Thursday, 31 August 2017

Ricky Tomlinson asks are you on the blacklist?

 Ricky Tomlinson in 2015 with an issue of Northern Voices in front of a Shrewsbury 24 banner
IN an electrifying moment on Channel 4 News, actor Ricky Tomlinson brandished a copy of the Economic League‘s North West blacklist, which blacklisted thousands of workers from industry jobs over several decades.  Now, The Canary can exclusively reveal an excerpt from that blacklist, along with other previously undisclosed documents from the company that produced it.
Only a handful of people possess copies of the entire Economic League’s North West blacklist.  The original was handed to the two founding members of League Watch – a campaigning group that monitored the Economic League (EL) – by an EL regional director turned whistleblower.  That was some 30 years back.
But on 8 August, Tomlinson – who appeared in a Ken Loach film, in the TV soap Brookside and in the TV series The Royle Family – produced a printed copy of that list with a flourish on Channel 4 News, inviting anyone who believes they are on it to contact him.  It was an electrifying moment that the Channel 4 News team failed to fully appreciate.
In the Channel 4 News interview, Tomlinson referred to his own entry on the list.  An abridged version is shown below.  He also made it clear that he is determined that the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing examines the Special Branch surveillance he believes he suffered for merely taking part in lawful industrial action.
 Tomlinson explained that the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing would not allow him to be a core participant because, while the existence of a Special Branch file is known, he had no evidence he was a target of such undercover policing by the Special Demonstration Squad. According to Pitchford:
'There is no mention of the Special Demonstration Squad in connection with Mr Tomlinson that I have been able to find. Special Branch files may be created from a variety of sources including the uniformed police, detectives, informers, police records and public knowledge.'
However, to quote Mr Tomlinson: 'My arse!'

Catch 22

Basically, Pitchford is saying is that Tomlinson, or anyone else for that matter, cannot be a core participant in the inquiry unless they can produce evidence that they have been victims of undercover policing – though the only way many victims can refer to such evidence is if the police are forced to hand it over.

Presently, Pitchford has not ruled on how much information he is going to compel the police to hand over. But, in refusing core participant status to those who have reasonable belief they have been monitored or infiltrated, he is creating a situation where there is a risk the inquiry will only focus on undercover officers who have already been exposed.
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