Veteran activist vows to keep on fighting blacklisting despite injuries
VETERAN trade union activist George Tapp vowed yesterday to continue his campaigning work after a jury threw out a charge of dangerous driving against a man who ran him down at a demonstration.
The jury at Manchester Crown Court found 20-year-old Michael Collins not guilty, even after being shown CCTV footage showing him knocking over two Unite campaigners.
Mr Tapp, 65, was handing out leaflets at an anti-blacklisting protest targeting construction firm Bam outside Manchester City football club’s training ground and stadium on May 15 last year.
A blacklisted electrician himself, Mr Tapp was among two dozen campaigners stopping cars and handing drivers leaflets.
Mr Collins was charged after driving his Ford Ka through the group, knocking two onto the the bonnet before stopping, hurling Mr Tapp into the road.
His legs were shattered and his skull fractured.
After the verdict he said: “I am very disappointed, obviously. There is law, but no justice.”
But Mr Tapp, who still walks with a stick, said he would not be deterred from his lifetime’s commitment to the labour and trade union movement — and that his anti-blacklisting activities and other campaigning work will go on.
Drawing a line under the case would let him throw himself more fully into his political work, he said.
“I feel relieved,” he told the Morning Star.
“Our fight against blacklisting continues.
“I am retired now. I am no longer in Unite’s construction branch and I am active in Unite Community.
“At the moment we are fighting against benefit sanctions which are ruining people’s lives, just as blacklisting has ruined thousands of workers’ lives.”
Throughout his recuperation, Mr Tapp has been supported and assisted by his wife Ann, a campaigner in her own right.
“I don’t go on picket lines,” she said, “but I’m involved in defending council homes in Salford.”
“I have not done so much recently because of all this. But I’ll be getting back into it. There are a lot of people out there without homes, or affordable homes.
“A home is everyone’s right.”
Mr Tapp said he had been overwhelmed by the messages of solidarity from across Britain over the last year.
He said the support had been tremendous and moving.
An appeal for funds to help Mr Tapp during his continuing recovery is being run by Salford trades union council.