Can’t Beat it Alone pt16 – Billingham Campaigners

Interview with Billingham campaigners Fred and Barbara Jones

0:00 – Fred and Barbara filmed sitting at table, planning sketch on Nirex

5:00 – Nirex thought Billingham a soft touch, was unaware that a lot of people in the region had technical expertise and could quickly learn about nuclear

7:30 – Interviewer asks for explanation of Nirex proposal. Fred explains problem nuclear industry has with waste disposal and that ex-mine at Billngham was seen as a solution by Nirex and rubber stamped by Patrick Jenkin (government minister)

10:15 – Fred asks for interview to restart as he’d started talking as BAND spokesman when he was meant to be in personal capacity

11:42 – Interviewer asks Barbara about her previous community involvement. She’d not had any, this was completely new for her, a gut-reaction to threat. Billingham had enough problems without this – unemployment, poverty, industry. Fred responds in similar way

16:30 – Interviewer asks how they had started organising. Fred had spent 15 months researching the nuclear industry, Barbara had drawn on her administrative skills

21:00 – Fred is asked how he got involved. It was hen he received a leaflet from the local MP (Frank Cook) about the threat and had attended a public meeting, with 800 others. BAND had been formed from that. Barbara notes that, while those involved had a wide r ange of political views, all shared a common goal

27:00 – Interviewer asks if the community has been well served by its political representatives. Fred argues that it this goes beyond their powers. Nuclear industry has learned to work on fringes of democracy for 40 years, it deals with a nuclear underworld which its workers can’t talk openly about. The nuclear industry produces 4 things – material for nuclear weapons, electricity (needing import of uranium despite us having 300 years of coal), isotopes for industry and those for medical use; thee last two are useful

32:00 – Sellafield is receiving £5billion investment. Why does government support this? Fred argues that it is necessary to look at the link between the civil nuclear programme and the production the raw material for nuclear weapons. Sellafield a ‘clearing house’ for the spent fuel from all reactors

37:00 – Interviewer wants shots of children who are in background

39:00 – Interviewer asks how government made decision to go nuclear. Fred answers that the 1979 government had made a nuclear industry representative head of the Electricity Generating Board. Decision to go nuclear also meant we didn’t need coal.

43:00 – Interviewer asks if the miners are, in effect, fighting against nuclear weapons. Fred replies not as such, but need to understand the industry to know how far to take the fight

44:00 – Interviewer asks how their views have changed in the process. Barbara responds that she now believes that individuals can make a difference, as long as they get together. But hard to keep the community together once the common aim removed

49:00 – Fred will continue to campaign for the future of their kids.

52:00 – To secure democracy we need open discussion, end to secrecy of decisions

56:00 – Publicise victory dance at the Billingham Arms

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