Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/542/6283
Durham Miners' Gala rejects New Labour
Socialist Party members at the Durham Miners gala, photo by E Brunskill
An estimated 40,000 workers and their families from Durham and beyond converged into the city for the Durham Miners' Gala.
Elaine Brunskill, Northern region Socialist Party
We noticed a change of attitude towards New Labour from previous years, especially from some older workers who until recently were willing to give Brown a chance. Person after person was outraged at Brown's track record.
A typical response when we spoke about low pay, the ten pence tax rate, MPs' expenses and the notorious John Lewis list, was that people lifted up a hand and through gritted teeth muttered: 'Don't get me started, New Labour make me so angry'.
Conversely, when we mentioned that The Socialist (issue 541) had a middle page spread on the need for a new workers' party, the response was very positive. Workers were also interested when we pointed them to the obituary of Terry Fields. When told he had been a workers' MP on a workers' wage, they listened intently, and many contrasted this stance to the current crop of careerist New Labour MPs who have their noses in the trough.
Speaking from the platform, David Hopper, Durham NUM Secretary, lambasted New Labour's lack of democracy, as they prevented two leading Labour party members from standing as candidates. He is reported in the local paper as saying: "Anybody who dares to criticise the Labour Party is condemned for wanting a Tory government back. But who is responsible for creating the conditions for a return to the Tories?"
The Socialist Party had an excellent response at this year's gala. We had a youthful team who worked extremely hard. Many older party members said how good it was to see so many young Socialist Party members continuing to fly our banner. We sold 181 copies of The Socialist, and we are confident these papers will be a source of ideas on how to build a socialist alternative.
In The Socialist 16 July 2008:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Workplace news and analysis
The Socialist Comment
Socialist Party review