Local people with no direct stake in our pension schemes have shown a clear political understanding of the importance of our dispute to the overall balance of what we 80s lefties still refer to as "class forces".
Some of our officials (having been brought up on the wrong side of the icepick as it were) have fits of the vapours at the thought of non-members joining picket lines - particularly if (horrors!) they may have "their own political agenda".
Everyone has "their own political agenda" and the world is divided between those who recognise and are honest about this and those who don't and either aren't honest or simply do as they are told by others.
Those whose "political agenda" is to defend the Welfare state and trade unionism are our natural allies. Their agenda is, in essence, the agenda of the trade unions.
This dispute is therefore very much a dispute for every "Tom, Dick and Sally" (as I have heard it put by an eloquent if politically immature individual) and if members of the local community wish to visit our picket lines tomorrow to express their support they should be made welcome (and certainly not as if they were "chaff" to be sorted from the "wheat" of striking workers).
This applies even if someone wishing to support the picket line tries to sell you a copy of "Socialist Worker" or "the Socialist" or any one of a dozen other such titles. (Copies of the Morning Star will be available free to Londoners at Lincoln's Inn Fields - but you should buy it if asked as they need the money!)
If you don't want to buy a leftwing paper all you have to do is say "no thankyou". Those of our members who have the gumption to picket can be relied upon to deal with that for themselves.
Our enemies are in Downing Street, and amongst Cameron's paymasters in the City. They are not to be found behind pasting tables full of wordy leaflets trying to sell socialist newspapers to largely uninterested shoppers outside a tube station.
Our picket lines are our own and are controlled by workers on strike. Other supporters are welcome if they accept our leadership of our own dispute. On a strike day, even more than any other day, we have "no enemies to the left."
I can't speak for every union official (and I wouldn't want to) but "Tom, Dick and Sally" are welcome on our picket lines!
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