I was one of 250,000 who flocked to a sun-soaked Durham for the 134th Durham Miners Gala on Saturday 14th July. This is the largest attendance at the Big Meeting (as it is known locally) for at least 50 years, and the mood was both celebratory and optimistic as the multitude applauded Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing policies.
Jeremy Corbyn himself attended the Gala, and speaking from the platform, received loud roars of approval when he committed the next Labour government to renationalising Rail, Water, Royal Mail, etc. The mood was enthusiastic and combative. The more radical the speeches, the louder the roars. If that spirit can permeate the mass of the working class, May’s ramshackle government will be toppled and Jeremy will sweep to power at the coming general election.
Speeches referred to the grotesque cuts in social care, the fire service, the police service which placed the general public at severe risk. But the silence about the role of Labour-controlled authorities implementing these cuts without a peep of resistance was deafening. The Sicilian Mafia referred to this silence as ‘Omerta.’
On Merseyside the fire authority is not only implementing cuts on a monumental scale, but is also driving down firefighters hard-worn wages and conditions, and using tax-payers money to build a scab army with the specific intention of breaking the FBU.
Astoundingly this was not mentioned.
The only explanation can be that now is the time for unity, and attacking Blairite Labour Councillors would weaken the anti-Tory campaign.
If that is the argument, it is a fatal strategy. Nye Bevan referred to it as ‘the unity of the graveyard’.
Now is the time to be bold and call out the Blairites for the pernicious role they are playing at local level.