Monday 16 July 2012

Durham Miner's Gala

'WE will never leave you without hope!', declared Ed Miliband, last Saturday, at the Durham Miner's Gala.  He then continued to do the typical word-smith's group of three items:  'We will never leave you without work!' and culminated with 'We will never leave you without your dreams!'  Then came another threesome:  'Here we are, looking after communities''Looking out for each other!' and 'Never walking by on the other side!'

It was the first time since about 1989, that a Labour leader had addressed the Durham Miner's Gala.  There was a small protest with a banner that read:  'Labour & Tory All the Same!  THEY ALL PLAY THE BANKER's GAME.'  Mr. Miliband reminded us that the Durham Gala had been addressed in the past by such figures as Keir Hardie, George Landsbury, Clem Attlee, Mannie Shinwell and Jim Callaghan.

Ed Miliband echoed Vice Cable, the Lib Dem Business Minister's cry of 'Tax the Banker's bonuses!' and followed it with 'Put our people to work again!' and 'Break the power of Murdoch'.  Slogans to stir-up the converted.

Tom Watson, the MP who did much to expose Rupert Murdoch, was the first speaker, but the most enthusiastic applause came for two Asturian miners fresh up from Madrid.  One was a member of the C.C.O.O. and the other was from the socialist U.G.T..  I spoke to both of them and told the UGT socialist that I had been a member of the CNT when I worked in Gibraltar and lived in La Linea.  The lad from the UGT was the most approachable and was friendly towards the Spanish anarchists and the CNT.  Both speakers spoke well, giving details of their dispute and fearing the demise of their mining communities in the Asturias and Leon.  The dispute, which is small, has sparked public support in Spain and has been going for over 50-days with a march into Madrid, last week, and an occupation of some pits.

The NUM gave the Asturian miners £5,000, and the Durham Miners' Association gave another £5,000.  The North East IWW had a bookstall at the event selling Northern Voices, and the Tameside TUC commemorative booklet on the Spanish Civil War, that has now sold nearly 3,000 copies, was on sale there.

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