By Paul Hickman-Back in October the British Veterans Group held a demonstration outside the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham calling for the troops to be brought home from Afghanistan and other foreign lands.
Birmingham British National Party supported the demo and the day was a success.
There were also other groups protesting that day. The Birmingham Mail reported on the 'Anti Badger Cull' protesters and the 'Justice for the 21' protesters but ignored the British National Party (not surprising as the Birmingham Mail is owned by the Trinity Mirror Group).
Although we were ignored we are pleased that said paper is publicizing the cause of the 'Justice for the 21 Group'.
Twenty-one people died in the blasts at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town pubs in November, 1974.
Among the dead was Julie Hambleton’s 18-year-old sister Maxine.
Six men – Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker – were convicted for the bombings.
They spent 16 years in jail until their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in March 1991. No-one has been brought to justice for the terrorist atrocity.
Julie, 49, has campaigned tirelessly for a public inquiry into the case as part of the Justice 4 The 21 (J4T21) group. Last year she started an e-petition with the aim of getting 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate in Parliament.
Among those who signed were Paddy Hill, 66, and four retired West Midlands Police officers who were involved in the case.
In June West Midlands Police confirmed that it would re-examine the pub bombings evidence using the latest forensic techniques, potentially paving the way for a fresh investigation.
But the online petition expired last Saturday with just 2,636 signatures.
Now Julie has started a new one in the hope of attracting more support.
“Our original e-petition has now expired,” she said. “I have applied for a new one, which has been accepted. I would like to ask all of you if could support and sign this new one as part of our campaign.
We are eternally grateful to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive during the past year.”
Julie, who says J4T21 has collected 5,000 paper signatures, believes the online petition was hampered by a lack of computer literacy among those who remember the bombings. “It’s a generational thing, we think,” she explained.
“The bombings happened nearly 40 years ago. Many of the older generation are not as computer literate and do not have access to the internet.
When we’ve stopped people in the street they have been incredibly supportive. One person will sign, and then they will make sure the rest of their group also put their names down.”
Julie spoke to Birmingham British National Party on camera -the aim of the petition is as follows...
Justice for the 21
Responsible department: Home Office
Implement a fresh inquiry to establish the truth in order to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators responsible for the worst outrage on British Mainland in the 20th century in respect of the memory of the 21 innocents who were slain in the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings.
Please support this courageous lady and sign the petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42684
Here is what she said to our camera man David Gould.