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LGBT activists could be set to defy London Pride organisers who “shamefully” prioritised corporate sponsors and march at the front of today’s parade.
Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners had been invited to lead the parade on the 30th anniversary of the 1984-85 miners’ strike after their solidarity story was popularised in the hit film Pride.
But the group rejected the invitation after organisers said trade union members could not join them because there would be too many people at the front of the march.
LGSM are expected to be joined by thousands of trade unionists, as well as Pride director Stephen Beresford and actor Faye Marsay, in block C of the parade.
That would leave them trailing floats from economy wrecking banks Barclays and Citibank and tax-dodging Starbucks.
On the eve of the parade, an emergency motion protesting against the decision was passed unanimously at the TUC LGBT conference. GMB organiser David Braniff-Herbert accused organisers of giving in to corporate sponsorship, shouting: “Shame on you, Pride London.”
He said: “Too large to be at the front? Excuse me, we’re trade unions — we invented marching, we know how it works, thank you very much.
“Let’s also note that this is not just a slight on the trade union movement but it’s a slap in the face for LGBT history. “Comrades, will we celebrate the anniversary of the repeal of Section 28 [the part of the 1988 Local Government Act which prohibited councils from “promoting” homosexuality or will it be too political?
“Let us now focus on building the largest trade union section at London Pride ever. Saturday must be and will be brilliant.”
But other campaigners said yesterday that they should take matters into their own hands and simply march before corporate sponsors. The call won a roaring reception from delegates, who had earlier heard from LGSM co-founder Mike Jackson.
If it goes ahead, the action would resemble the 1985 London Pride event. Organisers had initially objected to LGSM unfurling political banners but relented when a group of miners and their families from south Wales arrived to support them. The moment was immortalised in the final scene of Bafta-winning Pride.
Lucio Buffone from transport union Aslef exhorted the conference to do the same, shouting: “Why don’t we just stand at the front of the march?”
RMT delegate Lorna Tooley said: “Please make Pride something we can still be proud of.”
The conference voted to hold Pride London politically accountable for future decisions and call on London’s mayor to provide more public funding in a bid to curb corporate influence.
Amid the growing backlash over the event’s “depoliticisation,” one group will hold an “RIP Pride” funeral procession on the route today.
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