Be illegal. Much has been made of this since, but at the time it did not have the slightest effect on the strikers. The Government did not limit itself to propaganda. In the Clyde, The Hood (then the world's largest battleship), the Warspite and the Comus threatened the working-class quarters with their guns. Destroyers lay in the harbours of Harwich, Cardiff, Portsmouth and Middlesbrough. The London power stations were manned by naval engine-room ratings, and naval men worked in the London docks. A Submerine supplied electric power to the Port of London.
The London docks were besieged by striking dockers and middle-class blacklegs were afraid to go there. The docks were heavily guarded by soldiers in full war-kit and machine guns were mounted everywhere. The Home Secretary met high army and naval officers, "Make your own plans" he said. "Use whatever force you require - I give you carte blanche - but my orders are that London Docks must be opened at all costs."
Warships took loads of blacklegs down the Thames at night and one hundred food lorries were loaded. Next morning the lorries passed through the East End in convoy guarded by hundreds of police, two battalions of infantry with fixed bayonets, a number of tanks and ten armoured cars.
Every day the strike became more clearly a struggle between two classes, a fight between the workers and the State. The struggle itself created that clear picture. It was not the result of propaganda as labour leaders wailed.
"The whole crux of the struggle had been skillfully shifted by propaganda from a sympathetic protest at the unfair treatment of the miners to a Constitutional struggle between Parliament and Anarchism." (Memoirs: Clynes)