fundamental reasons to
                                            were widely reported as having          object to Phillips’s assertion.
                                            provided the organisation that          Firstly, it undermines the
                                            had been most damningly                 perspective and activities of the
                                            criticised in Sir William               representative bodies for black
                                            Macpherson’s report, with a clean       police officers. The recruitment,
                                            bill of health.                         retention and promotion of black
                                                In actual fact, what Phillips       officers were key
                                            said was far more challenging.          recommendations of the
                                            For example he specifically stated      Lawrence Report yet, by the end            In 2008 black people were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than
                                            that he does not believe that           of 2008, the Metropolitan Black
                                            ‘institutional racism as it was         Police Association (BPA) was so           Rollock), suggests that on a                   Sadly, this lack of progress is
                                            described in the Stephen                disillusioned by what it termed a         number of measures the                     not restricted to the police force.
                                            Lawrence Inquiry Report has             ‘hostile atmosphere where racism          predicament of black civilians is          In the wider criminal justice
                                            been obliterated’. However, it is       is allowed to spread’ that it took        worse than a decade ago.                   system, black offenders are five
                                            implausible to suggest that he was      out a series of advertisements            Disproportionate levels of stop            times more likely to be imprisoned
                                            simply misquoted or made a slip         which ‘actively discouraged’              and search were identified as one          than those from white
                                            of the tongue. Phillips is a highly     potential black recruits from             of the “iconic” concerns of black          communities. Elsewhere in
                                            experienced media executive who         joining the MPS. This came in the         communities at the Stephen                 Macpherson’s report, educational
                                            knows how to capture the                wake of a series of disciplinary          Lawrence Inquiry. In turn, a               exclusion and under-achievement
                                            headlines with a provocative turn       and tribunal hearings involving           commitment to replacing what               were identified as critical concerns
                                            of phrase.                              the MPS’s two most senior black           was regarded as a blunt                    among black communities.
                                                His particular concern is that      officers: Commander Ali Dizaei,           instrument with more intelligence-         Consequently the then
                                            institutional racism is ‘too            the national chair of the BPA, and        led policing was a principal               Department for Education and
                                            incendiary’ a term to ensure the        Assistant Commissioner Tarique            recommendation and one which               Employment undertook to drive
                                            genuine engagement and                  Ghaffur. The latter ultimately            was accepted by the Home Office            through change. Yet today black
                                            commitment to change of the             accepted a pay off from the MPS           in its subsequent action plan. Yet,        boys are still at least three times
                                            organisations that were targeted        in settlement of his tribunal claim.      in 2008, black people were seven           more likely to be excluded than
                                            by Macpherson’s report. Instead             Equally significantly, research       times more likely to be stopped            their white peers. Moreover, using
                                            of institutional racism therefore,      by, among others, the Runnymede           and searched than their white              official statistics, Professor David
                                            he suggested that ‘systemic bias’       Trust (The Stephen Lawrence               counterparts compared to six               Gillborn of the University of
                                            was a more accurate and helpful         Inquiry 10 Years On, Nicola               times in 1999.                             London’s Institute of Education

                                            March
                                            16: Azhar Khan, a 26-year-      16: An internal review has   18: New Met commissioner            18: Sean Hodgson walked free         20: Former Health Secretary
                                            old British man, alleges he     revealed the Met failed to   Sir Paul Stephenson leads 80        from prison after 27 years in jail   Patricia Hewitt believes mentally
                                            suffered appalling              investigate scores of rape   officers, a helicopter and the      when his murder conviction was       competent adults should be
                                            mistreatment in Egypt while     allegations because          media on a dawn raid of a           quashed. The Forensic Science        allowed to die and will table an
                                            being interrogaated on the      officers did not record      burglary suspect. Shame he’d        Service wrongly told defence         amendment to the Suicide Act.
                                            basis of information that, he   them as criminal offences    been arrested the day before        lawyers acting for him in 1998       ‘We need to change the law to
                                            says, can only have come from   but as crime related         by other police officers... while   that exhibits in his inquiry had     allow [the] terminally ill...,
                                            the UK. He was handcuffed,      incidents, meaning they      he was briefing his officers the    been destroyed, and wasn’t until     suffering at the end of their
                                            feet shackled, naked and had    were not investigated        suspect was being booked            last March that a new legal firm     lives, the choice of an assisted
                                            electric shock treatment.       properly.                    into custody.                       pushed for a new search.             death…’


                                           6 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                 News&Comment

                                             concept dreamt up by a retired
                                             judge. Rather it is a term packed
                                             with historical resonance amongst
                                                                                    Unison investigates its own
                                             black communities and race
                                             equality campaigners, and its
                                                                                    activists: what’s going on?
                                             acknowledgment by Macpherson
                                             was fought for and won by a                       hree recent internal          Militant).
                                             model coalition of forces, led by
                                             Doreen and Neville Lawrence
                                             who fought tenaciously to expose
                                             the truth about the rotten police
                                             investigation into their son’s
                                                                                    T          investigations in the
                                                                                               public sector workers’
                                                                                               union Unison have
                                                                                    raised complaints of political
                                                                                    motivation; in one case, it is
                                                                                                                                 The four Unison officers were
                                                                                                                             originally told that the cartoon
                                                                                                                             was racist. This allegation was
                                                                                                                             later dropped. As of March 2009
                                                                                                                             however, the four officers are still
                                             murder. Alongside them was a           alleged that the original complaint      facing the possibility of sanctions
                                             team of dedicated and determined       was motivated by racism.                 including expulsion from the
                                             lawyers including Michael                  In 2007, Tony Staunton, chair        union.
                                             Mansfield QC and Imran Khan.           of Unison’s Plymouth branch, was             The case of Newcastle
                                             Finally during the second part of      expelled from the union. He was          psychiatric nurse, Yunus Bakhsh,
                                             the inquiry, the wider concerns of     accused of various breaches of           is longer-running. Bakhsh is a
                                             black communities were                 Unison’s rules prohibiting political     former candidate for the position
                                             eloquently and passionately            campaigning using union                  of Unison General Secretary. He
                                             presented by community activists       resources. It was said that he had       was elected to Unison’s national
                                             and campaigns.                         downloaded a leaflet sent out by         executive and health service group
                                                 It appears that Phillips has       Socialist Worker onto a union            executive in 2006 with 86 per
                                             limited support for his views even     computer. Staunton complained            cent of the vote in the Northern
                                             among his own staff and                of double standards, since Unison        region. He is a member of the
                                             commissioners. As I write, the         regularly loans officers and             Socialist Workers Party, and an
                                             EHRC is mired in crisis having         resources to the Labour Party            advocate of strike action to
white people; in 1999 it was six times.      suffered three resignations in         during elections. Whilst                 protect members’ jobs. He has
                                             rapid succession among senior          suspended, he was prevented              criticised Unison’s funding of the
    suggested that at current rates of       officials and widespread               from running for election to the         Labour Party and spoken at
    progress, and assuming that the          speculation that others may            union’s national executive               meetings in solidarity with
    measure of attainment remains            follow. There is a suggestion that     committee. The Employment                countless local disputes. For many
    the same, it would take until 2054       Phillips’s attitude and closeness to   Appeal Tribunal has recently             years, he has been one of the
    before black pupils have closed          the New Labour Government has          found that his suspension should         highest-profile campaigners
    the gap with their white peers           been a key contributory factor in      not have been a bar to running for       against racism and fascism in the
    (Racism and Education –                  this loss of personnel.                office (Unison v Staunton [2009]         North East.
    Coincidence or Conspiracy, David             Lord Herman Ouseley,               UKEAT 0375).                                 In autumn 2006, Bakhsh was
    Gillborn, published by                   Phillips’s predecessor as chair of         In September 2007, four              joint branch secretary of Unison’s
    Routledge). Not surprisingly             the Commission for Racial              Unison officers, Brian Debus,            North of Tyne health branch and
    therefore they are twice as likely       Equality, is right to suggest that a   Onay Kasab, Glen Kelly and               employed by the
    to be unemployed than their              timid approach to the                  Suzanne Muna, were investigated          Northumberland Tyne and Wear
    erstwhile classmates. All of this is     enforcement of equality is bound       by the union for producing a             NHS Trust. In September 2006,
    despite the introduction of              to fail. It was tenacity that forced   leaflet criticising the union            the Trust received an anonymous
    legislation, the Race Relations          institutional racism onto the          conference’s standing orders             letter accusing him of
    (Amendment) Act 2000, which              political agenda in 1999. It will      committee. The leaflet likened the       intimidating female workers. It
    was meant to establish a                 require a similar approach rather      members of the committee to the          started an investigation and
    framework for a ‘successful              than the adoption of bureaucratic      three wise monkeys who neither           invited employees to come
    multiracial Britain’.                    language and strategies to drive       see nor hear nor speak evil. The         forward as witnesses. Three were
       The truth is that institutional       through the change we need.            four are all members of the              permitted to give statements
                                                                                                                                                                 L




    racism was not simply a clever           Brian Richardson                       Socialist Party (formerly                anonymously. Those statements



    21: George Galloway MP          22: Parliamentary report    22: Muntazer al-Zaidi – the man    22: A report, Database State,    22: Home Secretary Jacqui
    is refused entry into           published by the Joint      who threw his shoe at George W     by the Joseph Rowntree Reform    Smith announces new
    Canada, deemed                  Committee on Human          Bush – was handed a three-year     Trust, says that 11 of the 46    60,000-strong civilian force,
    ‘inadmissible’ under section    Rights says laws intended   prison sentence for his ‘crime’.   biggest public sector database   including security guards at
    34(1) of the country’s          for counter-terrorism are   His relatives erupted in anger,    projects are fundamentally       shopping centres and hotel
    immigration act, which was      being misused in an         shouting that the decision was     flawed and clearly breach        workers, to tackle terrorism...
    designed to protect             increasingly heavy-handed   unjust and unfair. Others were     European data protection and
    Canadians from people           approach to policing        forcibly removed by security       human rights laws.
    who fund, support or            protests.                   forces as they shouted ‘down
    engage in terrorism.                                        with Bush’ and ‘long live Iraq’.


                                                                                                                           Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 7
News&Comment
L




   were not disclosed to Bakhsh in        remained to be decided. ‘You are         and asking for ‘dirt’ on him.
 advance of the disciplinary              facing no charges’, he wrote.            Stormfront members seemed to
 hearing. Bakhsh wrote to                 Three months later, the union            know all about the allegations
 management saying that the               told Bakhsh that he was barred           against Bakhsh, often in advance
 original letter stereotyped him as       from standing for office. Bakhsh         of the information having been
 an aggressive, black man, and the        successfully appealed his                disclosed to Bakhsh himself.
 complaint was motivated by               suspension to the Certification              After Bakhsh published his
 racism. The disciplinary hearing         Officer. However, Unison                 treatment by Unison, an
 took place in June 2008 in               subsequently appealed to the             investigation was ordered into
 Bakhsh’s absence (due to illness).       Employment Appeal Tribunal,              Kerry Cafferty’s conduct. She
 He was dismissed but is                  which has upheld Bakhsh’s                resigned from the union, thus
 appealing the decision.                  suspension (Unison v Bakhsh              aborting the investigation. Her
     When Bakhsh was suspended            [2009] UKEAT 0375).                      husband has resigned as regional
 in 2006, his Unison branch had               Eventually, Bakhsh was               chair but remains a branch
 voted unanimously against the            expelled from Unison, not for            secretary at the Trust, working
 suspension at a packed meeting           intimidation (the subject of the         full-time for Unison.
 for strike action. Almost                original complaint against him)              There is a pattern to this
 immediately, the branch was              but for breaches of the political        witch-hunt. All the victims are
 placed in regional administration,       fund.                                    leading activists and critics of the
 where it remains. It had been one            In the investigation which led       Unison leadership. They are all
 of the most dynamic branches in          to Bakhsh’s expulsion from               members of left-wing parties
 Unison, but its members have not         Unison, both Peter and Kerry             opposed to the Labour Party.
 had a chance to meet in three            Cafferty, who are married to             The reasons given for Bakhsh’s
 years. In January 2007, Bakhsh           eachother, were witnesses. Peter         ultimate expulsion from Unison
 was accused by Unison of                 Cafferty is a senior figure in           were strikingly similar to the
 bullying union members. He was           Unison’s Northern region and its         reasons for Tony Staunton’s               Sight for sore eyes: NUJ photographers
 suspended from all union                 Labourlink organisation. Both            expulsion.
 positions, pending an                    apparently denied that they were             But Bakhsh’s case is unique. It
 investigation.
     The initial union investigation
 took place in 2007. The
                                          motivated by racism.
                                              Over Christmas 2008, a friend
                                          introduced Bakhsh to Facebook.
                                                                                   is the first time that a leading
                                                                                   member of a union has been
                                                                                   expelled arising out of allegations
                                                                                                                             ‘I’m a photo
 investigating Unison officer wrote       There he found Kerry Cafferty’s          made by individuals willing to                        undreds of
 to Bakhsh telling him that the
 nature of the investigation


  Stopping the BNP
                                          profile. It showed that she had
                                          joined groups titled ‘England is
                                          our country... our rules, don’t like
                                          it fuck off!!’”, ‘NO MORE!
                                          Asylum seekers in Britai’”, and
                                                                                   associate online with supporters
                                                                                   of the BNP.
                                                                                       In January, 12 members of
                                                                                   Unison’s national executive
                                                                                   signed a motion calling on the
                                                                                                                          H              photographers staged a
                                                                                                                                         mass ‘I’m a
                                                                                                                                         Photographer, not a
                                                                                                                             Terrorist’ event outside New
                                                                                                                             Scotland Yard on 16th February,
  As we went to press, activists were     ‘Make Great Britain British              union to withdraw what the                to mark the enforcement date of
  campaigning hard to stop the BNP        again’. Other members of those           signatories described as an               section 76 of the Counter-
  winning seats in the European           groups were pictured wearing             ‘appeal to the Employment                 Terrorism Act 2008. Organised by
  elections on 4th June, mobilising       Nazi paraphernalia or giving             Appeal Tribunal in defence of a           the National Union of Journalists
  to ensure the fascists didn’t benefit   Nazi salutes. Some described             suspension which we now know              (NUJ), it aimed to highlight that
  from the disilusionment with main       themselves as members of the             was tainted by racism’. These             the new law could be invoked to
  parties caused by the recession         British National Party.                  members of the union’s executive          prevent the media and public from
  and the MPs’ scandal. Whatever              Bakhsh also found that from          also asked Unison to set in               taking pictures of the police.
  the results on 4th June, stopping       2005, members of the white               motion an independent                     There is growing evidence of
  the BNP will be a major task for all    supremacist website Stormfront           investigation into Bakhsh’s               restrictions on press freedom in
  socialists and progressives in          had been discussing him. They            suspension from the union.                the name of the fight against
  Britain in the immediate future.        had been referring to him as ‘this           Remarkably, the union has not         terrorism, despite the fact that
                                          nasty piece of immigrant stock’          yet agreed to do so. I                    senior police officers have

 March                                                                                                April
 23: Justice Secretary Jack       24: The Guardian               26: Foreign Secretary David          1: Thousands of          2: Questions are being raised
 Straw outlines new British       newspaper reveals detailed     MIliband gave a hint that the        anti-capitalist and      about the police tactics being
 Bill of Rights and               evidence of alleged war        long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq   anti-war protesters      used in London against G20
 Responsibilities, saying the     crimes committed by Israel     war will hear evidence in private    converged on             demonstrators in the wake of the
 bill ‘could’ entrench            during the 23-day offensive    when it is set up later this year.   London’s City            death of a man caught up in the
 economic rights and              earlier this year, involving   He spoke of the ‘advantage’ of       financial district       protests. The man who died was
 balance the Human Rights         the use of Paestinian          having one like the Franks           today to demonstrate     Ian Tomlinson, 47, who lived in the
 Act with responsibility and      children as human shields      inquiry (after the Falklands war)    ahead of the G20         City area and worked at a
 ‘end a me society as             and the targeting of medics    which was not a judicial inquiry     summit that starts       newsagent. He was on his way
 opposed to a we society’.        and hospitals.                 and was conducted in private.        tomorrow.                home when he collapsed.


8 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                 News&Comment

                                                                                      the Act would allow an individual
                                                                                      to be arrested for taking and
                                                                                      publishing a picture of a police
                                                                                                                                 Trespass law
                                                                                      officer if the police believe it is
                                                                                      ‘likely to be useful to a person
                                                                                                                                 abused by
                                                                                      committing or preparing an act of
                                                                                      terrorism’. A defence of
                                                                                      ‘reasonable excuse’ is available,
                                                                                                                                 Japanese
                                                                                      but the onus would of course be                 n January 2008, Greenpeace
                                                                                      on the defendant, and as yet it is
                                                                                      unclear what ‘excuse’ would be
                                                                                      accepted by a court.
                                                                                          Journalists fear this law will be
                                                                                      used to further target the media,
                                                                                                                                I     Japan commenced an
                                                                                                                                      investigation into claims,
                                                                                                                                      made by a whistleblower,
                                                                                                                                 that crew members of Japan’s
                                                                                                                                 whaling fleet have for many years
                                                                                      especially those who cover                 been embezzling prime whale
                                                                                      legitimate democratic protest and          meat and selling it for personal




                                                                                                                                                                          Picture: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk
                                                                                      public order situations.                   gain, with apparent official
                                                                                      Photographer Jess Hurd recently            connivance.
                                                                                      received an apology from the Kent              In April last year, Greenpeace
                                                                                      police for her treatment whilst            investigators removed from a
                                                                                      covering the Climate Camp                  courier depot one of four heavy
                                                                                      protest at Kingsnorth last summer.         boxes addressed to a crew
                                                                                      She was stopped and searched on            member, whose contents were
                                                                                      four occasions, had her press card         listed as ‘cardboard’. Inside, they
                                                                                      confiscated on the grounds that ‘it        found 23.5kg of salt-cured unesu
                                                                                      didn’t look authentic’, and was            or ‘whale bacon’, valued at up to
                                                                                      followed to a restaurant after             US$3,000. The whistleblower’s
                                                                                      photographing a violent arrest             claims were further corroborated
grapher, not a terrorist’                                                             and filmed through the window
                                                                                      by the police Forward Intelligence
                                                                                      Team.
                                                                                                                                 through further investigation and
                                                                                                                                 interviews. Greenpeace Japan
                                                                                                                                 presented its findings at a press
 previously recognised that there is      with detention under anti-                      More recently journalists              conference, and delivered the box
 no power to do so. The                   terrorism legislation for refusing          received an apology for the use of         of whale meat to the Tokyo
 Association of Chief Police              to reveal sources, and                      section 14 of the Public Order Act         District Prosecutor as evidence of
 Officers (ACPO) media guidelines         photographers are routinely                 at the G20 protests where media            an offence. The investigation
 state that: ‘Members of the media        impeded, harassed and monitored             were forced under threat of arrest         initiated by the Tokyo District
 have a duty to take photographs          by the police.                              to vacate the area around Bank             Prosecutor was suddenly dropped
 and film incidents and we have no            Section 76 of the Counter-              for 30 minutes. During the                 on 20th June, and on the same
 legal power or moral                     Terrorism Act 2008, which the               demonstrations photographers               day, the Greenpeace Japan offices
 responsibility to prevent or restrict    Police Federation has called ‘badly         were violently assaulted.                  and the homes of four staff
 what they record. It is a matter for     drafted’, provides that eliciting,              The NUJ’s general secretary,           members were searched by some
 their editors to control what is         publishing or communicating                 Jeremy Dear, said: ‘The police and         40 police officers, in full glare of
 published or broadcast, not the          information on members of the               the Home Office have made                  the media, who had been tipped
 police. Once images are recorded,        armed forces, intelligence services         repeated promises that officers            off. Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki,
 we have no power to delete or            and police officers which is ‘likely        will be properly trained to deal           two of the Greenpeace
 confiscate them without a court          to be useful to a person                    with photographers at                      investigators, were arrested and
 order, even if we think they             committing or preparing an act of           demonstrations but the problems            held for 26 days, during which
 contain damaging or useful               terrorism’ is an offence carrying a         keep on happening.’ The NUJ is             they were questioned daily for up
 evidence.’ However journalists           maximum 10 year custodial                   currently considering legal action         to eight hours, strapped to a
                                                                                                                                                                    L




 have been increasingly threatened        sentence. The broad powers under            against the police. I                      chair, without access to counsel



 5: Police claim that they had    6: As more videos and images         6: House of Commons              6: House of Commons             6: Parents with children up to
 no contact with Ian Tomlinson    emerge showing police violence,      Foreign Affairs Select           Foreign Affairs Select          the age of 16 will be able to
 prior to his death on the G20    the officer who violently shoved     Committee announce               Committee announce inquiry      request flexible working from
 protest. Yet video footage and   and hit Ian Tomlinson with a baton   inquiry into Britain’s role in   into Britain’s role in human    today, under a change in the
 photographs by protesters        has been suspended and has           human rights abuses,             rights abuses, examining        law. Employers are now
 and bystanders has shown         been questioned by the IPCC          examining involvement in         involvement in detention,       obliged to ‘seriously consider’
 that Ian was violently pushed    under caution on suspicion of        detention, transfer and          transfer and interrogation of   any application and only
 over by police as he tried to    manslaughter. He is a member of      interrogation of prisoners       prisoners held during the so-   reject it if there were ‘good
 walk home through the City       the Territorial Support Group        held during the so-called        called ‘war on terror’.         business reasons’ to do so.
 on 1st April.                    (TSG).                               ‘war on terror’.


                                                                                                                              Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 9
News&Comment
L




   – common practices in Japan,                                                                                                 But I was struck by the complete
 which have drawn repeated
 criticism from the UN Human
                                            The Congo: crimes against                                                           silence on the civilian deaths in
                                                                                                                                the DRC, at that time a much
 Rights Committee. Eventually,
 both men were charged with
                                            humanity continue                                                                   larger number. Not that this is a
                                                                                                                                numbers game to any victim or
 larceny of a box of whale meat                                                                                                 relative of the most serious crimes
 and trespass, and released subject                       hilst the world’s eyes     of crimes against humanity                 in international law.
 to strict bail conditions. The trial
 is expected later this year.
     The firm that operates Japan’s
 whaling fleet, claimed that its
 employees traditionally receive
                                            W             were peeled on the
                                                          atrocities in Gaza, in
                                                          the same week of
                                            the initial bombings by Israel in
                                            the Gaza Strip at least 189
                                                                                     perpetuated in this war.
                                                                                         Yet it was with some difficulty
                                                                                     that I found any news items on
                                                                                     these civilians subject to crimes
                                                                                     against humanity in the DRC. Al
                                                                                                                                    I felt disturbed that the deaths
                                                                                                                                of the civilians in the DRC seemed
                                                                                                                                to attract such limited comment.
                                                                                                                                Why the silence from all quarters
                                                                                                                                on such an important issue? The
 portions of whale meat as                  civilians were massacred in the          Jazeera did run a news item, but it        DRC is a huge country, at the
 ‘souvenirs’, and meat intercepted          ongoing civil war in the                 seems the rest of the world were           heart of Africa. It is a rich country
 by Greenpeace consisted of gifts           Democratic Republic of Congo             happy to remain silent. At the             with deposits, many of which we
 to several crew members. But the           (DRC).                                   beginning of the year, I was rightly       continue to use on a daily basis,
 defence team intends to bring a               A drop in the ocean perhaps to        bombarded with emails from                 whose limits we can only guess at.
 large body of evidence of                  the estimated four million that          NGOs, left-wing groups and                 A country over 10 times larger
 embezzlement to the attention of           have died in this 14 year war in         colleagues seeking ways to act             than Great Britain. A country that
 the court, including statements            the DRC but no less heinous,             and prevent further civilian deaths        was hacked to pieces by King
 from four inside informers, as             traumatic or tragic for the victims      in relation to the Gaza situation.         Leopold and now by those that
 part of a ‘justification’ defence to
 the charges of theft and trespass.
 They will also argue that the
 defendants’ actions were intended
 to expose wrongdoing and stir
                                            Binayak Sen: prisoner of conscience
 debate about research whaling,                        inayak Sen is an award-       recently, they worked with the            government’s private militia, the
 and as such, they were an exercise
 of the right to freedom of
 expression, which includes
 freedom to ‘seek’ and ‘receive’
 information, according to the
                                           B           winning paediatrician
                                                       and human rights
                                                       activist. He has also
                                            spent two years in jail in the
                                            central Indian state of
                                                                                     tribal people of Chhattisgarh,
                                                                                     running a weekly clinic providing
                                                                                     low-cost medical care, and
                                                                                     training local tribal youths to
                                                                                     become health workers.
                                                                                                                               Salwa Judum, have operated with
                                                                                                                               impunity and violence, resulting
                                                                                                                               in many civilian deaths.
                                                                                                                                   Dr Sen, as secretary of the
                                                                                                                               Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties,
 International Covenant on Civil            Chhattisgarh, awaiting trial on              Chhattisgarh state is rich in         was documenting human rights
 and Political Rights (ICCPR), the          charges that are widely regarded         forests and mineral resources.                   violations, and specifically
 principal UN human rights treaty           as trumped up and politically            Living on those lands are                          the actions of the Salwa
 ratified by Japan. The public              motivated. Noam Chomsky,                 tribal people, who                                   Judum. In May 2007, he
 interest in allowing NGOs to               former US Attorney-General               constitute one third of the                           was arrested and
 bring such information to light is         Ramsey Clark, 22 Nobel                   state’s population and are                            accused of conveying
 greater in this instance than the –        laureates and the former Supreme         amongst the poorest and                               messages between
 also important – interest of               Court Justice of India Krishna           most marginalised                                  guerillas and a prisoner,
 safeguarding private property.             Iyer, are amongst thousands who          communities in India and                           Narayan Sanyal, whom he
     Last December, the UN                  have called for his release.             are being forcibly displaced                      was treating in jail. Each of
 Human Rights Committee                         59-year-old Dr Sen and his           from many of their                                       his visits to Sanyal
 criticised the authorities’ abuse of       wife are doctors who turned away         traditional areas.                                         had been
 trespass laws to stifle criticism of       from lucrative private practices to      Protests have                                                conducted under
 government, and called on Japan            help some of the poorest rural           been brutally                                                 the prison’s
 to ‘repeal any unreasonable                communities in India. In the             suppressed                                                     scrutiny. When
 restrictions on freedom of                 1980s, they worked with the              and since                                                       he learned of
 expression’. This is a test case.          Chhattisgarh mineworkers to set          2005, the                                                        the warrant
                                                                                                     Binayak Sen: state’s case is falling apart
 G Richard Harvey                           up a workers’ hospital. More             state                                                            for his arrest,

  April
 6: Internet service providers      13: Two hundred police          17: Home Secretary Jacqui         20: Hundreds of police            25: Matilda Gifford exposes
 must keep records of emails        officers raid dozens of homes   Smith announces review of         documents from the                undercover police running a
 and online phone calls under       across the UK arresting 114     the Regulation of                 investigation into the            network of hundreds of
 new EC regulations that            people thought to be            Investigatory Powers (Ripa) in    Hillsborough disaster of 1989     informants inside protest
 came into force today. ISPs        preparing a climate change      order to stop ‘trivial’ use of    could finally be made public      organisations, recording hours
 will be legally obliged to store   protest at the Ratcliffe-on-    anti-terror and serious crime     after a 20-year campaign for      of discussions with Strathclyde
 details for 12 months as a         Soar power station in Notts,    powers by councils who have       justice. The families of the 96   police who had attempted to
 potential tool to aid criminal     yet all were released on bail   been using them in cases          Liverpool fans who died           recruit her after she was
 investigations.                    but with no charges.            such as dog fouling, litter and   believe the police conspired to   released on bail after a Plane
                                                                    stealing Christmas lights.        cover up their role on the day.   Stupid demo in Aberdeen.


10 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                  News&Comment

support that scramble for its
sumptuous resources. A country
full of people who deserve the
                                         DNA samples of innocent Anna backs
protection of international law,
media interest and NGO interest
                                         people should not be kept accused Brit
no less than any other place in the
world.                                                  idespread concern             and scope of the DNA database.                      nna Morris, a barrister
     The war and deaths in the
DRC continue. There is the
occasional media comment but
little else. No emails, campaigns
or calls for an end to crimes
                                         W              over the powers
                                                        contained in section
                                                        64 Police and
                                         Criminal Evidence Act 1984
                                         (PACE) finally received judicial
                                                                                      ‘It is crucial that we do everything
                                                                                      we can to keep the public safe
                                                                                      from crime and bring offenders to
                                                                                      justice,’ she said. ‘The DNA
                                                                                      database plays a vital role in
                                                                                                                               A          and Vice Chair of the
                                                                                                                                          Haldane Society, is
                                                                                                                                          acting on behalf of the
                                                                                                                               human rights charity Reprieve, to
                                                                                                                               represent Samantha Orobator,
against humanity or perhaps for          recognition with the decision of             helping us do that. However,             imprisoned in Laos and accused
us to just stop buying the               the European Court of Human                  there has to be a balance between        of heroin smuggling.
resources that help fuel the war         Rights in December 2008 of S &               the need to protect the public and          Samantha, 20, from
there. There have however been a         Marper v UK. Section 64 PACE                 respecting their rights. Based on        Camberwell, may face trial in
number of articles in the                enables the police to retain bodily          risks versus benefits, our view is       Laos without ever having met the
mainstream press about the               samples, DNA profiles and                    that we can now destroy all              Laotian court-appointed lawyer.
endangered elephants affected by         fingerprints from anyone arrested            samples.’ Yet four days later the        The government there has told
the war in that region.                  for a recordable offence, whether            Home Office published proposals          Britain’s Foreign Office that it
G Rebekah Wilson                         or not they are charged,                     to retain DNA records for up to          will not invoke the death penalty.
                                         prosecuted or convicted.                     12 years. The database is to             They agreed to this only after
                                            The decision established that             include samples taken from               Anna pointed out to them that
Dr Sen voluntarily returned from         the automatic retention of DNA               children aged 10 or over, who            their own law forbids executing a
a visit to Kolkata in order to clear     samples, profiles and fingerprints           may have been arrested but never         person who is ‘in a state of
his name. He was arrested under          from those who are not convicted             prosecuted. Liberty’s Shami              pregnancy’.
Chhattisgarh’s Special Public            of any offence is a breach of the            Chakrabarti said: ‘Wholly                   Meanwhile, the Haldane
Security Act (draconian anti-            right to a private life under                innocent people – including              Society has asked the Foreign
terror laws) and denied bail.            Article 8 of the European                    children – will have their most          Office to raise with the Laotian
   After two years, the state’s case     Convention on Human Rights.                  intimate details stockpiled for          foreign minister the fact that his
against Dr Sen is falling apart.         The court further commented                  years on a database that will            government, which originally
Several prosecution witnesses            that the powers of retention were            remain massively out of step with        gave assurances that Anna would
have been dropped, or been               ‘blanket and indiscriminate’ in              the rest of the world.’                  be allowed to visit Samantha,
declared ‘hostile’ by the                that samples could be retained                    We already know from gov-           now refuses to allow the visit. We
prosecution. None of the                 from persons suspected of trivial            ernment figures that stop and            want firm undertakings that
remaining witnesses have been            offences as well as of serious ones          search powers are disproportion-         Anna will be allowed to visit with
able to corroborate any of the           and did not discriminate between             ately used to target black and           Samantha and that all her rights
charges against him. Despite the         the convicted and the                        Asian communities. There is now          under the International Covenant
lack of evidence, he remains in          unconvicted.                                 growing evidence that police             on Civil and Political Rights will
prison. Despite suffering from              Since then the Government                 powers of arrest, particularly the       be guaranteed, including:
heart disease, he is denied the          has tried to find ways of avoiding           wide-ranging powers under anti-          adequate time and facilities to
specialist medical treatment that        implementing the decision.                   terror legislation, are also             consult with her court-appointed
has been recommended.                    Government had stated that                   regularly abused. People are             lawyer; to prepare her defence; to
   He has been adopted as a              DNA profiles and samples of the              frequently arrested as a result of       call and examine any witnesses
prisoner of conscience by                850,000 innocent people                      bad policing or malicious com-           required and to receive all
Amnesty International, which             currently on the database should             plaints by members of the public.        appropriate medical treatment. In
believes that the charges against        remain there for between six and             These proposals fundamentally            the event Ms Orobator is
him are unfounded and who call           12 years. Jacqui Smith told The              undermine the presumption of in-         convicted she should be
for his immediate release. I             Observer in May that there were              nocence, and should be revised or        permitted to serve her sentence
See www.freebinayaksen.org               genuine concerns over the size               face challenges in the courts. I         back in Britain. I



25: Justice Secretary Jack       27: Anti-nuclear protestors        27: Sir Mark Potter, President     29: Three men facing            30: Five people assaulted by
Straw scraps plans to build      in Scotland revealed that          of the Family Division of the      charges of helping plan the     police officers, at a peaceful
three 2,500-place Titan          police had offered them            High Court, says allowing the      7th July bombings that killed   rally outside the Mexican
prisons, instead securing        money for information, one         media to report legal cases        people in London in 2005        embassy in London in 2006,
backing for five proposed        being offered cash on top of       involving adoption, care           were acquitted at Kingston      and kept in custody for two
privately-run ‘super-size’       his jobseeker’s allowance          proceedings and divorce will       Crown Court. Despite a £100     nights have been paid tens of
prisons to hold1,500             (benefit fraud!) if in return he   transform the long-established     million police investigation    thousands of pounds in an
prisoners, although the Prison   game military police the           culture of privacy in the family   (the biggest in modern times)   out-of-court settlement,
Governors’ Association said      names of people planning           courts but critics say the         police now have no fresh        amidst calls for the officers
these were still ‘too big’.      environmental action.              access is still too restrictive.   lines of inquiry.               involved to be investigated.


                                                                                                                          Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 11
                                           News&Comment


                                            Drastic changes in
                                            legal aid funding
                                                      he Legal Services                 was introduced in October 2007.


                                            T         Commission’s recent
                                                      consultation, Family
                                                      Legal Aid Funding from
                                            2010, considers the likely impact
                                            of the Government’s proposals in
                                                                                        There is a third and final stage
                                                                                        scheduled by the LSC for
                                                                                        implementation in 2013, in the
                                                                                        form of Best Value Tendering,
                                                                                        which is to be applied to many
                                            this area. Young Legal Aid                  other areas across the civil legal
Picture: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk




                                            Lawyers (YLAL) was one of the               aid budget.
                                            ‘interested stakeholders’ to                    YLAL is concerned that the
                                            respond. YLAL set out its concern           fees proposed under the PLFRS
                                            for the future sustainability of            are unrealistically low in value and
                                            quality legal advice and                    that the mechanisms by which
                                            representation in family law and            they will operate will be too rigid.
                                            the consequences of the changes             There are a raft of specific
                                            for those working at the junior             provisions which will render it
                                            end of the family legal aid system.         difficult for solicitors to be fairly
                                            The consultation sets out three             remunerated for the volume and
                                            main proposed changes. These,               complexity of work actually               Firms will be forced to reduce the amount of time spent on legal aid cases.
                                            alongside YLAL’s response, are:             undertaken on family cases. As
                                                                                        income from family legal aid work         good quality legal advice and            the LSC proposes that family
                                            Private Family Law                          inevitably decreases, YLAL                representation if they are to            advocates be remunerated for
                                            Representation Scheme                       anticipates that firms will be            understand the implications of           advocacy on a ‘per hearing’ basis,
                                            The first proposal is the                   forced to reduce the amount of            what will often be important             irrespective of the length of the
                                            introduction of the Private Family          time they engage on legal aid             decisions relating to their future       hearing or the complexity of the
                                            Law Representation Scheme                   cases, or that they may delegate          and/or that of their children.           preparation required. There are
                                            (PLFRS); a scheme of fixed fees             the work to more junior fee-                                                       provisions within the FAS which
                                            which will apply to the majority            earners, such as trainee solicitors       Family Advocacy Scheme                   YLAL says will unfairly penalise
                                            of private children cases, finance          or paralegals, who may not have           The second element of the scheme         those who have made a
                                            cases and domestic violence                 the necessary experience and/or           is the introduction of a new             commitment to undertake family
                                            proceedings. The scheme                     degree of supervision to undertake        Family Advocacy Scheme (FAS)             advocacy, such as payment of
                                            constitutes part of the second              the work. Those at the junior end         to replace the former Family             ‘tapered fees’ if the number of
                                            major phase in the LSC’s reform             may well experience increased             Graduated Fee Scheme under               hearings listed exceeds an average
                                            to family legal aid funding and             workloads and pressure at work.           which family barristers were paid        number, something that will often
                                            proposes fixed fees for work                    Of greater concern is the             and which will apply to both             be due to circumstances beyond
                                            undertaken following the issue of           impact these changes will have on         solicitors and self-employed             the control of advocates.
                                            proceedings and up to the final             family clients, who will inevitably       advocates. YLAL considers that
                                            hearing. The first stage, the               be facing difficult personal              the advocacy fees proposed under         Changes to Scope
                                            introduction of fixed fees in care          circumstances. Many will be               the FAS are also extremely low           The third tenet of the proposals is
                                            and supervision proceedings and             feeling emotionally, or indeed            and we anticipate that they too          a reduction to the scope of the
                                            fixed fees in private family cases          physically, vulnerable. These             will be extremely rigid in their         family disbursements that the
                                            up to the issue of proceedings,             clients are particularly in need of       operation. By way of example,            LSC is prepared to fund. YLAL


                                            May
                                            1: Ministry of Justice figures      6: United Nations inquiry         7: Lawyers acting for young    7: The Government is to          11: Research by mental
                                            reveal that the use of stop-        accused the Israeli military of   twins ‘stopped and             outlaw the use by companies      health charity Mind shows that
                                            and-search under section 44         negligence or recklessness        searched’ at the Kingsnorth    of covert blacklists that have   60 percent of respondents to a
                                            of the counter-terror legislation   in its conduct of the war in      demo last August were          prevented trade unionists        survey did not feel they were
                                            soared from 37,197 people           Gaza in January and said the      granted permission, in the     from getting work. Business      taken seriously when they
                                            searched in 2006-07 to              UN should press for               High Court, to challenge       Secretary Lord Mandelson         reported a crime. In two cases
                                            117,278 in 2007-08. The             reparations for deaths and        police powers after judges     has been forced to act after a   this year the CPS and the
                                            number of black people              damage.                           ruled the proper policing of   watchdog exposed                 police have been forced to
                                            stopped rose by 322 percent,                                          large demos was in the         widespread blacklisting in the   apologise for not taking
                                            Asian people by 277 per cent.                                         public interest.               construction industry.           offences seriously.


                                           12 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                         Young LegalAid Lawyers
                                         This regular column is written by Laura Janes of YLAL. If you are interested in joining
                                         or supporting their work, please visit their website www.younglegalaidlawyers.org




                                       Why can’t Jack Straw see: we
                                       need more than sticking plasters
                                                   ecessions are a major        professional advice than other              Straw’s warnings that firms


                                       R           cost driver for legal aid.
                                                   This has been
                                                   recognised by
                                       Government. Despite the ‘no
                                       more money in the pot’ mantra,
                                                                                age groups (Young People and
                                                                                Civil Justice, LSRC and Youth
                                                                                Access, 2007).
                                                                                   Another group set to fall foul
                                                                                of the LSC’s next plans are
                                                                                                                            should be relying more heavily
                                                                                                                            on paralegals. In a speech in
                                                                                                                            March this year Straw drew an
                                                                                                                            analogy with opticians services,
                                                                                                                            largely provided by high street
                                       an extra £10 million has been            prisoners. A recent prison law              chains, ‘which benefit from
                                       found for Citizens Advice                consultation decried an increase            substantial economies of scale,
                                       Bureaux, alongside the                   of on average £7 million a year             which in turn are passed on to
                                       establishment of various duty            for prison law since 2001, and              the customer [...] The important
                                       schemes in the county courts to          prompted comments from the                  factor here is that there has been
                                       deal with housing repossessions.         Conservatives that the ‘colossal            no decline in the quality of the
                                       But this is simply more sticking         increase’ in legal aid for prisoners        clinical service’. Unfortunately
                                       plaster to a festering wound: the        was ‘inevitably at the expense of           for Mr Straw Which consumer
                                       real problem is that ordinary            assistance for law-abiding                  magazine recently sent
                                       solicitors with the expertise to         people, who need greater legal              undercover researchers into a
                                       help ordinary people keep their          protection at a time of recession’.         number of these providers: over
                                       homes and manage their debt,                This is despite the fact that the        50 per cent offered
                                       are simply unable to survive the         cost of incarcerating 80,000 odd            unsatisfactory advice. Clinics
considers that these reductions,       devastating changes to the legal         prisoners a year is more than one           were underestimating the risks of
combined with elements of the          aid scheme. Since 2003, the              and half times the whole legal aid          treatment and pressuring
proposed PFLRS and FAS                 number of firms providing                budget and that prisoners are               customers into expensive options
schemes, are likely to lead to         housing law services under the           likely to represent some of the             (I found all this in a small article
some of the most vulnerable            scheme has dropped from 799 to           most damaged in our society,                on page 19 of The Times, 26th
groups of people experiencing          362.                                     with the most unmet legal need.             March).
difficulty in accessing the justice        Tokenistic injections of cash        In times of recession the                       As Government prepares to
they require. For example, the         will not help the masses of              Government would do well to                 celebrate 60 years of legal aid
removal of independent social          vulnerable people in all walks of        consider the longer term social             this year, it would do well to
work from the scope of LSC             life who have snowballing unmet          and economic cost of depriving              remember that it needs to invest
funding in Rule 9.5 cases, and the     legal need, and who find it              prisoners of good quality advice            in its future if it is serious about
inclusion of Rule 9.5 cases within     especially hard to access services.      – both due to social welfare                dealing with the current
the PLFRS scheme, are likely to            The latest Government                problems and the cost of re-                economic conditions and looking
have serious implications for          statistics show that 40 per cent of      incarceration given the                     after the longer term interests of
children in family proceedings;        unemployed people are under 25           recidivism rates.                           the nation.
both in terms of the quality of        years old. Research by the Legal            Meanwhile, new entrants are              G Laura Janes
advice that they or those              Services Commission’s research           finding it harder than ever to get
representing them receive, and         centre and Youth Access shows            training contracts at legal aid             For more information about YLAL
their ability to have their wishes     that young people are more               firms who are unsure as to their            and also to see YLAL’s full response
and feelings sufficiently              likely to experience high levels of      future and do not have the time             and covering letter to the LSC
represented throughout the case.       unmet legal need but are                 and resources to provide                    consultation (see article left) please
G Jenny Bond                           considerably less likely to obtain       training. This is in line with Jack         visit: www.younglegalaidlawyers.org




15: Independent Police          16: Foreign Secretary David    16: Victory for campaigners      16: US President Barack         19: British soldiers must be
Complaints Commission           Miliband demands a             as Justice Secretary Jack        Obama confirms he is to         protected by European human
announces new inquiry into      ‘gagging order’ to stop High   Straw drops plans that would     continue to try                 rights laws, wherever they are
‘media handling’ by the Met     Court judges from disclosing   have seen parts of inquests      Guantánamo detainees            deployed, even in battle – a
and the City of London police   information about what         with ‘national security          under the widely                Appeal Court ruling by three
over the death of Ian           Britain’s security and         implications’ held in private,   discredited military tribunal   senior judges said, rejecting
Tomlinson, after his family     intelligence agencies knew     without a jury. Shami            system set up by George         claims by the Minsitry of Defence
complained about information    about the torture Binyam       Chakrabarti described it as a    W Bush, although he             that a soldier could be protected
released by the police.         Mohamed received from the      ‘sane and humble                 claims reforms will make        by the HRA only when he/she is
                                CIA at Guantánamo Bay.         climbdown’.                      the system ‘fairer’.            on a military base.


                                                                                                                       Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 13
 Haldane’s new pamphlet on Turkey was
 launched in February. Rachel Bird reports…




                                                                                                         Above: speakers Margaret




IS TURKEY
                                                                                                         Owen, Michael Ivers, Lord
                                                                                                         Rea, Bill Bowring and John
                                                                                                         Hobson at the launch of the
                                                                                                         report of the delegation to
                                                                                                         Turkey.




READY TO
PLAY BALL?   he Haldane Society of Socialist       ification of international instruments, its desire   had not progressed at all and, if anything,




 T
             Lawyers launched their latest pub-    to achieve accession to the European Union, and      things had got worse for women. In a patriar-
             lication in the House of Lords on     the appearance of reform, are all consistently       chal society women are frightened to speak
             24th February. The event, hosted      undermined by actual practice and recommends         out about their experiences, especially in
             and chaired by Lord Rea, intro-       29 practical steps by which Turkey could             regard to sexual torture and rape. Both Kur-
             duced the report that came out of a   achieve compliance with international law.           dish and Turkish women suffer from abuse
 delegation organised by Haldane on the ini-           Bill outlined Turkey's refusal to recognise      and violence but Kurdish women suffer in
 tiative of CAMPACC in February 2008, to in-       the existence of Kurds or the Kurdish language       many more ways as outlined in the report.
 vestigate whether Turkey is implementing its      in Turkey, and its continued failure to ratify       Though women are not held in F-type prisons,
 EU accession commitments on prison reform         the European Languages Charter. He also re-          there is anecdotal evidence that women are
 and conditions of detention.                      ported that the delegation were especially           being forced to act as prostitutes in prison as
     The delegation met with authoritative non-    shocked by the effect of amendments to Arti-         well as being verbally threatened, raped and
 governmental organisations, representatives of    cle 151 of the Criminal Procedural Code on           subject to other forms of abuse that leave no
 the main political parties, practising lawyers,   lawyers seeking to represent their client, effec-    evidence. She emphasised the need for further
 former prisoners and families of prisoners.       tively interfering with the right to legally qual-   documentation of the situation.
 Professor Bill Bowring, one of the delegates,     ified defence.                                          Delegate and Haldane executive member,
 and the International Secretary of Haldane,           Barrister Michael Ivers spoke on behalf of       John Hobson, spoke on the question of isola-
 spoke of his admiration for the work and          Mark Muller QC – who was unavoidably de-             tion in F-type prisons in which detainees are
 courage of the Turkish Progressive Lawyers        tained – on the conditions of detention of Mr        held in isolation or in groups of three. The F-
 Association (CHD). CHD is Haldane's sister        Abdullah Ocalan. His continuing imprison-            type prisons were designed with the specific
 organisation in Turkey, and with Haldane a        ment as the sole inmate of Imrali – with no          aim of weakening association between indi-
 member of the European Lawyers for Democ-         privacy and access to visitors, including his        viduals and it is widely accepted that the at-
 racy and Human Rights, of which Bill is Pres-     legal team, severely restricted – does not come      tendant effects in themselves may constitute
 ident. The delegation met CHD lawyers –           near basic legal norms and raises serious issues     human rights violations. It is of concern that
 including the lawyers for Ocalan – in Istanbul    on Turkey's accession to the EU.                     other than disputes governing the level of as-
 and Ankara.                                           Margaret Owen, Director of Widows for            sociation afforded to prisoners, the European
     The delegation concluded that Turkey's rat-   Peace through Democracy, felt that Turkey            Committee for the Prevention of Torture and

14 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                                                                                      Haldane
                                                                                                                                                      provides
                                                                                                                                                      legal support
                                                                                                                                                      on Kurdish
                                                                                                                                                      demo
                                                                                                                                                              n Sunday 15th February

                                                                                                                                                      O       members of the Haldane
                                                                                                                                                              Society and Kurdish
                                                                                                                                                      community attended a training
                                                                                                                                                      session run by Shamik Dutta of
                                                                                                                                                      Fisher Meredith and Haldane’s
                                                                                                                                                      Kat Craig of Christian Khan at
                                                                                                                                                      the Kurdish Community Centre
                                                                                                                                                      (KCC) in North London.
                                                                                                                                                      Haldane was approached by
                                                                                                                                                      members of the KCC over fears
                                                                                                                                                      of oppressive police action in
                                                                                                                                                      relation to the demonstration
                                                                                                                                                      organised to mark the 10th
                                                                                                                                                      anniversary of the arrest of
                                                                                                                                                      Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the
                                                                                                                                                      Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),
                                                                                                                                                      who was abducted from Kenya
                                                                                                                                                      in 1999. Since this time Ocalan,
                                                                                                                                                      who is widely recognised as the
                                                                                                                                                      voice of the Kurdish people
                                                                                                                                                      struggling for their cultural and
                                                                                                                                                      political rights in Turkey, has
                                                                                                                                                      been held in Imrali Prison off
                                                                                                                                                      the West Coast of Turkey.
                                                                                                                                                      Serious concerns have been
                                                                                                                                                      raised about widespread human
                                                                                                        Pictures: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk




                                                                                                                                                      rights abuses inside the prison.
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punish-                                                                                                                Haldane also provided legal
ment has indicated that F-type prisons may                                                                                                            observers on the demonstration,
otherwise be seen as models of modern peni-                                                                                                           monitoring the actions of the
tentiary establishments. Further research into                                                                                                        police and showing support for
the impacts of the prisons on individuals is                                                                                                          and solidarity with Kurdish
needed but it is unlikely that Turkey would                                                                                                           people and their right to
welcome such research.                                                                                                                                demonstrate. The Kurdish
    Questions and comments related to how                                                                                                             community is justifiably anxious
Turkey is caught between the requirements of                                                                                                          about any perceived support for
the EU and the demands of its people, the                                                                                                             the PKK, a proscribed
army and the Islamists in the country. For                                                                                                            organisation, after a number of
those who are concerned over the efficacy of                                                                                                          Kurds and an Irish human rights
Europe’s intervention in Turkey’s progress,                                                                                                           activist were charged in 2001
consideration should be given to the fact that,                                                                                                       and detained for years in
without the intervention of the European                                                                                                              Belmarsh pre-trial for
Court of Human Rights, Abdullah Ocalan                                                                                                                campaigning for Kurdish rights.
would in all probability be dead by now. It                                                                                                              Haldane is developing a list
was also noted that Turkey lifted whole pas-                                                                                                          of members and supporters
sages from the UK’s anti-terror legislation for                                                                                                       keen to help out as legal
its own laws, and that Turkey cannot be dis-                                                                                                          observers in the future. Training
cussed without reference to the global situa-                                                                                                         will be provided on each
tion. Lord Rea will table a written question                                                                                                          occasion and no prior
inquiring as to what the UK Government is         To obtain a copy of the ‘Conditions of detention in                                                 experience or knowledge of
doing in response to these issues. I              Turkey: Blocking admission to the EU’ contact                                                       public or police law is required.
                                                  www.haldane.org, admin@haldane.org or write to the                                                  Please contact Kezia Tobin for
Rachel Bird is a member of the Peace in           Haldane Society at PO Box 57066 London EC1P 1AF.                                                    more information:
Kurdistan Campaign                                                                                                                                    kezia.tobin@gmail.com

                                                                                                                                                    Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 15
    BLOOD,SWEA
                                    THE MINERS’
                                     STRIKE
                                     1984-85




            For a year
        the miners fought
       to defend their jobs
        and communities.
      They fought the might
       of the British state.
      Their struggle inspired
             millions...                Pictures by John Sturrock
16 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
ATANDTEARS
                                                                                                       during the strike. The legacy can be traced
                                                                                                       through the Wapping dispute, the poll tax
                                                                                                       protests, anti-war demonstrations right
                                                    The report therefore recommended import-           through to the recent G20 protest in London.
                                                    ing coal and building up stocks, encouraging            Monday 18th June 1984 was probably
                                                    the recruitment of non union drivers to shift      the high point and crucible for the whole dis-
                                                    these stocks, cutting off social security to       pute and has been indelibly etched on the
                                                    strikers and most significantly the establish-     minds of all those who experienced it. The
                                                    ment of mobile police squads to counter            miners suffered terrible physical injuries as
                                                    picketing.                                         well as long-term irremediable psychological
                                                         The years between 1984 and now have           damage. A graphic and compelling account
          he miners stood silently in line in the   witnessed the untrammelled and unashamed           of what happened on the day can be found in


 T        snow. The early morning mist of a
          grey winter’s day gradually rolled
          back to reveal a senior police officer,
 all in white, with coal black eyes, a long red
 Pinocchio pointed nose, glistening police but-
                                                    excesses of asset stripping, corporate greed,
                                                    bonus culture, all developed on the back of a
                                                    shadow economy. Basically take the money
                                                    and run. Predictably the repercussions of this
                                                    meltdown will be felt most acutely by the
                                                                                                       Yvette Vanson’s documentary, The Battle for
                                                                                                       Orgreave, shown on Channel 4 in 1986 and
                                                                                                       now held in the archives of the British Film
                                                                                                       Institute. The media at the time unremit-
                                                                                                       tingly depicted the miners as violent mind-
 tons and pips and a flat inspector’s cap. A        very same communities who took a stand in          less pickets hell-bent on riot. And this was
 snowman neatly modelled upon the figure of         1984, and once again there has to be a col-        the charge brought against many of them at
 a self-possessed Chief Supt whose normal           lective movement which grasps the opportu-         Sheffield Crown Court before the aptly
 practice was to inspect his troops as if it were   nity to re-evaluate the needs and priorities in    named HHJ Cole. Needless to say nothing
 the parade ground at Sandhurst. As usual he        the context of a fragile environment and a         could have been further from the truth which
 arrived in his immaculate police Range             threatened planet.                                 was established during the trial when the
 Rover and wasted no time in demanding the              It was with this in mind that the People’s     prosecution case was torn to shreds and col-
 immediate removal of the offending snow-           Charter was launched at the House of Com-          lapsed after 48 days. A blow by blow ac-
 statue. Not a single muscle moved. After re-       mons on Wednesday 11th March 2009.                 count was recorded by a defendant I
 peated demands had fallen upon deaf ears he        Members of the Haldane Society, as they did        represented, Bernard Jackson. He was a 43-
 decided that it was time to close the show.        during the miners strike, played a prominent       year-old craftsman miner and President of
 He would do it himself and teach everyone a        role in this initiative. The aims of the charter   Wath Main NUM. His book, co-authored
 lesson. He mounted his four wheeled stal-                                                             with Tony Wardle, is also entitled The Battle
 lion, revved up the engine, and charged. Still
 no one moved because they all knew some-
                                                                        by                             for Orgreave.
                                                                                                           The battle itself was incredibly one-sided.
 thing he didn’t. The snowman had been care-
 fully constructed around a concrete bollard!
                                                                        Michael                        The police had arrived in large numbers.
                                                                                                       There were long shield units; short shield
 It is not clear how the Chief Supt managed to
 explain the vertical indentation running from
                                                                        Mansfield                      units including snatch squads; riot squads
                                                                                                       (some of whose overalls had no identifying
 bonnet to bumper and rendering the Range                                                              number as at the G20 demo); mounted
 Rover immobile.                                                                                       police some of whom had long staves and
      An apocryphal story from 1984 and an                                                             police dogs. They had a plan, currently de-
 allegory for the might of the state against a                                                         scribed as corralling or kettling, to surround
 solid mining community. This solidarity            are simple, to create a movement with over         the protesting miners by herding them into a
 would have succeeded had it not been for a         one million people in the United Kingdom           field above and beyond the Orgreave coking
 fatal lack of support from elements within         signing up to six key principles: ‘a fair and      plant. At the bottom of the field, slowly
 the TUC and Labour Party leadership. The           just Britain; a future without war; more and       moving up would be lines of long shield of-
 strike was not about pay and conditions, nor       better jobs; decent homes for all; improved        ficers. On the right-hand side was a road
 was it about some fantasy from the fevered         public services and a fairer economy for a         along which mounted police could swiftly be
 brow of Arthur Scargill as the tabloids would      fairer Britain’.                                   deployed, and to the left was a field in which
 have it. Instead it was a struggle for the very       It has been obvious for some time that the      more mounted police together with dogs had
 survival and fabric of ordinary decent com-        credibility gap between government and             been positioned. The top of the field was
 munities. For the Tories however this was a        people has been widening to almost cav-            bounded by a deep railway cutting which
 clearly planned confrontation between capi-        ernous proportions. Alienation and political       made any escape extremely dangerous. The
 tal and organised labour, a necessary pre-         exclusion is felt across the board, especially     rest is history.
 condition for the establishment and                amongst the younger generations who find                But it wasn’t just on the battlefield that
 supremacy of a laissez-faire economy. The          far more inspiration and vision from the           new tactics were being practised. Roadblocks
 Ridley report, commissioned by Margaret            manifold activities of single issue pressure       were set up in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire
 Thatcher and drawn up by MP Nicholas               groups. These effective forces must be har-        and as far afield as Kent in order to prevent
 Ridley whilst in opposition, was a plan to         nessed and co-ordinated to bring about             the free movement of protesters. What hap-
 combat enemies of the next Tory govern-            change.                                            pened at these roadblocks was often unlaw-
 ment. Those enemies were identified as aris-           The mobile police squads and new style         ful. One occasion was captured by Yvette
                                                                                                                                                         L




 ing within the coal industry and the unions.       public order policing tactics were tested          and her film crew when compiling another


                                                                                                                    Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 17
   L
       documentary called Taking Liberties. They
     were on their way to film a picket line in
     Nottinghamshire. The police who stopped
     them could not make up their minds about
     the basis upon which they had made the
     stop. Running out of ideas they finally or-
     dered the film crew to turn around, threat-
     ening that if they failed to do so they would
     be arrested for obstructing the police in the
     course of their duty! Almost a complete
     replica of this situation was experienced by
     protesters travelling to Fairford airbase in re-
     lation to the war in Iraq. They were stopped
     en route, imprisoned in their coaches, and es-
     corted back to London by a posse of police
     motorcycles. This too was unlawful as found
     eventually by the House of Lords. It too was
     captured on film and by sheer coincidence is
     the opening sequence of another documen-
     tary entitled Taking Liberties produced by
     another independent company – Revolver.
          These films provide an important public
     service by exposing malpractice but at the
     same time there is an equally important point
     about the necessity for recording malprac-
     tice. One of the most significant ways in
     which we were able to undermine the prose-
     cution case in the Orgreave trial derived from
     the critically useful material collated by an
     independent observer group in Sheffield
     called Police Watch and from a multitude of
     photographic material assembled by profes-
     sional photographers, independent observers
     and protesters. The most dramatic example
     of this was a miner with a video camera who
     had secreted himself up a tree and was
     unseen by police below. He was able to
     record an utterly disgraceful arrest, in which
     a snatch squad of three short shield officers
     targeted a perfectly innocent miner, pinned
     him to the ground and then dragged him to-
     wards police lines by means of an arm lock
     round his head and neck.
          After this I helped establish with a
     number of other lawyers an ad hoc legal ob-
     servers group – LOG. This was used during
     the Wapping dispute. Lawyers identified by
     fluorescent bibs and the acronym LOG
     would accompany marches, demonstrations
                                                        The Tories wanted
     and meetings in order to monitor incidents.
     They would operate in pairs, one watching
     and making a mental note in preparation for
     any subsequent report, and the other carry-
                                                        to smash the NUM
     ing a means of record either a note pad and
     pen or a camera. It is clear that it was the       by Davey Hopper           he 1984/5 miners’ strike played a very
     production of film and photographic mater-
     ial in relation to G20 which has led to a Par-
     liamentary inquiry and a criminal
     investigation.
          There needs to be therefore an immediate
                                                                          T       significant role in my life because
                                                                                  when it started I was the union Secre-
                                                                                  tary at one of the biggest collieries in
                                                                          Britain, Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland,
                                                                          which at that time employed nearly 3,000
     reappraisal of the new offence created by sec-                       men.
     tion 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act which                              The strike was really inevitable: the
     criminalises ‘eliciting, publishing or commu-                        Thatcher government had prepared for a
     nicating information on members of the                               number of years a strategy to take on the Na-
     Armed Forces, intelligence services and                              tional Union of Mineworkers (NUM) be-
     police officers which could be useful to some-                       cause the Tories had to smash organised
     one committing or preparing an act of ter-                           labour in order to bring in the free market
     rorism’. Given potentially what is embraced                          economy they so desired. Unions had to be
     by the breadth of this section and the fact                          seriously weakened in order to drive down
     that there does not have to be any intention                         wage costs for the UK to compete on a global
     to promote or assist terrorism, the mind bog-                        scale, and obviously, as the NUM was at the
     gles about how this ever slipped by our                              forefront of the trade union movement in
     beloved democratic representatives.                                  Britain, it was the major target.
     G Mike Mansfield QC                                                     The dispute was not merely an industrial

18 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                 Labour Party not to support the miners. Both
                                                 Norman Willis, the General Secretary of the
                                                 TUC, and Neil Kinnock, the leader of the
                                                 Labour Party, played thoroughly dishon-
                                                 ourable roles during the dispute. Kinnock
                                                 never appeared on a picket line until the
                                                 strike was nearly finished, despite being a
                                                 Member of Parliament for a Welsh mining
                                                 constituency, and it would only have taken a
                                                 call from Willis to levy the millions of mem-
                                                 bers of the TUC to force Thatcher to the ne-
                                                 gotiating table. Alas, this did not happen.
                                                     Despite the actions of these so-called lead-
                                                 ers of the working class, there was a tremen-
                                                 dous amount of working class support for
                                                 the miners and a lot of trade unions risked
                                                 the wrath of the law by lending money to the
                                                 NUM when our funds were sequestrated.
                                                     In hindsight it is obvious now that the
                                                 miners would never have been allowed to
                                                 win this battle. The whole state system was
                                                 to be used against the miners, really com-         Jones J held on 12th November 1984 that
                                                 mencing in June at the Orgreave coking plant       the area strike called precisely in accordance
                                                 where thousands of police were used in a           with area rules and approved by the NEC
                                                 paramilitary fashion to charge and beat pick-      was not lawful because it was part of a na-
                                                 eting miners. Horses, dogs, truncheons,            tional strike which required a national ballot!
                                                 shields and real vicious brute force were             However, despite all of these and many
                                                 thrown at defenceless miners, the whole in-        other fabrications, the vast majority of
                                                 cident filmed by the media. Yet not one            British miners held firm in their resolve to
                                                 police officer was ever charged with violence.     fight for the future of their industry, their
                                                 Could this have been because the BBC tele-         communities and families.
                                                 vision coverage showed miners throwing                This fight has proven to be right, because
                                                 stones at the police lines on the six o’clock      here today even the Tories are agreed we as
                                                 news, when in reality, as the BBC admitted a       a nation need to utilise the millions of tonnes
                                    NUM          number of years later, they inadvertently got      of coal that lie beneath our shores. Because
                                  president      the footage wrong? It was really the mounted       we need security of energy supplies coal will
                                    Arthur       police who made the first charge in to the         be mined again in Britain.
                                 Scargill at a   pickets. Surely this was state control that           We have witnessed the result of Thatcher’s
                                 mass picket
                                                 would have been fully approved by any dic-         vindictiveness: our communities have been
                                                 tatorship or eastern bloc regime?                  devastated, our youngsters are nearly all em-
                                                     The attacks on the miners continued, the       ployed in meaningless jobs, unemployment
                                                 pickets were arrested on all manner of             in our villages is at obscene levels, there is no
                                                 trumped up charges, with magistrates then          job security, no dignity and drug substance
                                                 used to put severe restraining orders on these     abuse is at alarmingly high levels.
                                                 pickets. Many were jailed using archaic and           The saddest thing I believe is the way the
one, it was a battle against the Thatcher ide-   obsolete laws and charges. The mining com-         British public were conned by the propa-
ology and the Tory party who were prepared       munities and villages were under police siege,     ganda of Thatcher. She even told lies to Par-
to close down the whole of the British coal      a ring of steel was put around the county of       liament along with many of her ministers,
industry in order to beat the NUM.               Nottingham to stop pickets getting to their        and sadly the British people bought it. They
    The National Coal Board (NCB) under          fellow miners to seek their support. There         were conned into not supporting the British
the ‘hatchet man’ McGregor, who had re-          was phone tapping, surveillance, intimida-         mineworkers at our time of need.
cently been appointed by Thatcher, was clos-     tion. The state used every conceivable                If we had been successful we may not
ing collieries at an alarming rate. There was    method, some strictly illegal, to defeat the       have seen so many of our young men and
little or no consultation with the union over    miners.                                            women having to be maimed and killed in
these closures and nearly all the agreed con-        The manipulation of the press was also a       what probably was an illegal war for oil in
sultation processes were totally ignored. The    disgrace, with false tales of Libyan and Russ-     Iraq. Perhaps the current financial crisis may
NCB was steamrolling ahead with its closure      ian money supposedly being sent to Scargill        not have occurred because the Tories would
programme and a conflict was unavoidable.        and the issue of not holding a national strike     not have relaxed control on the banking
    After much provocation the large York-       ballot being raised time and again. This latter    system. We shall never know.
shire coalfield was called on strike in early    point was a complete red herring: in 1977             However we cannot change the past - I
March 1984 and other areas including             the NUM had held two national ballots on           believe that history will prove us correct.
Durham soon voted to join the strike. There      the introduction of incentive schemes, both           I can only say that I have been privileged
really was no alternative: we either resisted    rejecting the introduction of these divisive       to have been a coal miner and I believe that
the closures or allowed the Tories and the       schemes. When a right wing area challenged         the 12 month dispute has made me a better
NCB to butcher our industry and our com-         the validity of these national ballots to over-    person, certainly a more determined and en-
munities.                                        rule area decisions approved by the NEC, Mr        lightened person and hopefully many more
    The strike took off but to their eternal     Justice Watkins ruled on 21st December             people who experienced it will feel the same.
shame the Nottinghamshire miners refused         1977 that ‘the result of a ballot, nationally         I have had the great honour of represent-
to join the dispute and played into Thatcher’s   conducted, is not binding on the National          ing miners, their families and a great Union
hands by dividing the union. This action,        Executive Committee in using its powers’. If       which still survives today some 25 years after
which was very similar to the betrayal of the    this was so, what use would a national strike      the state, Thatcher and the Tories planned to
NUM by the Nottinghamshire miners fol-           ballot have been if areas were able to ignore      destroy it.
lowing the General Strike of 1926, gave the      it? But in a case brought by a strike breaker      G David Hopper, General Secretary,
perfect excuse to the leaders of the TUC and     against the Durham Mechanics, Kenneth              Durham Miners Association


                                                                                                                 Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 19
     The attack on
     the miners was
     a turning point

     by John Hendy QC
               o student of the second half of twen-   whole to rally behind the miners.


    N          tieth century Britain could underes-
               timate the importance of the miners’
               strike of 1984-5. The fact that the
     labour movement did not succeed has had
     profound effects in Britain and the world. In
                                                           Part of the weight of the Government
                                                       attack was through the law courts. Mike
                                                       Mansfield QC has written elsewhere in this
                                                       edition of the use of the criminal courts. I
                                                       shall focus on the civil courts.
     1984 neoliberalism was just under 40 years            The strike is always dated as having
     old, well established but far from being the      started on 9th March 1984 when Yorkshire
     dominant ideology, even in the USA and UK.        area NUM struck in response to a local NCB
     The attack on the miners was a turning point      announcement to close Cortonwood on eco-
     in the triumph of neoliberalism in becoming       nomic grounds – a reason that was made
     the ideology of government – in the UK and        specifically impermissible by Plan for Coal.
     abroad. Ironically the disaster of neo-liber-     In fact Polmaise pit in Scotland had been on
     alism is only too evident now, six months         strike since February over a proposal to close
     into a world-wide recession, 25 years after       that pit. There had been a national ban on
     the miners’ strike.                               overtime for some months of such effect that
         The attack on the miners clearly inspired     the Central Electricity Generating Board
     the print workers in 1986 and the dockers in      (CEGB) warned the Government that stocks
     1989. The privatisation of the National Coal      would not last the year.
     Board (NCB) led to the virtual closure of the         There has been a suggestion that the
     British coal industry (though not to any sig-     NUM made a tactical error in striking at the
     nificant diminution of the use of coal: 43 mil-   end of winter but the criticism is absurd since
     lion tons imported in 2007 at a cost of over      the timing of a defensive strike is inevitably in
     £2,000 million representing 72 per cent of        the hands of the employers: was the NUM
     coal consumed in the UK).                         to abandon pits (and, indeed, the industry)
         The strike failed in its attempt to prevent   threatened with closure without a fight?
     the Tory Government reneging on the long              On 20th February 1984, The Observer
     established terms for colliery closure, the       claimed that the NCB planned closure of 30
     Plan for Coal. The reason for that outcome        pits with the loss of 30,000 jobs. The NCB
     was simple: the weight of the resources com-      dismissed the story as speculation. But on 6th
     mitted by Government and employers and            March the recently appointed new NCB
     the failure of the labour movement as a           chief, Ian McGregor, announced that 20 pits
                                                                                                           were to close in the next year with the loss of
                                                                                                           20,000 jobs. This was a declaration of war
                                                                                                           on the miners.
                                                                                                               On 8th March the NUM national execu-
                                                                                                           tive committee (NEC) approved area strikes
                                                                                                           against pit closures for Scotland and York-
                                                                                                           shire and any other area prospectively. The
                                                                                                           NEC of the NUM had to approve NUM
                                                                                                           area strikes under the national rules for such
                                                                                                           strikes to be ‘official’. It resolved to do so by
                                                                                                           21 votes to three.
                                                                                                               The NUM did not call a national ballot,
                                                                                                           necessary under its rules for a national strike.
                                                                                                           This was not a decision of the NUM leader-
                                                                                                           ship, Scargill, Heathfield and McGahey; it
                                                                                                           was a decision of a national delegate confer-
                                                                                                           ence, binding on the leadership and the mem-
                                                                                                           bers. That did not affect the legality of the
                                                                                                           strikes called by NUM areas lawfully, in ac-
                                                                                                           cordance with their own rules and approved
                                                                                                           by the NEC. The NUM was, of course, a fed-


20 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
eration of unions and not a single union. Its     productive in the extreme and would proba-          NUM and its areas. These barred the use of
structure reflected its history from the found-   bly repel as many working miners as it would        the word ‘official’ in relation to the strike and
ing of the Miners’ Federation of Great            attract. The whole concept of the operation         the use of area funds on the illogical ground
Britain in 1889.                                  would be like the wartime Department of             that an area strike in accordance with its own
    Other NUM areas took the decision             Economic Warfare. In parallel with our De-          rules became unlawful because not sanc-
whether to strike in accordance with their        partment of Strategic Warfare we would try          tioned by a national ballot as part of a na-
own rules. Derbyshire was split. Notts was        to stimulate actions which would cost               tional strike. The NUM was put first into
overwhelmingly against a strike. Within a         Scargill so much money that it would reduce         receivership (Clarke v Heathfield) and then
fortnight 80 per cent of miners throughout        his ability to finance flying pickets. It was the   into sequestration (Taylor and Foulstone v
country were on strike.                           success of this area of operations which was        Yorkshire Area). Each area had its own so-
    On 14th March the NCB sought an in-           to progressively tie the NUM up in knots and        licitors (many represented by Thompsons)
junction against Yorkshire picketing which        ultimately may well have been the single            but the NUM nationally was represented by
was granted on 20th March. However, the           most important factor in bringing about an          Seifert Sedley, in particular by Mike Seifert,
injunction was never enforced or relied on        end to the strike.’                                 Sarah Burton and Jane Deighton who did a
and the NCB did not intervene legally again.         McGregor engaged an agent (David Hart)           truly magnificent job. The NUM survived
    Instead another stratagem was employed.       to travel the coal fields recruiting working        this onslaught, though we were almost con-
As McGregor wrote in his account of the           miners and gaining funding from sympa-              sistently unsuccessful in every hearing of
strike:’[…] I started thinking how I too could    thetic businesses and other bodies to institute     what ended up being 18 months full time
assist in supporting the [working miners]         legal actions against the NUM and its area          and exclusive work for the miners.
with their legal actions without being directly   unions. In consequence there were numerous              The litigation generated by the strike
                                                                                                                                                    L




involved. Any NCB action would be counter-        sets of injunction proceedings against the          went on long after the strike ended. The


                                                                                                                   Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 21
   L
       sequestration of the NUM was not lifted         the use of receivership in a trade union. In-        the passing of the Trade Disputes Act. This is
     until November 1986 and the receivership          dustrial action ballots and notices had been         notwithstanding that these restrictions are in
     not until June 1986. There was litigation         introduced in the Trade Union Act 1984 but           breach of international treaty obligations rat-
     consequent on the creation of the UDM, and        did not come into effect until after the min-        ified by the UK, as the supervisory bodies
     arising from the NCB’s discrimination in          ers’ strike. But the Employment Act 1988             have often told this and all previous govern-
     favour of the UDM over the NUM. Legal             was the Government’s response: the Com-              ments since 1989.
     advice was needed in 1990 when Scargill and       missioner for the Rights of Trade Union                  Working closely with the miners in their
     Heathfield were faced with outrageous and         Members, increased members’ rights to chal-          heroic struggle was a special privilege. The
     false allegations of misappropriation of huge     lenge union expenditure and discipline, ex-          sacrifice of their families was immense. Their
     sums from Libya and the Soviet Union              tensive rules for the election of senior officials   leaders were some of the most impressive,
     during the strike. It was two years before        and executive committees, inspection of              long thinking and principled people I have
     their names were cleared. In 1992 Mr Hes-         union books, bar on indemnification of               ever met. The criticisms of the leadership at
     eltine proposed the closure of 30 pits to com-    members’ fines, and so on. Thereafter the            the time and in the 25 years since are wholly
     plete the Tory attack on the miners. We           Tories introduced another half dozen anti-           unconvincing. What tactical and strategic
     challenged the process successfully by way of     union Acts. New Labour has maintained the            room for manoeuvre that was available was
     judicial review. 500,000 people demon-            tight regulation.                                    fully exploited. The fact is that the strike was
     strated in Hyde Park – public sympathy for            We have now ended up with a state of the         almost won in the winter of 1984-5. The
     the miners had not abated but the closures        law correctly described by Tony Blair in             weight of forces against the miners was and
     were merely deferred.                             March 1997 as leaving ‘British law the most          is obvious. As lawyers we were always
         The miners’ strike, of course, was the        restrictive on trade unions in the western           aware, for example, of the surveillance of
     anvil for new anti-union laws. The common         world’. British trade unions and trade union-        state security. It was a sensible precaution to
     law developed the interim declaration, and        ists have fewer rights now than in 1906 after        hold consultations in taxis and walking




     Southall: solidarity
     with samosas
     by Pragna Patel
             he 1984/85 miners’ strike attracted       Blair Peach – died at the hands of one or


     T       support from many different corners
             of this country. In Southall, amongst
             activists and ordinary people alike,
     there was visible support for the striking
     miners, their struggle for the right to work,
                                                       more police officers of the Special Patrol
                                                       Group in circumstances which have never
                                                       been properly investigated. This was a
                                                       memory frequently invoked in the support
                                                       shown by that very same community for the
     and their right to defend their communities       miners’ strike.
     in the face of state repression.                      For us, as black anti-racists and feminist
         Southall has its own memories of battles      activists working in Southall, the miners’
     against the state, so clearly symbolised by the   strike represented a moment in history that
     death of Blair Peach who died in the midst of     was pregnant with the possibilities of forg-
     the anti-racist mobilisation in 1979. That        ing unity between black and white people
     was a seminal moment in its history when, in      against inequality and injustice. We tried to
     a relatively rare act of unity, the predomi-      seize that moment. We recognised that there
     nantely Asian community – men and                 were immediate points of connection be-
     women, young and old – came forward to            tween our struggle against racism – on the
     defend itself against the National Front and      streets, in workplaces and in state institutions     man, not known for any recent gestures be-
     a police force which was intent on protecting     – and the miners’ struggle in their workplaces       traying any socialist values – came to the fore
     the rights of the fascists to march and hold      and in their communities. Perhaps the most           with his ability to get his business contacts
     meetings in ‘our’ community. Hundreds of          obvious point of connection between us was           to public meetings at which the doors would
     Asian youth were arrested, and one man –          the fact of police brutality. Margaret               be locked until and unless they made sub-
                                                       Thatcher’s decision to use the full might of         stantial contributions in money or kind. It
                                                       the state to crush the miners’ strike politi-        was he who tirelessly traipsed up and down
                                                       cised and militarised the police response in a       the streets with us, persuading and even forc-
                                                       way which was readily understood by many             ing shopkeepers to give food or other gener-
                                                       in black and Asian communities.                      ous provisions. And people gave generously,
                                                           The public meetings that we organised in         from tins of baked beans to crates of samosas
                                                       Southall often involved an unholy but pro-           and even crates of whisky which accompa-
                                                       ductive alliance between socialist activists         nied us on our solidarity delegations to the
                                                       and Asian business entrepreneurs who pro-            mining communities in Kent and Yorkshire,
                                                       vided the necessary resources (no doubt              where we were received with some consider-
                                                       through a sense of residual solidarity borne         able incredulity.
                                                       out of their previous incarnations as trade             Those delegations to Kent and Yorkshire
                                                       union activists and communists). Those busi-         provide the most poignant memories, in-
                                                       nessmen gave us a lesson – Indian style – on         volving not just black activists but also many
                                                       how to organise support. One in particular –         ordinary Asian women and children from
                                                       an enterprising if slightly eccentric business       refuges where they had sought sanctuary,

22 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
round the squares of Lincoln’s Inn. Seumas         rota so that there was always at least one       role in securing justice for some (at least) of
Milne’s book, The Enemy Within, gives an           woman lawyer in the car. Cars with men           the poor and oppressed, there is always a sat-
idea of the extent of covert state interference.   only – even wearing lawyers’ suits – were as-    isfying pleasure in being on the side you like
    At the end I felt that we lawyers had done     sumed to be pickets and were, without ex-        or support. For me it was, and remains, a
a good job. We had prevented the union been        ception, refused entry to Nottinghamshire on     very great honour to represent the NUM.
tied up in legal red tape. It did continue to      weekday mornings.                                Now with the Legal Services Act 2008, the
function to the end. It was not the legal             The long rota list of Haldane volunteers      independence of the Bar and with it the cab
process that defeated it.                          was very effective and very hard worked.         rank rule and access to the best advocates is
    During the strike the Haldane Society Em-      Magistrates Courts in Nottinghamshire (and       finally to be destroyed – another legacy of
ployment Committee was extremely active,           elsewhere) sat till late in the night imposing   the failure to resist neoliberalism 25 years
meeting weekly. Apart from raising funds, its      bail conditions and dispensing ‘justice’.        ago.
greatest achievement was setting up a legal           I fully supported the miners as did the           Like millions of others, on 4th March
service in Nottinghamshire where those on          Haldane Society and millions of ordinary         1985 I watched on TV the men, and the
strike ceased to have any support from their       folk. We all felt it was a principled struggle   banner and the band from Maerdy march-
area union (which became the UDM). The             against the worst excesses of Thatcherism        ing back to the pit at the end of the strike
service was centred on Ollerton Miners Wel-        and the preservation of the industrial and       and I wept.
fare. A full time co-ordinator was appointed       social concord on which had rested stability,    G John Hendy QC (Standing Counsel to the
and was answerable to the local strike com-        and a degree of social equality and mobility     NUM, though writing in a personal capacity;
mittee. Volunteer barristers and solicitors        since 1945.                                      member of Old Square Chambers; Visiting
went up daily. Since every road into Not-             Whilst I believe fundamentally in the cab     Professor in the Department of Law, King’s
tinghamshire had a police road block to pre-       rank rule for barristers which has played an     College, London; Chair of the Institute of
vent pickets it was necessary to organise the      important (though obviously incomplete)          Employment Rights)



                                                                                                    A Black workers’ delegation on the
                                                                                                    miners’ picket lines during the strike.
                                                                                                    The photograph was taken by
                                                                                                    Ammy Phull (the great banner
                                                                                                    was by Shakila Maan).




                                                                                                    anti-Rushdie march on the one hand and on
                                                                                                    the other an equally angry but smaller group
                                                                                                    of white fascists who came upon us as an
                                                                                                    easier target, we sought inspiration from the
                                                                                                    courage we had witnessed during the miners’
                                                                                                    strike. Ironically, at that point, it was the
                                                                                                    police who provided us with some protection
                                                                                                    from the hostility that was directed at us.
                                                                                                        It would be easy to paint a romantic pic-
                                                                                                    ture of the nature of the solidarity that ex-
                                                                                                    isted between the mining communities and
                                                                                                    black communities during the miners’ strike.
                                                                                                    The solidarity was momentary and not be-
                                                                                                    tween entire sections of both communities.
                                                                                                    But there were genuine attempts to forge al-
                                                                                                    liances between the different struggles in
                                                                                                    which we were involved – alliances which
                                                                                                    tried to confront, not just state oppression,
                                                                                                    but also those internal divisions of power
                                                                                                    within our communities which give rise to
having fled their own communities due to           people in general and Asian women in par-        other forms of oppression and inequality,
domestic violence. The feminists amongst us        ticular. In turn, we know we came back, not      and therefore questioned notions of commu-
were keen to show that the struggle for ‘our’      only with the songs and chants of solidarity     nity and community representation. We
communities necessarily involved the strug-        that we learnt on their picket lines, but also   sought to demonstrate that issues such as the
gle for women’s rights – another point of          a sense of their plain and simple courage in     right to work, police brutality, racism and
connection this time with the miners’ wives        the face of great adversity.                     women’s rights are all aspects of the same
who formed ‘Women Against Pit Closures’               Those lessons came to be put into prac-       struggle for equality and justice, and that we
The arrival of coach loads of black people,        tice in later years when, for example, we        cannot win any of those struggles at the ex-
including Asian women, with our food and           found ourselves standing up to the anti-         pense of other vulnerable or powerless sec-
our music, in mining communities where few         Rushdie demonstrations in 1989 with              tions of our communities – which is why
had encountered black people or eaten Asian        Women Against Fundamentalism, a small            progressive alliances are necessary. I do not
food before, must have been a sight to             group of black and white women who came          know whether or to what extent we suc-
behold. Sitting in their working men’s clubs,      together to oppose racism and to assert the      ceeded. What I do know is that in facing pre-
drinking and chatting, both sides were             rights of women to control their own minds       sent and future challenges, we should not
acutely conscious of the fact that we had oc-      and bodies in the face of the alarming rise of   forget these attempts to build a politics of
cupied parallel worlds until that point. We        fundamentalism in all religions. So, the song    solidarity – there are lessons to be learnt.
would like to think that our involvement as        ‘Arthur Scargill walks on water…’ became         G Pragna Patel (founding member of the
Asian women might have helped, not only            ‘We are women who walk on water/we are           Southall Black Sisters and Women Against
by showing our solidarity for communities          fighting for the future of our sons and daugh-   Fundamentalism, she has worked as a coordi-
which were otherwise under siege, but also to      ters...’. And, confronted by the angry and fa-   nator and senior caseworker for SBS from
dismantle their stereotypes about black            natical male demonstrators on the                1982 and is currently the chair)


                                                                                                                  Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 23
     It changed our
                                                                                                            ing me on the platform insisted on getting
                                                                                                            photographs taken alongside me and took
                                                                                                            home every Sinn Fein badge I had. One of
                                                                                                            them could not hide his glee at being able to

     view of the British                                                                                    show off the pictures and badges to his
                                                                                                            cousin when he got home. His cousin was
                                                                                                            the infamous Roy Mason who they said had
                                                                                                            insisted in bringing his Special Branch body-
                                                                                                            guards into their meetings when they were
                                                                                                            trying to organise flying pickets. I think at
     by Gerry MacLochlainn, Sinn Fein                                                                       that time he was more hated by his fellow
                                                                                                            Yorkshire NUM members than he was in
            or many people in Ireland the miners’       stated he could not understand that people          Derry and Belfast.


    F       Strike was a major political episode
            that changed the relationship between
            British and Irish people forever. Prior
     to that, Republicans, facing the might of the
     British state, would shout about the com-
                                                        gave so much when they had so little and it
                                                        was the army from his country who was op-
                                                        pressing these same people. As he sold his
                                                        ‘Dig Deep for the Miners’ stickers around the
                                                        bars he was given a rousing welcome in every
                                                                                                                It was in the few years that followed the
                                                                                                            strike that the monolithic British state atti-
                                                                                                            tude to Ireland began to crumble, and I
                                                                                                            cannot believe this is coincidental. The
                                                                                                            hunger strike had already shattered the illu-
     munity of interest between British working         Republican bar he visited. People explained         sion that Britain was involved in a struggle
     class people and oppressed people from other       that the struggle for freedom in Ireland was        with criminality in Ireland and within a short
     countries. But to be honest, this was not          the same fight as the right of working class        time we would see the state conspiracy that
     much more than left-wing rhetoric as the best      miners to work and have proper pay and              jailed the Guildford Four and Birmingham
     chance we had of running into a member of          conditions.                                         Six fall apart. A few years later the Tories
     the British working class here would be as he          We heard stories of miners, who had sons        would be forced into dialogue with Sinn Fein
     patrolled our streets in a British Army unit.      in the British army in Ireland, reaching out to     and the peace process would start putting
         But during the strike it became obvious        support Ireland’s right to independence,            down roots. By 1994, just 10 years later, the
     that the British state really had as little con-   telling us: ‘We can see your side of things for     first IRA cessation was announced and we
     cern for its own working class as it had for       the first time’. Others would tell of seeing rel-   could see the beginnings of the end for this
     Irish, Black, Asian or other people who had        atives in the British Army who were sup-            long war and the opening of a political way
     been victims of British Imperial expansion         posed to be serving in Ireland or elsewhere         forward to establish freedom for Ireland and
     over the centuries. Nightly we could see, on       appearing in police uniforms on foot, horse-        normal relations between our two countries.
     our televisions, reports of mass police raids,     back and with dogs charging 10,000 pickets              I am sure that many of the people in
     road blocks and baton charges, secret sur-         at the decisive ‘Battle of Orgreave’. It looked     Britain who played their part in bringing this
     veillance, and whole communities being             as if the violence that engulfed us in Ireland      about were educated in the nature of their
     placed under siege. Not new to us but this         was about to spread throughout Britain as           state by the treatment of the miners in 1984-
     time it was British people who were facing         Thatcher referred to the ‘enemies within’ and       85. They campaigned to ensure that future
     what we had grown up with.                         set about using the whole strength of her           governments would talk to Republicans and
         Soon we would welcome teams of striking        state to smash a union that the Tories had          agree the abandonment of British claims to
     miners into our homes and communities as           hated and feared since that same union              Ireland, allowing the emergence of peaceful
     they travelled to tell their story and to col-     brought down the Heath government.                  politics on this island and between this island
     lect funds to feed their communities as the            During that time I was privileged to rep-       and Britain.
     strike stretched over the months. One of the       resent Sinn Fein at a large ‘Black People Sup-      G Gerry MacLochlainn (a former political
     most memorable images of the miners’ strike        port the Miners Rally’ in the Greater London        prisoner in England and Sinn Fein representa-
     was of miners who had travelled to Ireland         Council Chamber, alongside representatives          tive in Britain on his release from gaol in 1984
     standing crying openly at the generosity of        of the ANC and the PLO. The hundreds                until his return to his native Derry where he is
     the Republican people as they collected in         jammed into the hall cheered to the rafters         now a councillor. For his support of the miners’
     areas like the Bogside, Ballymurphy and            as I was called forward to speak on behalf of       strike he was awarded honorary membership
     South Armagh. One miner who visited Derry          Sinn Fein. The two Yorkshire miners flank-          of the South Wales and Yorkshire NUM areas)


24 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
It changed miners’
                                                                                                    and as is said so often, things will never be
                                                                                                    the same again.’
                                                                                                        The Lothian Lesbian & Gay Miners’ Sup-
                                                                                                    port Group was set up in September 1984

views of gays                                                                                       with 12 members raising £40 a week for the
                                                                                                    White Craige strike centre in East Lothian.
                                                                                                        Lesbians Against Pit Closures, London,
                                                                                                    followed in November 1984, involving more
         efore the miners’ strike it would have   where Bronski Beat headed the bill; it raised     than 20 women. They collected £50 a week


B        been very hard to imagine a minibus
         driving round Dulais Valley in South
         Wales with the slogan ‘This vehicle
was donated by the Lesbians’ and Gay men’s
miners’ support group’ painted on its doors
                                                  £5,650. At the benefit David Donovan, a
                                                  South Wales miner, said:
                                                      ‘You have worn our badge, ‘Coal not
                                                  Dole’, and you know what harassment
                                                  means, as we do. Now we will pin your
                                                                                                    for the Rhodisia Women’s Action Group,
                                                                                                    Worksop, and said: ‘Women’s activities in the
                                                                                                    strike are obviously a major influence on us.’
                                                                                                        The lesbians’ and gay men’s support for
                                                                                                    the miners received good coverage in the left-
and dashboard. But, like many who sup-            badge on us, we will support you. It won’t        wing and trade union press. At the lesbians’
ported the miners, the solidarity showed by       change overnight, but now 140,000 miners          and gay men’s ‘fringe meeting’ attended by
the lesbian and gay community changed the         know that there are other causes and other        some 250 people, at the October 1984
way it, and the lesbian and gay struggle for      problems. We know about blacks, and gays,         Labour Party conference, the NUM (which
equality and basic rights, was viewed by the      and nuclear disarmament. And we will never        had dominated the conference) sent the fol-
miners for years to come.                         be the same.’                                     lowing message of support:
    In July 1984, the first Lesbians’ and Gay         The existence and activity of the various         ‘Support civil liberties and the struggle of
men’s miners’ support group was set up in         groups showed that many lesbians and gay          lesbian and gay people. We welcome the links
London and grew to 50 members within six          men supported the miners. As the Southamp-        formed with South Wales and other areas.
months. Responding to a survey carried out        ton group remarked in their response to the       Our struggle is yours. Victory to the miners.’
by the Labour Research Department, they said      Labour Research Department survey:                    And the Notts Women’s Support Groups,
that the formation of the group was ‘one of           ‘Our best personal experiences were           to whom the London Lesbians and Gay Men
the most important positive developments in       meeting miners who came to the city from          Support the Miners Group gave £250 in De-
London’s lesbian and gay community in 1984’.      Abercynon. After coming down here repeat-         cember 1984, wrote:
    By February 1985 there were eleven les-       edly and meeting politically active socialists,       ‘I am writing on behalf of the Notts
bians’ and gay men’s miners’ support groups       seeing them collect money, food and cloth-        Women’s Support Group to express to you
all over the country. The London group alone      ing and generally working in support of the       our gratitude for the support and solidarity
had collected over £11,000 over six months        strikers, their attitudes were forced to change   you have shown in forming the Lesbians &
through a mixture of pub, club and street col-    just by their own experiences, because they       Gay Men Support the Miners Group. We also
lections, benefits, parties and other events.     know we are just ordinary people, and             extend to you our total solidarity and sup-
The highlight event was undoubtedly the ‘Pits     people who support their struggle […]             port in your struggle against all forms of op-
and Perverts’ gig at the Electric Ballroom        They’ve had to change a lot of their attitudes    pression and prejudice on the grounds of
                                                                                                    sexuality. Our struggles are part and parcel
                                                                                                    of the same fight. In particular we are deeply
                                                                                                    grateful that you have consistently kept us in-
                                                                                                    formed as to your activities and have materi-
                                                                                                    ally contributed to support groups in order
                                                                                                    that the dispute can continue to victory.’
                                                                                                    G This article has been adapted from an article
                                                                                                    taken from Solidarity with the miners: actions
                                                                                                    and lessons from the Labour Research
                                                                                                    Department’s survey of over 300 miners’
                                                                                                    solidarity groups, August 1985, Labour
                                                                                                    Research Department.


                                                                                                                 Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 25
                                                        Haldane Society:
             he Great Miners’ Strike, which


     T       started in March 1984 and ended in
             March 1985, was the longest indus-
             trial action in a national industry cov-
     ering the whole of a country in the history of
     capitalism. It was also undoubtedly the most
     bitterly fought industrial dispute in Britain in
     the second half of the twentieth century.
                                                        our finest hour...
         The strike was deliberately provoked by
     the Tory Government led by Margaret
     Thatcher. This was partly motivated by re-
     venge for the defeat by the miners of an ear-
                                                        by Mike Seifert
     lier Tory Government led by Ted Heath and
     partly as the first and potentially the most
     telling blow in the Thatcher Government’s
     attempt to discredit and disarm the whole
     trade union movement.
         The strike was also notable for the bitter-
     ness of language on both sides. The NUM
     knew that this was a politically motivated
     attack on their union and on the whole trade
     union movement and they were prepared to
     fight to the bitter end. Thatcher, typically,
     upped the stakes by comparing the miners to
     the Argentinean army during the Falklands
     war. ‘We have defeated the external enemy,’
     she declared, ‘now we will defeat the enemy
     within’.
         The struggle was so intense and so bitter
     that there was tragically (but not entirely un-
     expectedly) a widespread loss of nerve in the
     leadership of the Labour Party and among
     many trade union leaders. Things got so bad
     that people who had been colleagues over
     many years severed all relations which were            To put it into context. The Nottingham       strikers. The Chief Constable of Notting-
     never resumed. For example Jim Mortimer,           coalfield was the second largest after York-     hamshire became a watch word for anti-
     the General Secretary of the Labour Party at       shire. But unlike Yorkshire the Notts area       union right wing politics in the police thereby
     the time, was a fervent supporter of the           NUM suffered a disastrous split with a large     encouraging the most violent, illegal behav-
     miners and their struggle. The leader of the       majority breaking away and, after a number       iour by his officers against the picket lines.
     Labour Party, Neil Kinnock, refused to sup-        of major legal battles, seizing the assets and      At the very beginning of the strike I was
     port the miners and Jim was from then on           property of the area NUM. This left a mi-        asked by the NUM to negotiate with the
     unable to be anywhere near him without             nority (albeit of several thousand) who con-     Chief Constable and a meeting was arranged
     feeling physically sick.                           tinued with the strike to the very end. These    at his fortress-like premises in Nottingham
         Inevitably, the opponents of the strike had    brave miners and their families in many ways     Forest. I had dealt with some of the most
     to shelter behind a myriad of excuses – the        faced the sharpest struggle of all for a         brutal senior police officers in the country –
     most common of which was that the NUM              number of reasons.                               such as the notorious Commander Bond of
     had not held a ballot. Without going into the          Not only were their assets seized by the     the Special Branch, a violent man to whom
     constitutional niceties this was nothing more      strike breakers but they faced the most savage   lying was second nature. But my treatment in
     than a sham – a smoke screen to disguise           and concerted police action of any group of      Nottingham when I remonstrated with the
     their fear of mass action by workers. In a                                                          Chief Constable about the illegal violence
     nutshell, you were either for the miners or                                                         used by his men against perfectly lawful pick-
     against them: there was no room for sitting                                                         ets, was extraordinary. Suffice it to say that
     on the fence.                                                                                       when I refused to accept his anti-union
         In this fraught atmosphere the Haldane                                                          polemic and argued back, quoting the law at
     Society played an outstanding, honourable                                                           him in front of his senior officers, he threat-
     role. The Society gave unstinting support to                                                        ened to personally throw me out of the
     the miners in their struggle.                                                                       premises. He was a large irascible man and
         Individual members of the Haldane Soci-                                                         had to be restrained by the intervention of
     ety worked tirelessly in the criminal and civil                                                     two of his senior officers.
     courts all over the country on behalf of the                                                           The violent almost fascistic attitude and
     miners. Payment was very much a secondary                                                           behaviour of the Chief Constable permeated
     consideration. It would be invidious to name                                                        the whole of the police force in Nottingham.
     individuals as every Haldane member did                                                             Dozens and later hundreds of miners were
     what they were asked to do and no member                                                            beaten up on the picket lines and dragged
     – so far as I am aware – shrank from doing                                                          before the courts.
     whatever was asked of them.                                                                            At first, my law firm (Seifert Sedley) was
         Perhaps the most outstanding achieve-                                                           able to deal with these cases. Young solici-
     ment of the Society as a whole was the                                                              tors and trainees, most notably Jane
     staffing from the early summer of 1984 to                                                           Deighton, Gracia Stephenson, Sarah Burton,
     the end of the strike some nine months later                                                        Jim Nichol and Steve Cottingham, went
     of what amounted to a law centre in Mans-                                                           from our office on a regular basis to Not-
     field – the hub of the Nottinghamshire area                                                         tingham. In spite of us later on sending other
     of the NUM – to serve the striking miners                                                           people from the firm such as Vicky Guedalla
     and their families.                                                                                 and Louise Christian, the increasing volume


26 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
of violent unlawful arrests and other legal
problems made it impossible for one medium
sized law firm to cope. No local solicitors
were prepared to lift a finger to help the
strikers and their families.
    At this point the Haldane Society rose
magnificently to the challenge. Despite the
calumnies of the right wing media and the
pusillanimous attitude of Labour Party and
trade union leaders, the Society was able to
set up a legal advice centre in Mansfield for
all striking miners, their families and sup-
porters. I managed to organise professional
indemnity insurance to cover the operation
and Seifert Sedley also covered all expenses
and incidental costs, and some of the work.
Jane Deighton in particular was part of the
Haldane team up to the end of the strike.
    The Haldane members defended pickets
in the criminal courts and pursued claims
against the most brutal of the police officers
in the civil courts. Just as importantly for
keeping the strike going and on a human
level, Haldane members advised about claim-
ing maximum benefits to feed the families
after Thatcher had shamefully slashed social
security entitlements for strikers. Advice on
housing and a whole host of other matters
(including even defamation) was provided by
Haldane volunteers.
    For our pains, Seifert Sedley (who for
technical reasons had to front the Haldane
law service) were subjected to a barrage of
complaints to the Law Society from local law
firms, none of whom were prepared to give
any assistance whatsoever to the strikers.
The complaints of professional misconduct
included poaching clients by undercutting
fees (i.e. the Haldane giving free legal advice)
and advertising for clients by circulating
striking miners with details of where they
could obtain free legal advice. I attended the
Law Society on several occasions in order to
defend our position and was able to fend off
allegations of professional misconduct.
    No account of the Haldane Legal Advice
Centre in Nottingham during the strike
would be complete without touching on the
extraordinary personal friendships which de-
veloped over the months. The learning
process was inspiring, particularly for the
lawyers but also for the miners and their
families. For example, when Gracia Stephen-
son went to Mansfield very few, if any, black
women had been involved with the NUM
and indeed with the mining communities.
Her astute legal mind and considerable per-
sonal charm rapidly allayed any doubts there
might have been.
    But it was the Haldane members who
learned most about class struggle and work-
ing class solidarity in the teeth of a concerted
and vicious onslaught.
    Those were truly unique and challenging
times and the Haldane Society and its mem-
bers memorably rose to the challenge. It
should be a source of great pride to all Hal-
dane Society members that when called
upon to support the Notts miners who were
under the cosh both physically and
metaphorically, they rallied round without
a moment’s hesitation.
G Michael Seifert (one of the Vice-
Presidents of the Haldane Society)


                                                   Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 27
 Recent Haldane lectures and meetings have
 been lively and timely. Here we print an extract
 from Eamonn McCann’s lecture on ‘The
 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement 40 years
 on’ while Kat Craig reports on our meeting to
 commemorate the life of Rosemary Nelson




GLOBAL
GLIMPSE
 One of the loudest cheers I heard in the Bog-
 side during the civil rights era came in response
                                                       makes glancing reference to Belfast and
                                                       Bernadette Devlin, but clearly sees the struggle
 to the cry: ‘The whole black nation has to be         in the North as having been a distracting
 put together as a black army, and we’re gonna         sideshow. Commentators with a more acerbic
 walk on this nation, we’re gonna walk on this         view of the 1968 events likewise consign
 racist power structure and we’re going to say         Northern Ireland to the margins of what mat-
 to the whole damn government – “STICK                 ters.
 ‘EM UP MOTHERFUCKER, this is a hold-                      To insist on the relevance of global events
 up, we’ve come for what’s ours...”‘                   then, is to venture onto ground which has been
     The declaration was the last item in the 10       little disturbed by the stomp of the standard-
 point programme of the Black Panther Party            issue chroniclers who assume that Northern
 (BPP), enunciated in rich, booming R&B tones          Ireland can be understood entirely, and cannot
 on the soundtrack of a film projected against         be understood other than, in terms of Orange
 the gable which was later to become Free              versus Green. Forty years on, this applies par-
 Derry Wall in the small hours of a riotous            ticularly to the players and commentators who
 night. The cheer, I think, had as much to do          marched lock-stepped towards the segregation
 with the liberating daring of the language as         settlement of April 1998 – the ‘Belfast’ or
 with the sentiment of the slogan. But the reac-       ‘Good Friday Agreement’: referred to only as
 tion did signal the extent to which young             the ‘Multi-Party Agreement’ in the text –
 Bogsiders felt a connection, even a sense of          hymning Harry Chapin’s 1972 hit – ‘Flowers
 fellow-feeling, with the Panthers, then under         are red young man/Green leaves are
 murderous assault by the Feds and local police        green/There’s no need to see flowers any other
 forces across the US.                                 way/Than they way they always have been
     The fact that there was an international di-      seen.’ Those who support a settlement which
 mension to the North’s civil rights movement          allocates every citizen of the North to the
 has virtually been written out of history. In         Orange camp or the Green camp and which
 part, this reflects the chronic insularity of Irish   requires sectarian politics to continue to dom-
 historiography. But that cannot be the whole          inate will tend naturally to present all that has
 reason. The North is scarcely mentioned in ac-        gone before in Orange-Green terms.
 counts of 1968 generally. Tariq Ali, in his reg-          The belief or hope of the left at the time had
 ular regurgitations of his ‘68 experience,            been that we could paint the future any colour

28 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
Pictures: Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk




                                            we chose, that we were not fated merely to
                                            continue our history but could conquer it. We
                                            did not, of course. But it is a matter of record
                                            and still needs saying that, in Derry at least,
                                            the activists who triggered the civil rights cam-
                                            paign did not see themselves as Orange or
                                            Green, but of a hue which we believed would
                                            in time (and maybe not very much of it), oblit-
                                            erate the colour-coding of religious division
                                            which long had provided the template for Irish
                                            (especially Northern Irish) politics. We had
                                            had a glimpse – no more – of possibilities
                                            beyond the old limits of thought.
                                                Northern Ireland in that interlude fitted
                                            naturally enough into a thrilling narrative un-
                                            folding across the world. If the revolutionary
                                            perspective soon faded in the North, giving
                                            way again to the old conflict which advocates
                                            of communal politics felt comfortable with,
                                            well so did the conventional pattern of social
                                            democracy versus conservatism reassert itself
                                            across Western Europe. Republican and De-
                                            mocratic Parties in the United States resumed
                                            ritual contestation of the narrow ground be-
                                            tween them, Stalinism re-emerged in Poland,
                                            Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc. Business as
                                            usual, up to a point.
                                                Now there are those in Northern Ireland
                                            who style themselves as anti-imperialists but
                                            who will not say boo to an arms company
                                            which fuels imperialist war for profit lest they
                                            make enemies of corporate America. When the
                                            Raytheon 9, members of the Derry Anti-War
                                            Coalition myself among them, occupied and
                                            ‘decommissioned’ the arms company’s Derry
                                            plant in August 2006 in a successful effort to
                                            disrupt production of military equipment
                                            being used in Israel’s assault on Lebanon, the
                                            main nationalist parties, the SDLP and Sinn
                                            Fein, self-proclaimed opponents of the arms
                                            trade and Israeli aggression, denounced the
                                            action because of the likelihood it would alien-
                                            ate US business and political interests which
                                            might otherwise take a positive approach to
                                            Derry’s economic needs and nationalist con-
                                            cerns.
                                                Opposition to imperialism and war profi-
                                            teering, like solidarity with the victims of
                                            racism in the 1960s, is subjected to the needs
                                            of ‘our community’ vis-à-vis ‘the other side’.
                                            Not that ‘our community’ benefited one bit in
                                            either instance although there are sometimes,
                                            of course, political and personal benefits for
                                            those who flip-flop into the arms of the US
                                            ruling class. To this extent, the flip-floppers
                                            can be said to have prospered.
                                                In contrast, the socialist adventurism of the
                                            late sixties is commonly said to have ended in
                                            personal and political disappointment and
                                            eventually to have been revealed as no more
                                            than a brief flurry of sanguine naivety. But
                                                                                            L




                                            that’s not the only way to understand the

                                                      Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 29
L

 period. The ideas of internationalism and           US ruling class and gave a huge boost to the
 revolt from below which animated young              morale of anti-imperialists everywhere.
 people around the globe 40 years ago are, I            Martin Luther King was assassinated in
 dare say, more relevant in the globalised pre-      Memphis in April. What followed across the
 sent than they were in the heady days of gas        US was characterised in the media as ‘riots’. A
 and barricades in the Bogside. It is the current    better word would have been ‘uprising’. Thou-
 sharp relevance of the global context which         sands of young people stormed out from
 makes it imperative to see the Northern Ire-        African American neighbourhoods to tear
 land events of the late sixties against the back-   down symbols of the system and engage in
 ground of the war, tumult and repression            hand-to-hand combat with the uniformed rep-
 which was raging across the world at the time.      resentatives of oppressive authority. Many
    January 1968 saw uprisings in every city in      moved away from the moderate politics of Dr.
 Vietnam and the seizure by the Viet Cong of         King and turned towards the Panthers and
 part of the US embassy in Saigon. US soldiers       other uncompromising groups. A few weeks
 battled for weeks to retake the ancient capital,    later, at a sit-down protest on the lower deck
 Hue. Outside Hue, a US general uttered the          of Craigavon Bridge, Roddy Carlin struck up
 immortal words: ‘We had to destroy the city in      a chorus of the song most associated with
 order to free it.’ The fact that an army of poor    King, ‘We Shall Overcome’. By the end of
 peasants could take on and push back the            Roddy’s rendition, the crowd of a couple of
 forces of the greatest power on earth had a         hundred (it’s a very easy song to learn) was
 shattering effect on the self-confidence of the     singing lustily along.




 Ten years after: remembering Rosemary


‘IFNOT M
 Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor in Lurgan, a
 small town in County Armagh, Northern Ire-
 land. Much of her work was ‘bread and but-
 ter’ conveyancing and family law but her rep-
                                                     ended and made no notes of what they had
                                                     witnessed before going off duty that night.
                                                         After the investigation into the attack had
                                                     been opened, further concerns arose about
                                                                                                        in a series of death threats – she had suf-
                                                                                                        fered continual verbal and physical harass-
                                                                                                        ment – directed against her and her three
                                                                                                        children, from both loyalist paramilitaries and
 utation in the community for being                  the close ties between the investigating offi-     the RUC. During the last years of her life she
 committed to fighting injustice led to her          cers and the suspects. One officer con-            was told by various clients that RUC officers
 being instructed on some of the most politi-        tacted a suspect by telephone, tipping him         had made her the target of abusive, insulting
 cally charged cases of the time. Rosemary           off about his imminent arrest. Family mem-         and demeaning remarks. Her clients told her
 represented many defendants associated              bers of the suspects provided false informa-       that when they were interrogated by the RUC
 with armed sectors of the Republican strug-         tion in an attempt to absolve them, but when       the officers would often suggest that they
 gle, including members of the Provisional           this came to light no action was taken by the      should obtain another lawyer because she
 IRA, and others accused of terrorism. But           police despite this deliberate attempt to per-     would soon be dead. Rosemary was also
 Rosemary also acted for the Garvaghy Road           vert the course of justice. Shortly after          threatened directly by the RUC, and suffered
 tenants in their efforts to prevent the Orange      Robert’s death the RUC started spreading           physical assaults from individual members
 Lodge parade passing through their com-             misinformation that he had died as a result of     of the force. During a disturbance at the Gar-
 munity in a blatant attempt to provoke and          a riot between two large groups. Robert was        vaghy Road, where Rosemary heard an offi-
 intimidate residents.                               with one other male and two young women            cer threaten a local member of the commu-
     Perhaps most notably, Rosemary repre-           when he was attacked.                              nity and tried to intervene, she was grabbed
 sented the family of Robert Hamill who died             Rosemary worked tirelessly to prove state      by the officer, dragged into a crowd of other
 at the age of 25 after being repeatedly             collusion with the loyalist paramilitaries but     RUC officers, spat at, assaulted and called a
 kicked in the head in a sectarian attack in         this tenacity and courage was at the even-         ‘Fenian fucker’.
 1997. Robert was walking home from a                tual cost of her life. On 15th March 1999              In 1998, the United Nations Special Rap-
 dance when he was set upon by                                  Rosemary got into her car and left      porteur on the Independence of Judges and
 a large group of loyalists just                                her home in Lurgan. The car             Lawyers, Param Curamaswamy, noted these
 returned by bus from a rugby                                   exploded as a result of a car bomb      threats in his annual report, and stated in a
 match. At the time, four mem-                                  fitted underneath the car. Rose-        television interview that he believed Rose-
 bers of the Royal Ulster Con-                                  mary died of her injuries the same      mary’s life could be in danger. He also found
 stabulary (RUC) were sitting in a                              day. A loyalist paramilitary group      that solicitors in Northern Ireland were sub-
 car only 20 feet from the attack,                              claimed responsibility for the death,   ject to systemic intimidation and harassment
 with the local (and well-manned)                               but her murder has been dogged          by the RUC, and that there was a compelling
 police station only minutes away.                              by claims of collusion between her      need for the Government to provide the nec-
 Despite repeated requests, they                                killers and the Royal Ulster Con-       essary protection whenever the physical
 did not intervene or assist                                    stabulary / British Army.               integrity of a barrister or solicitor was threat-
 Robert. They did not declare a                                      The weekend before her death,      ened. He made various recommendations to
 crime scene after the attack had                               Rosemary had received the latest        the British Government concerning threats

30 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
    In May, Paris erupted. Students built barri-      at the time, has been exposed in the interim as      derstand those who struggle elsewhere along
 cades in the streets around the Sorbonne uni-        sheer light-mindedness, charming in its way          the same lines as ourselves not only as cam-
 versity and drove the police from the vicinity.      and reflecting an era of innocence, but of no        paigners we sympathise with but also and
 Factories and offices emptied as workers,            relevance even in rhetorical terms to modern         more importantly as part of the same move-
 against the urging of trade union leaders,           material reality. There are few propositions         ment pitched against the same force.
 struck in solidarity. The 10 million strong stop-    farther than this from the truth.                        The point is made more sharply by consid-
 page which followed was the biggest strike ever          Internationalism is more relevant today          eration of campaigns against the widening in-
 in Europe. The notion of the struggle across         than ever – not because anti-capitalists wish it     equalities between the rich and the rest of us
 the world as historic, seismic, the defining clash   so but because capitalism itself, the never-         across the world. The crisis of capitalism
 of our time, was not entirely fantastical.           ending source of our political ills, has never       which shuddered the world in 2008 and
    Each upsurge of struggle sent out a flurry of     been more integrated on a global scale. For so-      brought the lines of class division into sharp
 sparks which helped ignite struggle elsewhere.       cialists, the basis of internationalism has never    relief is not amenable to solution in any one
 Everywhere some who had become involved              lain in fellow-feeling with struggles which co-      country – not even the economic super-power
 in protest politics on account of grievances         incide with or parallel to our own – although        America. The same banks, the same bail-outs,
 particular to their own community or group,          the sentiment would be a start – but in under-       the same interlinked issues. If we hold on to
 saw that they were not alone, either in the          standing that because those who run the world        the memory of 1968, draw out the lessons, the
 nature of their oppression or in the fight for its   in the interests of the rich are organised across    best is still to come. I
 overthrow. The last resort analysis of reformed      countries and continents, so must opponents
 radicals and other respectable sorts has it that     of capitalism be if we are to confront them in       Eamonn McCann is a journalist and socialist
 this internationalist spirit, which might have       appropriate array, in a formation which makes        and was one of the founders of the Civil Rights
 struck even level-headed people as reasonable        victory possible at least. We must see and un-       movement in Derry




Nelson


E: WHO?’
 from police against lawyers, which were not
 acted upon.
     The killing of Rosemary Nelson occurred
 10 years and one month after the murder of
                                                      els, and she was killed for saying it.’ When
                                                      asked why Rosemary continued her work in
                                                      the face of such threats she is said to have
                                                      responded: ‘If not me, who?’
                                                                                                               Rosemary’s inquiry has indeed proved to
                                                                                                           be entirely inadequate. Her family’s legal
                                                                                                           representatives have no right to put ques-
                                                                                                           tions directly to the witness, undermining any
 Patrick Finucane in February 1989. In light of           After years of campaigning, a public             ability for tenacious questioning. Gareth
 this, it would be reasonable to expect that          inquiry into Rosemary’s death was opened in          Peirce expressed serious doubts about the
 governmental agencies would take a very              April 2008 under the controversial Inquiries         value of the inquiry at all. She called it ‘a
 serious view of threats to lawyers, particularly     Act 2005. Amnesty International has asked            tenth rate pretence of a public inquiry’ and
 those that were defending people charged             members of the British judiciary not to serve        added that it seemed a very long time to wait
 with terrorist offences. But when Downing            on any inquiry held under the Act, stating that      for a useless inquiry into the death of a
 Street and the Northern Ireland Office direc-        ‘any inquiry would be controlled by the execu-       woman executed with the help of the authori-
 tor of security, David Watkins, were warned of       tive which is empowered to block public              ties. This has done little to dispel assertions
 the risk to Rosemary’s life the only help            scrutiny of state actions’. Peter Cory, the Cana-    that Downing Street never wanted a truth
 offered was protection provided by the               dian Judge commissioned by the British and           commission because it would put the state
 source she said threatened her life, the RUC.        Irish governments to investigate the possibility     under scrutiny for its own sponsorship of ter-
     Jeremy Hardy, comedian and friend of             of state collusion in six key cases, has also        rorism, and expose the allegations that loyal-
 Rosemary’s, worked closely with her on the           been highly critical of the Act. His investiga-      ist hit squads were an auxiliary to the British
 Robert Hamill campaign. Chairing the Hal-            tions resulted in a recommendation in 2004           security state.
 dane’s commemorative lecture at Garden               that public inquiries be held into the deaths of         It is clear that there is much left to be done
 Court Chambers on 16th March 2009, he                Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finnucane, Robert               to hold those responsible for Rosemary’s
 described Rosemary as a brave and cheer-             Hamill and Billy Wright, a former member of          murder, and the murder of many others, to
 ful woman who used the law to empower                the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and leader of       account. And although the legal mecha-
 people. He explained that Rosemary always            the extremist Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)         nisms inquiring into Rosemary’s death paint
 strongly suspected she would be killed, but          assassinated in prison by the Irish National         a depressing picture of failures to expose
 that she would not be deterred from her              Liberation Army (INLA) in 1997. Cory has             collusion and the darkest workings of the
 work. Imran Khan and Gareth Peirce, who              strongly condemned the Inquiries Act, stating        state, Rosemary’s life was an inspiration for
 had both worked closely with Rosemary,               that: ‘[I]t seems to me that the proposed new        progressive lawyers, and all those who
 similarly praised her work. Gareth told of           Act would make a meaningful inquiry impos-           struggle for justice. The responsibility to face
 Rosemary’s integrity and bravery, going in           sible. The Commissions would be working in           this injustice without fear, regardless of intimi-
 and out of Long Kesh prison regularly,               an impossible situation. For example, the            dation and risk, is what made Rosemary Nel-
 despite the stigma attached to those repre-          Minister, the actions of whose ministry was to       son a remarkable woman and an excep-
 senting alleged terrorists. She also spoke of        be reviewed by the public inquiry, would             tional lawyer. I
 Rosemary’s efforts to expose state involve-          have the authority to thwart the efforts of the
 ment in many of her cases: ‘Rosemary tried           inquiry at every step. It really creates an intol-   Kat Craig is editor of Socialist Lawyer and a
 to say there was collusion at the highest lev-       erable Alice in Wonderland situation.’               solicitor at Christian Khan Solictors

                                                                                                                     Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 31
GAZA &ISRAEL’S WAR CR




             he brutal attacks on Gaza illustrate




 T
                                                     Amira’s story
             the failure of international law. The   ‘My name is Amira, I am 48 years old. I have
             law both failed to prevent Israel at-   three children aged 19, 16 and 14. Every night
             tacking Gaza and also failed to pro-    I doubt that tomorrow will come and I will see
             tect civilians and the civilian         the light of day again. Living without electricity,
             infrastructure during the course of     without water is not easy. We have been cut off
 the conflict. Of 1,434 Palestinians killed in the   from the world for three weeks now. The bombs
 invasion, 960 were civilians, including 121         during this attack are different to the ones that
 women and 288 children. Schools, mosques,           we usually hear, their sound is so high, I had
 hospitals and government infrastructure vital       never heard anything like it before this attack.
 for the functioning of society, were damaged        Last night I could not make my legs stop shak-
 and destroyed as well as the power, water and       ing, I was shaking because it is very cold, and we
 sewage systems.                                     have nothing to warm us, only our clothes and
    The appointment of Richard Goldstone,            blankets. But we don’t even have enough of
 the former war crimes prosecutor from South         these as we are now sharing our house with our
 Africa, to head a fact-finding team into possi-     neighbours who had to flee their own house as
 ble war crimes is an important step in the right    it was bombed and completely burnt out last
 direction. Goldstone was one of 16 leading          night. This is all adding to my state of anxiety.
 war crimes investigators and judges who had         My neighbor is terrified, especially as she had
 urged the United Nations in an open letter, to      to flee her home, she can’t sleep. We had to give
 launch a full inquiry into possible war crimes      her a pill to help her sleep tonight.
 committed in Gaza, stating they were ‘shocked           You know, since the siege began and the Is-
 to the core’ by events in Gaza. The question        raelis stopped most things coming into Gaza,
 then is what happens if there are findings of       we had to use our own electricity motors to
 war crimes? There is little prospect of any         light up our homes. But since the war started
 prosecutions in the International Criminal          we have not been able to buy benzene for the
 Court as any such move would almost cer-            motors and so we haven’t had electricity. Just
 tainly be vetoed by the United States and prob-     for a start this means that there’s been so many
 ably by the United Kingdom. Activist lawyers        times I haven’t been able to charge my mobile
 using universal Jurisdiction, in countries such     phone and this makes me furious as I feel so
 as Spain and in Britain may have more suc-          isolated from the world. We also don’t have
 cess, even if it only succeeds in preventing the    landlines as the phone lines in our neighbor-
 Israeli commanders from travelling abroad.          hood were cut during the bombardment.
    We should support the struggle by the                This is not a normal attack; this is an attack
 people of Gaza for accountability and justice,      on all of us. I haven’t been out of the house yet,
 and that should include individual criminal         but I am afraid of what I will see after this war
 prosecutions. It is vital that we remember and      is finished. I keep thinking of all the people
 support those people whose lives were devas-        who lost their homes – where are they going
 tated by the attacks. The story that follows is     to go after the war is finished? Many of them
 just one of many testimonies gathered from          are having to live in schools and this worries
 women living in Gaza during the brutal on-          the families as well as the students who are sup-
 slaught.                                            posed to study there. I imagine that the situa-

32 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
IMES: A WOMAN’S STORY




                                                                                                                  Pictures: Ayman Mohyeldin
       tion will be very difficult – more than my mind      finish us all off once and for all, that this would
       can think of right now. I also keep thinking         be better than living with the feeling of waiting
       about those who have lost somebody, a father,        for my turn, or my children’s turn to die. I feel
       a mother, a sister a brother or whatever rela-       that nowhere in Gaza is safe and that things
       tive, how can they be compensated? You can           are even worse after they bombarded the UN
       never compensate for the death of a loved one.       school that was shelter for the many families
          There is so much news, information and            who fled or whose homes were destroyed. At
       small details that my mind has not been able to      least 40 of the parents and the children who
       absorb. I’ll tell you the story of a friend of my    were staying there were killed. On top of that
       son. His father was killed along with another        the hospital was also attacked. So this means to
       six relatives from the same family. He was able      me that there is no safe place at all, everywhere
       to recognise his father from the eye glasses his     can and is being attacked.
       father was wearing; people are saying they were          Last night was horrible, there was bom-
       burnt with white phosphorus.                         bardment during all the hours of the day and
          I feel that each one us is only able to see and   night. It was non-stop; I seriously thought that
       worry about his or her own little world, her         any of the bombs was going to land in my
       family, her friends and even that is too much        house. Every time I hear the sound of a bomb,
       sometimes. I feel humanity and the concept of        I feel that it is coming for us in my house. Every
       humanity has been killed during this war. The        sound I hear feels like a bomb coming for me.
       crime being committed here is enormous, and          Every time there is bombing, the houses and all
       human dignity is being trampled on. I feel as if     the windows shake – it feels like a warning.
       we are the criminals for being alive.                    I am also afraid that after all the pain during
          Sometimes I feel that the Israelis should just    this war, we will just go back again to living
                                                            under siege. If I knew that after this war the
                                                            siege would be lifted I would still have a little
                                                            hope, but it terrifies me to think that after this
                                                            war ends, the siege will continue as if nothing
                                                            had happened – that all the restrictions on elec-
                                                            tricity, food, basic goods will continue and we
                                                            will remain trapped here unable to leave, even
                                                            to visit friends and family in the West Bank.
                                                                You know what? We will all need therapy to
                                                            be able to look at our lives, ourselves and what
                                                            has happened with some perspective. The
                                                            pharmacist told me the other day that what
                                                            most people wanted were pills for the nerves.
                                                            This was before the war. I wonder if a pill will
                                                            be enough after the war.’ I

                                                            As told to Soraida Hussein from the
                                                            Women's Centre for Legal Aid and
                                                            Counselling, Ramallah.

                                                                      Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 33
 Obituaries
 Steve Cohen
 Steve Cohen died peacefully at home in the early hours of               Tory cuts that it had been elected to oppose).
 Sunday 8th March 2009.                                                      And third, through taking the slogan ‘No One Is Illegal’
     ‘Peaceful’ is the last adjective that anyone would use about        and turning it into an organisation, with publications and con-
 the rest of his life. Battling against the state, local and national,   ferences, at the same time as assisting individuals who came to
 battling with the legal profession, and with the left (in all its       Steve for personal advice, or whom he just seemed to come
 many forms), and finally battling against long term disability,         across and encouraged. Campaigning against all immigration
 illness and death.                                                      controls and all deportations was not inconsistent with taking
     There are many friends, many individuals and families who           up individual campaigns. Notably the latter included such as
 won their campaigns, and many immigration legal practi-                 Mansoor and Aqila Hassan, fleeing persecution in Pakistan
 tioners who knew Steve for longer and better than I did. The            because of their journalistic attacks on government corrup-
 immediate testimony to this was the hundreds who packed                 tion and honour killings, and Samina Altaf, herself disabled,
 into the (first) memorial for his life, on the Thursday after he        with two children in need of NHS treatment in order to pre-
 died. A further memorial is planned for July. And just a few            vent the onset of their own disability, who were then threat-
 weeks earlier Lord Justice Sedley (who supervised Steve’s bar-          ened by Labour’s introduction of the inhumane Section 9, of
 rister pupillage) had given me his personal best wishes to pass         the bizarrely titled Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of
 on to Steve.                                                            Claimants etc) Act 2004. Section 9 would have forced Samina
     Ironically the memorial was held in Manchester town hall,           ‘voluntarily’ to leave the country, or have her children taken
 the premises of the Manchester council over whom Steve had              into care.
 just won a major victory – to retain the personal carers who                Steve ensured that Samina got legal representation, that
 had been supporting him in his own home, rather than to suc-            she took her struggle to the disability organisations (sadly less
 cumb to the privatised and more anonymous service resulting             than welcoming – which led Steve to a battle on another front)
 from the council’s embracing of the individualistic free market         and that she confronted press and politicians (leading to front
 ‘direct payment’ scheme which they are forcing upon disabled            page Guardian coverage thanks to the personal support of
 people.                                                                 journalist David Ward). Her local MP, one Hazel Blears, was
     Steve had approached this very personal struggle in the             less fulsome. She seemed to run away from every local con-
 same way as every other he took up – with an element of the             stituency surgery which Samina and her supporters had
 law but with a preponderance of a campaign. Caseworkers he              promised to attend.
 supervised report that when asking Steve’s advice about legal               The leading campaign against Section 9 was the Sukula
 merits he would always look at them and simply tell them to             family in Bolton. Again Steve’s role, from the confines of his
 ‘start a campaign’.                                                     flat, was crucial – supporting, encouraging and connecting the
     Because that was what he had always done. First, through            family and their supporters, while demanding, attacking and         Steve Cohen:
 South Manchester Law Centre, with Nasira Begum and par-                 condemning the Government and the local councils who                1945-2009
 ticularly Anwar Ditta, who has continued to campaign herself            might have implemented this Section. I had taken Steve to one
 ever since her victory in gaining reunion with her children.            of the Sukulas’ public meetings and we both realised that the
 Second, through the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid                  chair, Florence Okolo, who had won her own campaign with
 Unit, which he and I helped to set up (a struggle in itself at a        Steve’s help in the 1990s, was starting a eulogy of Steve per-
 time when Manchester’s Labour Council was implementing                  sonally. There was no way out. Muttering under his breath




   Paul O’Higgins
   Professor Paul O’Higgins who              Haldane Society records his              as a vet, having fought with the       He was called to the Bar by the
   died on 13th March 2008 at 80             achievement.                             British army in the first world war    King’s Inns. He then returned to
   years of age, was an internation-             For much of his professionally       with distinction (two MCs). His        England and went to Clare Col-
   ally renowned academic labour             active life, he was based in Cam-        mother lectured in Italian litera-     lege where he wrote a PhD
   lawyer and Vice-President of the          bridge University, initially as a re-    ture at Trinity College, Dublin.       thesis on political asylum which
   Haldane Society. A year on, the           search student at Clare College              Paul started school in Pinner      was very highly thought of. He
                                             (1957-1959) and thereafter as a          in Middlesex, but continued his        was also called to the Bar by
                                             Fellow at Christ’s College where         schooling in Galway and then           Lincoln’s Inn, but never prac-
                                             he became a lecturer and then,           Dublin. As an undergraduate he         tised.
                                             in 1979, Reader in Labour Law. I         studied medicine at Trinity Col-           In the 1960s his socialism led
                                             had the very great good fortune          lege, Dublin but did not or was        him to labour law and he taught
                                             to have my dissertation super-           not permitted to sit his final year    on Bill (now Lord) Wedderburn’s
                                             vised by him there in 1970-71            examinations in 1951, apparently       undergraduate course in labour
                                             when my LLM tutor at Queen’s             because of his activities as Chair     law (then called ‘industrial law’)
                                             University, Belfast (the late Jim        of the Student Representative          He took over the course when
                                             McCartney) was on a sabbatical.          Council of which he was found-         Bill went to LSE in 1964. He also
                                                 Paul’s parents were from the         ing Chair. He switched to law,         taught social security and
                                             west of Ireland. They moved to           and graduated in 1957 with a           human rights law. His knowl-
                                             England, where his father worked         high first class honours degree.       edge of Irish and British trade



34 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                        through prayer or divine intervention (but we never saw God
                                                                                        on the anti-deportation demonstrations); some want “fair”
                                                                                        or “benign” controls (but these are by their very nature unjust,
                                                                                        inequitable and racist); and some just know that the controls
                                                                                        are insane (but any Marxist can show that they are the prod-
                                                                                        uct of imperialism, through which newly industrialised coun-
                                                                                        tries control the global movement of labour).
                                                                                            I felt, reading this, that over the years Steve had come to
                                                                                        admit that the third group was not wrong, and certainly not
                                                                                        mad. The UK’s current immigration controls are indeed insane.
                                                                                        In New Labour ‘Newspeak’ people who are seeking asylum
                                                                                        have the ‘freedom’ to go home and get killed. If they want to
                                                                                        avoid detention under the terrorism laws, they are ‘free’ to
                                                                                        agree to be deported. If they do not want to be made destitute,
                                                                                        or put out on the street and have their children taken away
                                                                                        from them (or put in ‘new’ ‘family friendly’ special detention
                                                                                        centres for families), they are ‘free’ to agree to ‘voluntary’ de-
                                                                                        portation. In Labour’s immigration tribunals, there are wel-
                                                                                        coming reception areas with comfy chairs and clean carpets,
                                                                                        crèches and evaluation forms – all to sugar-coat the same old
                                                                                        message of ‘appeal dismissed, fuck off, go home, and die’.
                                                                                            Steve’s main theme remained clear, in all his writing. The
                                                                                        history of struggle, from 1895 to No One Is Illegal and No
                                                                                        Borders, shows that there are ‘ordinary’ people in heroic
                                                                                        movements. Steve’s support and encouragement for these was
                                                                                        unselfish, lasting and unconditional.
                                                                                            Steve and I crossed paths many times in over 30 years of ac-
                     that this was so wrong, Steve couldn’t help but get up, stag-      tivism. As a barrister, he was intrigued (and encouraging)
                     ger to the front of the hall, and then deliver a flawless tirade   about my more recent taking up of the profession. As cam-
                     against immigration controls and in favour of campaigns.           paigners we debated constantly (though never about Pales-
                         Steve was a prolific writer, particularly of pamphlets with    tine) and undoubtedly raised our own sights as a result of joint
                     bizarre titles. In Standing on the Shoulders of Fascism, he        thinking. I realised well after the campaign was over, that Steve
                     wrote ‘as soon as it became obvious that Jean Charles de           and I had argued exactly the same lines, without any connec-
                     Menezes was himself not involved in terrorism, the Home            tion between us, throughout Viraj Mendis’ campaign; and
                     Office suggested he had overstayed his leave in the UK – as        both were pleased to greet Viraj when he was first able to
                     though this somehow justified his being shot dea’”. In De-         return here, to a rebuilt Hulme, in 2005. Viraj currently
                     portation is Freedom! The Orwellian world of immigration           cannot get a visa to get into the UK. But notwithstanding this,
                     controls, he noted the defensiveness of the left, which fears      he is trying to set up an internet resource of anti-deportation
                     that ‘ordinary’ people are not ready for the ‘premature’ abo-      materials, and I finish with Viraj’s own emailed words: ‘As
                     lition of immigration controls.                                    we started this project because of Steve – we should dedicate
                         To paraphrase the latter point, because it indicates many of   it to him and not let any obstacle come in its way.’
                     Steve’s targets in one go: – some feel that success only comes     G John Nicholson


                                                                                                         Paul O’Higgins
                                                                                                         1927-2008




union law was incomparable. He        ered apt for academic study.                                                 sources for the Law School, in
wrote a bibliography of British           He never hid his lifetime com-                                           1987 he returned to England,
and Irish labour law and his com-     mitment to socialism and to the                                              becoming a professor at King’s
parative law interest led him to      poor and oppressed. He was a                                                 College, London until retirement
enthusiastic promotion of the         great supporter of the Workers’                                              in 1992. He was Vice Master at
awareness of relevant interna-        Educational Association and           and Irish legal periodical litera-     Christ’s until 1995.
tional treaty law (such as the In-    taught on shop stewards               ture, largely responsible for the          In 1952 he married Rachel
ternational Labour Organisation       courses. Many had the benefit of      LLD degrees he received from           Bush, daughter of the composer
Conventions and ILO jurispru-         his learning. He was a kind and       Trinity College, Dublin and from       Alan Bush. He was a great pro-
dence).                               very gifted teacher with enor-        Cambridge. He was elected a            moter of the Alan Bush Music
    He founded the Encyclopae-        mous warmth, empathy, hospi-          Fellow of the Royal Irish Acad-        Trust founded by Rachel to pro-
dia of Labour Relations Law with      tality, and kindness. What was        emy in 1986.                           mote the neglected work of this
(now Sir) Bob Hepple and wrote        particularly inspiring was his            He had been refused a Chair        socialist composer. He is sur-
a seminal book on Censorship in       bubbling enthusiasm and faith in      at Trinity College in 1970, proba-     vived by Rachel and by their son
Britain in 1972. He wrote Cases       his students.                         bly because of his earlier stu-        and three daughters.
and Materials on Civil Liberties in       He was an enthusiastic col-       dent activism, but this was made           Paul O’Higgins, legal scholar:
1980. With Martin Partington he       lector of old Irish legal books       good in 1985 but for health and        born 5th October 1927; died
wrote a bibliography of social se-    and documents. He wrote exten-        personal reasons, as well as           13th March 2008.
curity law, not hitherto consid-      sive bibliographies of Irish trials   frustration with the paucity of re-    G John Hendy QC



                                                                                                                  Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 35
Reviews

 Waltz With Bashir
                                       Waltz With Bashir:
 2008: 12A: 90 mins; Directors: Ari    a contemplative
 Folman, Justin Edgar; Cast: David     and haunting film.
 Proud, Dominic Coleman, Jason
 Maza, Robyn Frampton, Sasha
 Hardway

         oon out on DVD, Waltz

 S       with Bashir was one of the
         best films of 2008. The
 Israeli director Ari Folman uses
 an animated documentary style
 to piece together his memories
 of the 1982 Lebanon War, in
 which he served as a 19-year old
 foot soldier in the Israeli
 Defence Force.
     It is 2006 as his character
 tracks down those he served
 alongside. He speaks to a
 psychotherapist friend who talks
 to him about the tricks memory
 can play on us. One night in a
 bar, an old friend tells Ari about
 a recurring nightmare in which
 he is chased by 26 vicious dogs.
 The two conclude this is linked
 to their Israeli army mission.
 Folman travels to Holland to
 meet with an old comrade who
 has become wealthy since the                                                and did not disappoint.               stealing a sports car. The main
 war selling falafel to liberal,                                                 The first movie intersperses      criticism is the lack of historical
 health-conscious Amsterdam                                                  flashbacks to Che’s appearance at     context at times, for example in
 dwellers. He interviews an IDF                                              the United Nations in 1964 with       not portraying the corruption of
 officer who was higher up in the                                            his initial meetings with Castro in   the Batista regime except for
 chain of command during the                                                 Mexico. However, the focus of         oblique shots in the opening
 conflict. Israeli journalist Ron                                            the movie is essentially the          sequence.
 Ben-Yishai, who was in Beirut at                                            successful insurgency in Cuba             The second movie skips
 the same time as Folman, gives                                              and follows Che, Castro and           almost a decade to the rather less
 his recollections of the events      Che: Parts One & Two                   their comrades from 1956 to           successful guerrilla campaign in
 that led up to the Sabra and         2008; 15; 253 mins; Directors:         1959. Their aim was to                Bolivia in 1967 that eventually
 Shatila massacre. As the film’s      Steven Soderbergh; Cast: Benicio       overthrow the decadent rule of        led to Che’s capture and death. It
 protagonist delves into his          Del Toro, Benjamin Bratt, Demian       the Cuban dictator Fulgencio          is at times painfully slow in its
 memory it becomes clear that a       Bichir, Kahlil Mendez, Rodrigo San-    Batista. There is a particular        depiction of a doomed attempt to
 number of those he speaks to         toro, Santiago Cabrera                 emphasis on matters of military       implement the Cuban model of
 have found their own way of                                                 strategy and tactics as Castro’s      revolution. The conditions were
 erasing the conflict from their         have an unread biography of         small but dedicated army              certainly ripe in Bolivia for a
 memories.
     This is a contemplative,
 haunting anti-war film.
                                      I  Che Guevara by John Lee
                                         Anderson sitting on my book
                                      shelf. It was tempting to believe
                                                                             descended the Sierra Maestra
                                                                             mountains to ultimately prevail
                                                                             over Batista.
                                                                                                                   revolution – a high infant
                                                                                                                   mortality rate, lack of food, and
                                                                                                                   men under 30 dying in the mines,
 Hallucination morphs into            that by watching two movies on             One of the most striking          as well as the repression of strikes
 reality and vice versa. The          the socialist icon that I could plug   depictions in this movie is of        and no hospitals and schools for
 animated scenes stay with you        the gaps in my knowledge of his        Che’s humility and self-sacrifice     the poor.
 long after the film ends as does     life and times. Steven Soderbergh      in conducting the ‘march of the           However, Che’s physical
 the original BBC and ITN             is a stylish director with a skilful   wounded’ juxtaposed with the          deterioration and the sense of
 footage that has been used. Max      use of cinematography in his           vanity of succumbing to wearing       mortality were well depicted. If
 Richter has composed an              varied cinematic career with           make-up for a televised speech!       you were a movie-goer who knew
 exquisite soundtrack which           movies as diverse as Sex, Lies and     Another notable characteristic        nothing about the Cuban
 enhances the dream-like              Videotape and Ocean’s Eleven.          portrayed was his insistence that     revolution you would still sense
 atmosphere and lends power to        His treatment of Che Guevara in        his men learn to read and write       the inevitability of (the initial)
 the events as they unfold.           two movies spanning four and a         and maintain discipline, sending      defeat in the unforgiving terrain
 G Tim Potter                         half hours was much anticipated        victorious troops back for            of the Bolivian landscape and the

36 I Socialist Lawyer G June 2009
                                                                                                              Reviews

inability to transplant the Cuban                       Marching to            recently, a public champion of          novelty or legality of police
model. Of course, Evo Morales                           the Fault              comprehensive education.                tactics. The drama of the battles
has since prevailed with a                              Line: The              Hencke is The Guardian’s                in the magistrates’ courts
different model of socialist                            1984 Miners’           Westminster correspondent.              between the miners’ lawyers and
revolution in Bolivia and has                           Strike and                 They have taken a journalists’      the hostile courts is missing
brought hope to many of the                             the Death of           approach to tracking the dispute:       entirely from the narrative. There
historically abused campesinos.                         Industrial             by that I mean that they have set       is relatively little even on the
     The audience is left somewhat                      Britain                out to interview at length the          events of sequestration (although
ill-informed about Che’s role in                        by Francis             ministers in the Conservative           the NUM’s parallel search for
post-revolution Cuba and his                            Beckett and            government, traceable employees         Russian or Libyan funding – an
time in the Congo though,             David Hencke, £18.99                     of the National Coal Board, Neil        undoubted public relations
admittedly, the scope of                                                       Kinnock, and surviving officials        catastrophe – gets a lengthy
Soderbegh’s subject matter was              here are some historical           of the National Union of Miners.        treatment in the text).
immense. Benicio Del Toro was
certainly charismatic in his
amazingly assured performance
                                      T     events which immediately
                                            afterwards draw the interest
                                      of historians (the military events
                                                                               They record with sadness that
                                                                               they were unable to get access to
                                                                               Margaret Thatcher or Arthur
                                                                                                                           Like any good writer Beckett
                                                                                                                       and Hencke bear their grudges;
                                                                                                                       like the worst of the profession,
and was perfectly cast in this role   of the Second World War, the             Scargill.                               they bear them vigorously against
both for his physical likeness to     9/11 attacks). There are other               They have also carried out          sources who decline to be
Che but also for his obvious          historical events that historians        certain Freedom of Information          interviewed.
dedication to mastering the           leave unexplored, sometimes for          Act requests, the results of which          The hero of this book, if
complexities of the character in      decades, before returning to             are loudly trumpeted in the text.       anyone deserves the title, is Peter
such nuances as the split between     them: the Holocaust, for                 The most dramatic of their              Walker, then Minister for Energy,
the family man and the military       example, or the miners’ strike.          discoveries appears to be that          who appears to have given
commander.                                The authors of this history          several figures were involved in        Beckett and Hencke generously
     Soderbergh has stated that he    describe their narrative on the          previously unpublicised attempts        of his time. The authors portray
is ‘an agnostic’ as far as Che is     book’s inside cover as ‘the first        at negotiation, none of which           him as diligent, well-informed,
concerned and that he is not          full account of the strike’, and         came close to a settlement.             articulate and intelligent, more
‘personally invested in building      while there have been books                  Beckett and Hencke appear to        robust than his public image as a
him up or tearing him down’.          before which looked at women in          have made little attempt to             Tory wet, and sensible in his
This is hard to believe and was       the strike, the organisation of the      consult the written records of the      treatment of the dispute.
perhaps directed at a sceptical       miners, the activities of the            various organisations involved              The villain of the piece is
American audience. Although           Conservative government and the          the strike: the NUM, NACODS,            Arthur Scargill, whose perceived
there are obviously plenty of         secret state in the strike, it is true   TUC, etc, whose records from            arrogance and indifference to his
detractors and those who mock         that this is the first book since the    this period are waiting in various      striking workers is used as the
at the socialist icon who has         strike’s immediate aftermath that        university archives.                    central explanation powering the
become immortalised in t-shirts       attempts to view it in its totality.         Lawyers who track down a            narrative. What happened at the
and posters around the world,             Indeed, there are points at          copy of this book will be               start of the strike? Arthur got it
Soderbergh is not one of those.       which this is a useful account.          disappointed to see that there is       wrong. What happened at
It is hard to take a neutral stance   Some of the few passages which           relatively little discussion of the     Orgreave? Arthur got it wrong.
on such a domineering figure.         describe the conflicts on the                                                    What happened to the various
While one may criticise acts of       picket lines convey a shadow of                                                  attempts mid-dispute at
summary justice and ruthlessness      the physical brutality which was                                                 settlement? Arthur… and on, and
that were portrayed in the            used to defeat the striking miners.                                              on, and on.
movies, one cannot criticise the      Beckett and Hencke also bring                                                        In their preface, the authors
idealism that shines like a beacon    out the extent to which the media                                                explain that they made efforts to
throughout both movies.               took sides in its coverage of the                                                speak to Scargill, including
     While I would wholeheartedly     dispute, the extraordinary care                                                  driving to his home
recommend these movies and            that was put into covering                                                       unannounced, but were not
believe they are vital viewing for    violence against miners who                                                      granted access. It may be that if
any reader of Socialist Lawyer, I     defied the strike call, the press’                                               Arthur Scargill had agreed to be
think that I will enjoy them more     indifference to people such as                                                   interviewed for their book, the
when I finish reading the             David Jones, a 24-year old strike                                                result might have been a text that
biography and place them in           activist killed during clashes                                                   was in a few places less
their proper context. Asked in an     between striking and working                                                     unremittingly hostile to him and
American interview what the           miners.                                                                          his supporters. But any neutral
most important quality of a               Beckett is a freelance                                                       reader reading this text will
revolutionary was, Che’s answer       journalist, long associated with                                                 surely be quite sympathetic to the
– ‘love’ – may strike many as         ‘old Labour’: the author of a                                                    miners’ old leader. Given that a
surprising but it is this answer      history of the Communist Party,                                                  literary kicking was inevitable, it
which, to me, was an insight into     in which the multiple activities of                                              is a sign of good judgment that he
his most attractive trait.            that organisation were reduced to                                                left these authors well alone.
G Declan Owens                        its Moscow funding, and more                                                     G David Renton


                                                                                                                     Socialist Lawyer G June 2009 I 37
Reviews

                                                                            so fashionable in academe, or the      creation of ‘A market state’ in
Analysing the ‘state’                                                       various currents of post-
                                                                            modernism. He takes his
                                                                            definition of the state from Engels
                                                                                                                   Britain, through Thatcher’s
                                                                                                                   revolution, privatisation and
                                                                                                                   marketisation, the role of the state

on solid ground                                                             and from Marx. Although it
                                                                            would have be helpful if the
                                                                            works cited were dated – and
                                                                                                                   in serving transnational
                                                                                                                   corporations (TNCs), and the
                                                                                                                   growing trend of authoritarianism
                                                                            there is no list of works cited. The   and the ‘Big Brother’ state. This
                  Unmasking           with Corinna Lotz, A World to         absence of an index is                 chapter does not break new
                  the State:          Win: a rough guide to a future        understandable, but the lack of a      ground; but the story is clearly
                  A rough             without global capitalism. All are    bibliography is much more              told.
                  guide to real       published by Lupus Press, the         serious, especially for those who          Chapter four is entitled ‘The
                  democracy           imprint of A World to Win, which      wish to read further.                  voice of the people’, and starts
                  by Paul Feld-       is one of the more active                Nevertheless, a great merit of      with Lenin’s analysis in his 1917
                  man; Action         Trotskyist groups in                  this book is its historical            pamphlet State and Revolution.
                  Guide No.3,         contemporary Britain. Or should       grounding. In his first chapter,       Feldman paraphrases Lenin as
                  Lupus Books         it not be described as post-          ‘The “mystery” of the state’,          stating that ‘the power of capital
                                      Trotskyist? – Trotsky is not          Feldman provides an excellent          cannot be ended without
        ntil very recently, many      mentioned once in Feldman’s text,     survey of ‘the making of the state’    reconstituting the state’. Actually,

U       commentators and
        academic writers were
telling us that so-called
                                      despite Trotsky’s incisive writings
                                      on Britain and the British state
                                      around the time of the General
                                                                            in Britain, through the Civil War,
                                                                            the so-called Glorious Revolution
                                                                            and the foundations of the
                                                                                                                   Lenin went a bit further. At the
                                                                                                                   end of chapter one he proclaimed
                                                                                                                   that: ‘The supersession of the
‘globalisation’ was not only an       Strike, especially in Where is        Empire. For this he draws upon         bourgeois state by the proletarian
entirely new phase of capitalism,     Britain Going? (1925).                John Saville’s remarkable study        state is impossible without a
having superseded imperialism,        Nonetheless, Feldman’s text sets      The consolidation of the capitalist    violent revolution.’ In Chapter
but also presaged the end of the      out to be resolutely Marxist, even    state 1800-1850. Chapter two,          two, Lenin sums up Marx’s
sovereign state. The velocity of      Leninist.                             ‘The struggle for democracy’,          position as follows: ‘all previous
unregulated capital flows and             This reviewer, by the way, does   provides a gripping account of the     revolutions perfected the state
the awesome power of                  not claim complete impartiality.      Levellers’ movement in the Civil       machine, whereas it must be
multinational corporations were       He has provided back-cover            War, and their intellectual            broken, smashed’.
not only supposed to have             endorsements for the work now         monument, An Agreement of the              This chapter and the final
initiated limitless economic          under review as well as for “A        People (1647). Feldman follows         chapter, ‘A way forward’, contain
growth, but also to have              World to Win”, and shares a           this story through the Radical         acute criticisms of the work of
rendered national borders             political past with Feldman and       movement of the late eighteenth        John Holloway, Change the
redundant. And the rewards            his colleagues. But rest assured      century and Tom Paine’s role           World without Taking Power
individuals paid to themselves        that Feldman’s text has been read     through to the American and            (2002) and the runaway bestseller
for managing this miracle             critically for readers of Socialist   French revolutions; and the            by Hardt and Negri, Empire
surpassed all previous levels of      Lawyer.                               Chartists. He gives ample space to     (2000). Indeed, in the final few
obscenity. Serving the state              One point on which there          the Suffragettes, the trade unions,    pages Lenin is once again cited (in
seemed a very poor alternative.       should be complete agreement          and the building of the welfare        a box) the passage from State and
Witness Tony Blair’s                  with Feldman is his insistence that   state.                                 Revolution on the Paris
transmogrification from Prime         the state has an objective               These two splendid chapters in      Commune, ‘[…] to smash the old
Minister to – much better paid –      existence. Feldman is a realist and   themselves make this book an           bureaucratic machine […]’.
banker.                               a materialist, and has no truck       excellent buy.                             But Feldman does not use the
    Now, with the collapse of the     with social constructivism, now          Chapter three traces the            language of ‘breaking’ and
sub-prime bubble, revealing the                                                                                    ‘smashing’. The section ‘Our
toxic slime at the heart of twenty                                                                                 proposals’ starts ‘We will be
first century capitalism, the state                                                                                obliged to replace the existing
appears once more to be                                                                                            administrative machinery’ which
relevant, bailing out one bank                                                                                     does indeed sound much more
and nationalising another. As                                                                                      polite than Lenin. As does ‘the
multinational giants collapse on                                                                                   subordination of bureaucracy to
a global scale, the call is for the                                                                                society through accountability to
state to come to the rescue.                                                                                       Assemblies’, and ‘the state as a
    Paul Feldman’s short book is                                                                                   separate body can eventually be
therefore timely and welcome.                                                                                      dispensed with’. This reviewer
This is not his first piece of                                                                                     prefers the more direct approach
trenchant analysis; he is an able                                                                                  of Marx and Lenin; but then we
and knowledgeable journalist.                                                                                      are in Britain, so perhaps
                                       Lenin:
With Gerry Gold he has written                                                                                     Feldman is right to tread more
                                       “smash the
A House of Cards: from fantasy         state”                                                                      softly!
finance to global crash, and,                                                                                      G Bill Bowring


                                                                                                             Socialist Lawyer G January 2009 I 38
Haldane Society
of Socialist Lawyers
commemorates 25 years
since the miners’strike
Summer party / fundraising event
at Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
London WC2 (nearest tube Holborn)
7pm to late, Thursday 23rd July
Speakers will include Michael Seifert, John Hendy QC,
Louise Christian, other lawyers, miners and journalists
involved in the strike




Contemporary issues not forgotten: lawyers representing
the G20 protesters will speak. Admission £10 practitioners,
£5 concessions (drinks included in admission price)
Further information www.haldane.org

								
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