Message by Labour Leader Keir Starmer on Durham Miners’ Gala 2020
Durham Miners’ Gala is a celebration of community, of working-class culture and solidarity.
This year’s event has, of course, sadly been put on hold as we come together to defeat coronavirus, in the hope that we will be able to return bigger and better next year.
We’re drawing on the spirit of the Gala to defeat the virus. The trade unionists who have such a proud history of coming together to protect their jobs, their industries and their communities.
The Gala reminds us each year, amongst the proud, incredible banners and the brass bands, of that labour history.
For more than a century, the Gala was funded by the miners of Durham Coalfield and now it’s our duty and my duty as Labour leader to support the Gala. And that’s why I’m proud to be a Marra.
We must never forget the origins of our Party. It was founded as the political arm of the trade union movement, to represent workers and their families so their voices could be heard in Parliament. This is as important today as it was a century ago.
Coronavirus has shown the strength in our communities. It’s shown that our economy depends on the essential workers who have kept our country going. But it’s also shown the challenges that some places and some people have been particularly affected. We need to build on our foundation as a working-class movement to build a fairer society for all.
And let me say this now and let me say it clearly, Labour will not allow workers and their communities to pay for the cost of this crisis. It was not of your making. And many of you and your families have been on the frontline in our hospitals, our shops, our care homes, keeping schools open for the children of key workers and in so many other jobs that have been undervalued and underpaid for too long.
But we must also draw on the spirit of the Gala to ensure your jobs and industries are protected as we emerge from this crisis. To do that, we need to work together, we need to be united. We will always remember the Gala motto: The past we inherit, the future we build.
So for now, we carry with us the spirit of the Gala wherever we go. And we look forward to coming together in person in 2021, in solidarity.