Jeremy Corbyn Speaks at Tolpuddle, 19th July 2015
The significance of six men from Tolpuddle in Dorset and their families made to the lives of working people, leading to trade unions, and to democracy is unbeknown to many, who learn of kings and queens and rich people’s wars.
“My lord, if we had violated any law it was not done intentionally. We were uniting together to save ourselves, our wives and families from starvation.”
But their battle was just to feed their families. They worked the land because rich people forcefully claimed they owned it. It is to commemorate these six men that there is an annual rally in Tolpuddle.
This year, The MP for North Islington, Jeremy Corbyn speaks of the Martyrs, and their contribution. As a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, he also puts forward his vision for a fairer society, where everyone is cared for everyone, and everyone cares for each other.
Labour has had its ups and downs, but our contribution has been amazing.
- We formed the NHS in 1948, Health Care free at point of use.
- Passed planning legislation and built large numbers of council houses.
- Building on Beverage, we founded the welfare state in 1948
- In Government we passed Equalities Legislation
- The Human Rights Act
- Argued and Changed Lives for LGBT
We have won great debates and made a massive contribution . Now there is unanimous support for free healthcare as a human right, but the idea of a welfare state as an insurance system to protect everybody from destitution has gone off the rails. There is talk in the Houses of Parliament of welfare scroungers, and people are watching Benefit Street. They are condemning people with disabilities (often work related), who are claiming legitimately – by the nastiest possible media imaginable.
“We need to say something different as a Labour Movement. We want to live in a society where nobody is homeless, where nobody is destitute. Is it right in the fourth richest country we allow one million people to rely on food banks, and sleep on streets?
Let’s defend the principle of a society which cares for everyone and where everyone cares for everyone else.”
We had our downs, supporting Private Finance Initiatives – and the Appalling decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.
“It was a long time ago, but it does matter because the descendants of war are the next war , and the war after that. The growth of irrational forces like ISIL is not far from where we exported arms, which is now fuelling these conflicts. We have to think carefully about the human consequences of war. The refugee crisis around the world is now the biggest in recorded history.
Specific targets for the future Labour Party is the vote in 2016 for Trident replacement which is to cost 100 Billion pounds. Labour should oppose this. We want a world of peace, not war.
The other question facing the Labour Party is the Banking Crisis. We lost in 2010 because of a banking crisis created by unregulated banks and a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US which led to a tsunami of economic problems all around the world. It was not caused by too many nurses and paramedics in the health service, cleaners in schools, educational assistants or any other public worker.
It was right for the Labour Party to bring banks into public ownership. The problem is that shares were given to a holding company, now under direction of George Osborne, selling them off at a loss.
Now spivs and the city, and fat cats all around the world are buying up those banks. Since we paid so dearly as the public for those banks we should retain public ownership so that we can direct them to invest in manufacturing industry and everything else.
But we adopted an austerity budget, and an incoming Labour supporting government would have made cuts as we have seen the ConDem government cuts. You can’t cut your way to prosperity. You only get change if you challenge the austerity agenda.
Reality is rebranding our economy leading to a greater inequality, reducing the size of the state in what it does for ordinary people.”
Labour need to offer something different. A future with hope.
“Now we have a chance to debate and offer an alternative through this Labour leadership campaign.
Now we can mobilise people, we can unite people, we can excite people. We can encourage those 53% young people who were registered but didn’t vote. We can win people back.
.. By being proud of what we are, where we came from: proud of our unions.
I do know that mobilisation of such large numbers people invert town and city in this country, talking about something different, wanting something different has changed politics. Let it continue!”
- Tolpuddle Martyrs
- BBC History Tolpuddle Martyrs
- Stand up ! Stand up! For Workers!
- Thatcher Lives on. Worst Attack on Trade Unions in Thirty Years
- Get together now – we need trade unions like never before
- Remember the real divide is Rich and Poor
- Workers Martyrdom and Solidarity Across the Globe
- 114 Year Workers Rights Scrapped by Coalition Government