Today, 23 March 2021 will go down in history as the day when a titanic struggle for justice finally came to an end. On that day the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of 14 men sentenced for their involvement in picketing during the 1972 national building workers strike. Lawyers for the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ as they were known from the outset had argued the destruction of witness statements made their convictions unsafe. The appeal judge Lord Justice Fulford agreed saying that “what occurred was unfair”. Sadly six of the 14 who brought the action have since died, including Des Warren, who was jailed for three years. Best known of the pickets is the Royle Family TV actor Ricky Tomlinson who was among those convicted and was jailed for two years.
The Media Reform Coalition (MRC) marked the launch of its Media Democracy Festival this week (see: https://www.mediareform.org.uk/blog/media-democracy-festival-2021) by publishing a new report on media ownership in the UK. It makes depressing, although predictable, reading. The MRC produced its first report in 2015 when they argued (along with many others) that concentrated ownership of the media was a significant problem for any modern democracy. Four years later an updated report showed that not only did concentrated ownership persist but that the problem was getting worse. Since then the situation has deteriorated.