Respect to the North Facers

Unusual picket line spot, the North Face, in that provides the biggest test of the endurance while offering the richest rewards from the passing public.

The pitch, at the main vehicle entrance gate to the YEP/YP building, towards the famous Armley Gyratory, gained its nickname in the mammoth, national strike that took place three decades ago and battle-hardened some of the union veterans we are fortunate to have standing among us.

Exposed, at the top of a slope and with the towering buildings around forming a wind tunnel, the gusts blast up and across, the temperatures at couple of degrees colder than those on the Wellington Street lower ground.

Despite this, the Face has always been well covered, a large group of hardy and happy pickets standing resolute, spurred on by the stunning support of just about every passing vehicle. Unlike on Wellington Street, the vehicles here, if they go on green, can and do pick up some serious speed, the sound distortion doing all sorts of strange things to the orchestra of horns. Some of the HGVs make a noise that is straight out of a cracking Hollywood car chase.

Along and down towards Wellington Street, the odd small group of pickets have set up, a permanent presence near the pedestrian crossing at the flyover. The image, spread down the street, like a row of sentry positions on a remote, hardship outpost. A brilliant effort from all, and yet another example of the way everyone has taken this strike and made it their own, the fact we’re organising ourselves meaning that, now we’re out, meaning barely any organisation has to be done at all.

A great turnout again today, solid effort put in until 2.30pm, loads of leaflets dished out and petition signatures gathered. Big thanks to the lads at the Steps for the butties, and also to the great range of picket line guests. They include Mark and Tony from my old turf the York Press, Emma from South Yorkshire, Katie from Huddersfield and Pete Johnson’s two daughters, who told us of their spells on the line as toddlers. Thanks to anyone I’ve missed and for all the messages of support and donations that continue to arrive.

I’m in the luxury position of watching Match of the Day without knowing the scores. Always a gamble that, especially the way the Boro are playing. Here’s believing. The perpetual state of the football fan. And, of course, the trades unionist. See you tomorrow.


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