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As Tories gloat over recovery – ‘We’ve got to take them on’ says Ricky Tomlinson

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Issue 2388

“If they get away with these cuts they’ll cut again before the next election, and I’ll tell you what—people won’t be able to live,” Ricky Tomlinson told Socialist Worker.

Ricky railed against a social crisis caused by Tory austerity at the same time as they tell us we’re better off. There has been a huge increase in people relying on food banks—half a million have visited one of 400 run by the Trussell Trust in the last ten months alone. 

Ricky said, “Who would have thought after 1945 when the soldiers, those that were left of them, came back to a home ‘fit for heroes’, that there’d be food banks in every town, city and bloody village.  

“The world is rich and we’re a rich nation. There should be no such thing as food banks. It’s disgraceful. But it’s a testimony to capitalism.” 

Ricky argued, “We’ve got to be better organised and better prepared. Eventually it’s going to come down to us taking the government on again—it’s got to be done.”

Ricky spoke to Socialist Worker about the latest developments in the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. This is trying to overturn convictions for conspiracy of workers, including Ricky, after the first ever national building workers’ strike in 1972.

It won a 25 percent pay rise and better union organisation. Furious bosses sought revenge.

A parliamentary debate last week demanded the release of documents relating to that time, and the motion passed by 120 to three. 

The Tories say the release must wait another ten years for reasons of “national security”.

“We think they’re going to have to release them because we’ve discovered that many secret documents,” said Ricky. 

“It’s gone to the Criminal Case Review Committee now,” he said. “I just think that something crazy sinister is going on.

“We’ve got letters from Ted Heath, stamped ‘confidential’. They set up a unit during the strike for agitators and stuff like that.”

In his speech from the dock at the time Shrewsbury picket Des Warren said, “The conspiracy was between the home secretary, the employers and the police.”

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