This year’s Durham Miners Gala on Saturday 9th July was the most politically charged Gala in many decades. The highlight was the speech by Jeremy Corbyn, who was greeted with an enormous amount of support from the large crowd of over 100,000.
This year’s Durham Miners Gala on Saturday 9th July was, without a doubt, the most politically charged Gala in many decades. A culmination of the EU referendum and political turmoil contributed massively to the huge attendance at the event, with over 100,000 turning out on the day. The Big Meeting has always been a great coming together of the working class from up and down the country which very rarely provides a dull moment. There was the usual proud and enthusiastic atmosphere amongst the people, alongside the parades of colliery bands and trade union and political banners featuring socialist icons from Tony Benn and Clement Attlee to Marx and Lenin – but underneath this there was an obvious feeling of frustration and anger at recent events.
There was an immense amount of support for Jeremy Corbyn both amongst the people attending and other participating political groups. Slogans such as “Defend Corbyn, Fight For Socialism” went down exceptionally well with people and sparked some brilliant conversations from people of all ages and backgrounds. This was only amplified by Corbyn’s attendance at the event itself. There was a great amount of support for deselection of those members of the PLP who have turned against Corbyn, and in some cases this was reflected in outright anger.
Jeremy Corbyn himself took to the stage to an astounding reception from an enormous crowd of people. He proclaimed that he felt there was “no pressure at all” on him as Party leader, which was supported by the response he received from spectators. Other speakers throughout the day included a Gala favourite, Dennis Skinner, who had been asked to replace one of the key architects of the Blairite coupt, Tom Watson, after he was forbidden to attend. Skinner, as ever, had no shortage of words for the Parliamentary Labour Party’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.
If there is one thing that can be understood from this year’s Miners Gala it is that Jeremy Corbyn has tapped into a mood that has long since been suppressed by the constant barrage of capitalist and reactionary drivel being spewed from the ruling class and from large parts of the Labour Party. This mood isn’t just in the Labour Party, but amongst ordinary working communities across the country who have been looking for a genuine alternative for decades. The Labour Party needs to hone into this mood if it is to provide a genuine alternative to the Tories and pose a threat to the ruling class and their parliamentary puppets.
Socialist Appeal comrades had a great day, selling 260 papers and raising over £415 on the day at our two book stalls. Many people came looking for our paper and one comrade even featured on Russia Today selling the paper.