McCluskey to tell Durham Miners’ Gala “I am ready for reform”

July 13, 2013 10:58 am

Speaking at the Durham Miners’ Gala this afternoon, Unite General Secretary will give his backing for Ed Miliband’s reform of the Labour/Union link – but will urge Miliband to lead a Labour Party that will make a clear difference to the lives of working people (making recruitment easier in the process. He will tell the “Big Meeting”:

“The Labour Party must understand it can only exist if it remains the voice of ordinary working people.

“The parliamentary Labour party today does not look like, or think like, the working class communities it seeks to represent. That is a serious problem. It is increasingly the preserve of people who glide from university to think tank to the green benches, without ever sniffing the air of the real world.

“That is what Unite was fighting for in Falkirk – to give the working class a stake in our democracy. I make no apology for that.

“Ed Miliband has now announced the biggest ever shake-up in the trade union Labour link – a link over 100 years old. Yes, it’s a gamble – change worth having always is.

“But let me say this: I am ready for reform. I am ready to engage with the Labour Party to find a way to re-engage hundreds of thousands of trade union members with the party their forefathers and foremothers created.

“A vibrant, stronger, more democratic Labour Party will be a good thing.

“I am ready for reform because the status quo is no longer an option. It has not delivered for those of us represented here today. It did not stop us having a New Labour government that pampered the rich and waged illegal wars, while it left in place the most restrictive trade union laws in the whole of Western Europe.

“Ed Miliband is at his best when he is boldest, when he challenges the media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch, the corporate giants not paying fair taxes and those who protect privilege yet cause inequality and poverty.

“But if we are to go out and convince thousands of working class men and women that they want to sign up to be associate Labour Party members they will not be interested in the rule-book, or even the history. They will want to know will Labour make a difference?

“Will the next Labour government reverse the present Coalition’s disastrous policies? Will it be different not just from Cameron and his crew but from the Blair-Brown years as well?

“If we can say ‘Yes, Labour has learned, and Labour is on YOUR side’ then this scheme will work. But if our people – our members – are unclear as to the answer then no amount of persuading will get them to sign up.

“So I say to Ed: Unite – and the people here today – are your supporters. The future is in your hands. Make Labour the Party we all want.”

  • Steve Stubbs

    So as a matter of interest, how many actual Durham miners are there now?

  • rekrab

    Len, could this be the case of putting the cart before the horse? If the changes are implemented before the election and labour lose the election, where does it go from there? because that’s face it, a trade union movement with less parliamentary support and voices under a returned conservative government is a gamble to far.

  • swatnan

    Well done to Len for wholeheartedly embracing Reform. I can’t quite believe it, but it must be true.

Latest

  • Comment Fairness dictates that we show concern for both sides

    Fairness dictates that we show concern for both sides

    We have all been shocked to see the surge in violence between Israel and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This conflict is causing enormous hardship on both sides. Particularly distressing is the sight of civilian casualties. The scale of human suffering in the current escalation is immense and every civilian casualty is a tragedy. The people of Gaza have the right to live in peace and freedom, just as Israelis have the right not to fear for […]

    Read more →
  • News Are Osborne’s spinners block journalists from asking questions they don’t like?

    Are Osborne’s spinners block journalists from asking questions they don’t like?

    An intriguing story emerged from a copy of the Express and Star last week, the regional newspaper that covers the West Midlands and Staffordshire. Daniel Wainwright reports that during a recent visit from the Chancellor, a radio journalist said she wanted to ask George Osborne about food banks, and was told that he simply wouldn’t answer it. Here’s the story: “Talking of George Osborne, here’s a little insight into what goes on in the run up to getting an interview. These […]

    Read more →
  • News Alexander intervenes on Gaza escalation that “shames our shared humanity”

    Alexander intervenes on Gaza escalation that “shames our shared humanity”

    Douglas Alexander, Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, has made another intervention on the Gaza conflict as the crisis in the Middle East continues to escalate. Alexander condemns the attack on a UN school in Gaza, describing the deaths of children there as “[shaming] our shared humanity”. His latest comments seem to be aimed largely at lobbying Israel to stand down the level of the force, and to recognise that as a democracy with “vastly superior technological and military capabilities, comes particular responsibilities”. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour changes track – and now it can win

    Labour changes track – and now it can win

    Labour has not generated many headlines this week. There haven’t been game-changers. David Cameron wasn’t trounced in Prime Minister’s Questions. The polls haven’t shifted. The meeting with a post-stardust Obama passed by without significant benefit or incident. Yet, this has been Labour’s best week for some considerable time – certainly in this Parliament. Heading into the final furlong of the election race, Labour has three strategic weaknesses: its perceived weaknesses on leadership, an absence of a strong governing story and a […]

    Read more →
  • News This is just one of the reasons why the Tories will never do well in the North East

    This is just one of the reasons why the Tories will never do well in the North East

    David Cameron has been on BBC Radio Tees – that’s the radio station for the Middlesbrough area, and the Tees is the name of the river there. Except this happened (via Buzzfeed): Presenter: “You keep mentioning the River Tyne. That’s not our region prime minister. I’m sorry, we are the River Tees.” Cameron: “I’m sorry, I thought I was doing….” Tyneside is of course around 50 miles North of Middlesbrough – it’s home to Newcastle, and Gateshead, and those of us who are […]

    Read more →