WATCH: Johnson? Less Churchill, more Wreck-it Ralph, says McCluskey

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has accused the Prime Minister of being less “Churchillian” and more “Wreck-it Ralph”, in a speech at the TUC congress 2019 today.

Addressing trade unionists, McCluskey said: “Colleagues, Jeremy Corbyn’s commitments last week to a real industrial strategy and serious economic plan were music to my ears. No more tinkering around the edges.

“Pushing democracy further into the workplace and the economy to give people more control over their lives and shifting power away from greedy bosses and landlords to workers and tenants.

“The Labour Party is committed to an economic alternative that will bring security and equality to our communities, in stark contrast to the tax cuts for the wealthy promised by Johnson.

“No wonder the Financial Times devoted so much space to analysing Labour’s economic policies, with hysterical headlines about raids on company shares. But while the FT was of course right that Labour will be transferring significant amounts of shareholder wealth to workers – and we thank them for the free advertising – let’s be clear.

“A £300 billion raid is not theft. It’s giving workers back what is rightfully theirs. Redistribution of income, assets, ownership and power is at the heart of Labour’s economic and industrial strategies.

“But colleagues, we live in challenging and very dangerous times. A general election is coming. And we face the political fight of our lives. Not on Johnson’s terms. On ours.

“On the principle of bringing our country together. That is the very essence of Trade Unionism. Jeremy Corbyn is the only leader who can do that. Who can give hope and heal the divisions after years of a Tory government deliberately dividing it.

“A government that’s spent the last nine years waging class war against the poor and incapable of offering any coherent Industrial Strategy.

“Only a transformative, radical, Labour government can rebuild and reunite our communities and restore hope to those who feel abandoned by Westminster. Only Labour can ensure decent, secure jobs with an end to the scandalous abuse of migrant workers and agency labour. Empowered by the force of our movement.

“Embodied by the likes of the Harland and Wolff workers here today. Who’ve occupied their yard for the past month, fighting to save their jobs, demanding nationalisation, demonstrating our movement’s wonderful values of solidarity and community spirit. And the striking Lincolnshire health visitors, denied a pay rise by a Tory council for nearly two years.

“Colleagues, the manufacturing crisis we’re in the grip of has worsened with no deal uncertainty. But it’s about much more than Brexit.

“Our industrial base and communities have been ravaged by generations of neoliberalism. Our great manufacturing industries decimated. The crisis is the lasting impact of the biggest act of industrial sabotage ever seen.

“Sabotage that includes the anti-union laws and the dramatic changes made to collective bargaining amid wholesale market deregulation.

“It’s no accident that workers’ share of GDP declined from over 64 per cent in 1975 to 51 per cent now. Even an A level economics student will tell you the devastation this does to an economy.

“The refusal of the Tories to engage with trade unionists as industry partners, to work together to scale the economic and industrial challenges is, frankly, astonishing.

“Colleagues, our class consciousness and community spirit can be the foundation for a fundamentally different kind of society, one in which no place is ever left abandoned.

“To achieve that we, as a movement, have to be at the forefront of the political, industrial and community resistance to this hard-right government. It’s a government that despises us and the places we come from.

“We know who you are Boris Johnson. We know your game. Your wish to be Churchillian, rather than the Wreck-it Ralph that you are.

“But know this. We will fight you in our hospitals, we will fight you in our factories, we will fight you in our communities. Pick your beach, Prime Minister. We’ll never surrender. We are the workers of Britain and we’re coming for you.”

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