Cracking day at Durham Miner’s Gala with my comrades in the Hatfield Brigade. Always a very special weekend of sun, solidarity and Socialism and one I look forward to very much.
The new stage and PA set-up didn’t disappoint and the speeches were universally excellent, from the opening broadcast by Bernie Sanders right up to the headline act, one Jeremy Corbyn, who stormed it!
I hunted high and low for a photograph which did the turnout some justice, and this one taken backstage and tweeted by Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror is the best I’ve seen.
I’m somewhere around 50 yards from the front over on the right there…..
There were many impassioned words on that stage, from the FBU‘s Matt Wrack through to the legendary Dennis Skinner, but one of the most striking for me was Ibrahim Dogus speaking on behalf of the Free Abdullah Ocalan Campaign.
The Kurds have been fighting the invisible war on fascism, risking their lives and their homes in the struggle against ISIS. Not only that, but they do it against a backdrop of brutal injustice from the Turkish government and a betrayal by the West. Ocalan was imprisoned 18 years ago on Imrali Island, in total isolation and in inhumane conditions, yet his writings offer hope for his people and the wider world, and a future of peace, democracy, tolerance and inclusion. He has been described as a 21st Century Mandela, and it is time his story was known.
It was great to see so many comrades from up and down the land and beyond, and to hook up with the good people of Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party for a quick photo in the late afternoon sun.
But my lasting memory of the day will be Billy Bragg‘s set to close the event, especially ‘Between The Wars’, as spine-tinglingly brilliant as ever, and sadly perhaps more relevant than it has ever been.
Anyway. With batteries charged next stop is Rotherham Trades Club on Thursday for a Labour Party fundraiser; then I’m back on We Shall Overcome duties for two consecutive Saturday’s, firstly at The Station in Ashton-under-Lyne for Pauline Town‘s 50th Birthday Event and then Hull Adelphi on the 28th to open for Country Joe & The Fish legend Bruce Barthol.
Be good to see you out there x