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A Very British Conspiracy: The Shrewsbury 24 and the Campaign for Justice

Author/EditorTurnbull, Eileen (Author)
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781804290149
Pub Date06/09/2022
BindingPaperback
Pages384
Dimensions (mm)234(h) * 153(w)
The story of the campaign for justice for the 24 building workers wrongly prosecuted by the state in the 1970s
€20.13
excluding shipping
Availability: Available to order but not yet published
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In 1973 a group of North Wales building workers were arrested for picketing-related offences during the first and only national building workers strike in Britain the year before. It was a turning point for halting the growth of trade unionism in the building industry, from which it has never recovered. A Very British Conspiracy is the first book to tell the full story of how the state prosecuted these workers and the campaign that was established to overturn this miscarriage of justice. Eileen Turnbull uncovers government and police documents that reveal the careful planning of the prosecution of the 24 men. She forensically reveals how the state used the criminal justice system to secure convictions. It analyses how, in the absence of hard evidence, the Police and prosecution went to extraordinary lengths to criminalise trade unionists.

The premature death of the lead picket, Des Warren, was the catalyst for a group of North West trade unionists and several of the pickets to come together in 2006 to organise a campaign to achieve justice. In March 2021, the convictions were finally quashed by the Court of Appeal. The book describes how the pickets and their families felt after forty-eight years being ostracised and considered as criminals in their communities, as well as the response of the Campaign committee members who had brought this historic victory about.

In 1973 a group of North Wales building workers were arrested for picketing-related offences during the first and only national building workers strike in Britain the year before. It was a turning point for halting the growth of trade unionism in the building industry, from which it has never recovered. A Very British Conspiracy is the first book to tell the full story of how the state prosecuted these workers and the campaign that was established to overturn this miscarriage of justice. Eileen Turnbull uncovers government and police documents that reveal the careful planning of the prosecution of the 24 men. She forensically reveals how the state used the criminal justice system to secure convictions. It analyses how, in the absence of hard evidence, the Police and prosecution went to extraordinary lengths to criminalise trade unionists.

The premature death of the lead picket, Des Warren, was the catalyst for a group of North West trade unionists and several of the pickets to come together in 2006 to organise a campaign to achieve justice. In March 2021, the convictions were finally quashed by the Court of Appeal. The book describes how the pickets and their families felt after forty-eight years being ostracised and considered as criminals in their communities, as well as the response of the Campaign committee members who had brought this historic victory about.

Eileen Turnbull started her working life as a machinist at the Bryant & May matchworks in Liverpool before becoming a trade union tutor. For many years she was the legal officer of the GMB union in the region. She is the Researcher for the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. She received a doctorate from the University of Liverpool in 2018 for a thesis analysing this miscarriage of justice. She has written for the Morning Star, Tribune and a variety of trade union journals. She continues to live in Liverpool.

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