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JEREMY CORBYN made a rallying cry for an intensified fight for a Labour government in a barnstorming speech to thousands of trade unionists at this year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival.
He described how important the annual Dorset gathering is to the labour movement and how the struggles of the past serve as lessons intoday’s fights for a better society.
“To the martyrs, we owe thanks – for the rights we have and the world we will create,” the Labour leader said.
Paying homage to the six agricultural workers sentenced to exile in Australia for daring to form a union, Mr Corbyn said they had shown that unity is essential to securing victory in the face of media attacks that seek to “destabilise, demoralise and divide” communities.
The crowd cheered in agreement when Mr Corbyn said that facing such attacks was not as tough as living in poverty with limited opportunities.
He said that austerity was “a political choice made by the Conservatives and willingly aided by the Liberal Democrats.”
That’s why there are now 600,000 people in poverty in the south-west, including one in four children, he added.
Mr Corbyn also said that he would not tolerate a £15 billion tax giveaway to the rich while millions remain mired in poverty.
He said that to achieve this, the labour movement must get out and campaign, and that there is no such thing as a “no-go area” for the Labour Party.
Shadow education minister Angela Rayner told festival-goers: “Coming to Tolpuddle allows you to see the similarities between the struggles of the past and the struggles we fight today.”
Speaking of the expected “coronation” of Boris Johnson as the next Tory prime minister, she said: “Johnson will be appointed by the few and the labour movement needs to oppose this open racist.
“We need to be ready for a general election and to fight as those Tolpuddle heroes did before us.”
Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka also stressed the need “to fight for a Labour government that can change people’s lives for the better.”
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