Protest in support of Julian Assange at The Guardian 22/10/20 – Speech by Mike Jackson from the Orgreave Justice Campaign

On the 22/10/20 50 people answered the call to protest against The Guardian for the role it has played for the persecution and Prosecution of Julian Assange. One of those who answered the call is Mike Jackson. Listen to his message of solidarity here and read the Transcript below.

Speech by Mike Jackson *

Hello comrades. You may also have heard my name if you’ve watched Pride, the movie. I’m the Mike Jackson played by actor Joe Gilgun. We formed Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners way back in the 1984-1985 Miners’ Strike.

About 5 years ago a group of us got together to form the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. Amongst so many instances of state violence against the striking miners in the Miners’ Strike what happened at Orgreave on the 18 June 1984 was the worst instance of it. Throughout the miners’ strike the police were incredibly violent against the striking miners. The media looked to portray that it was the other way round.

At Orgreave that day when the miners arrived to take part in this mass picket – about 10,000 of them turned up – they were quite surprised at how friendly the police were – marshalling them in their cars to park in these fields. It was a hot sunny day, the miners who turned up were in jeans and tee shirts and trainers. The police even ended up playing football with them. And then they started to notice the mounted police, the police with short shields and long shields, the police with dogs, all lurking in the woods. And then at one moment the police, came out – there were about 6000 police – and beat the utter crap out of the miners who were there that day. It was amazing to this day that nobody was killed. There were a lot of people very seriously injured.

The police attempted to stick charges against 95 of the people present. It was found shortly afterwards, when they came up in front of the Magistrate, that the police had colluded in the charges brought against the miners. Not a single miner at Orgreave that day was prosecuted. So when we formed the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign we did get the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate it and they believed and stated that there was a case to answer. A second ago I said the so-called ‘Independent’ Police Complaints Commission – I said that with tongue in cheek – because you will never guess who the Commissioners are on the Independent Police Complaints Commission – they’re all ex-policemen.

So we are still continuing to ask for a public Inquiry into what happened at Orgreave. The Scottish government has recently said they will conduct an inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike and now we wait on this government. I suspect we will be waiting, just like you are, an awful long time for this inquiry to take place. But we will not be deterred and I’m sure you won’t be deterred. Whistleblowers should be protected and lauded by the citizenship. And that’s exactly what we are doing here today. But instead, in this topsy turvy world, the whistleblowers are the ones who get put behind bars and put in front of the courts while the perpetrators of crimes throughout the world are ignored. This is terrible.

So, the link between our two campaigns is that in a democracy the whistleblowers should be able to speak with impunity. Democracy of course is a relative thing. And I look forward to us one day having democracy in Britain. Until then people like your campaign and people like our campaign will do whatever we can to further democratic justice.

Thank you very much – lots of solidarity from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

* Many thanks to Maxine Walker for transcribing the speech.

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