What a day to attend my first Durham Miners’ Gala!
- A new politics, expressed in the person of Jeremy Corbyn, is taking centre stage.
- Meetings and rallies throughout the country are mobilizing support for Jeremy, including getting on for a thousand at a Brighton Momentum meeting, and over 600 attending the Annual General Meeting of the Brighton CLPs
- The attempted coup by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) against the party membership appears increasingly isolated.
- Angela Eagle is about to announce her candidature against Jeremy Corbyn for party leader.
- The tectonic plates that were the foundation of European economic and political stability have moved, perhaps irrevocably.
And tens of thousands, perhaps even a hundred thousand, crammed the old cobbled streets of beautiful Durham, replete with dozens of miners’ and other union banners and brass bands – celebrating both our best and oldest traditions of trade union solidarity, and a new political movement that has the capacity to bring a new world in its midst.
And every brass band stopped outside the Royal County Hotel to play for Jeremy and the other labour movement leaders gathered on the balcony, including David Hopper of the NUM who had declared the Gala a coup free zone. Jeremy himself looked relaxed and happy at the enthusiastic mass of people, celebrating their past and their hopes for the future.
And so to the racecourse where we gathered to hear the speeches. Denis Skinner may be over 80 but he brilliantly welcomed the newly emerging movement as he excoriated the tired establishment politics of the PLP, contrasting it to the mass movement that is being created out of the wreckage of a world in crisis. And then there was Jeremy. He was just himself - not talking about himself, but of the millions suffering at the hands of a government and ruling class inflicting misery on our people.
And finally to the post-Gala Momentum meeting. It was held some distance away but was packed. Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker made her usual concise and informed speech – arguing that the attempted coup in the Labour Party was a war waged by the establishment against the Party itself. And a young local Momentum comrade, Rachel Broadbent, explained that what was happening in the Party was the most acute expression of class struggle. “The class struggle is happening now –and it is happening in the Labour Party”. As is so often the case, the most profound truths are also the most simple ones.