Politics UK: Culloden

Full Version: McCrimmon Speech to TUC
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When I was young, my father taught me a number of songs. A competent singer and pianist, I was fortunate enough to inherit those skills and those songs. As I began to think about what I wanted to say to you today, one of those songs took up residence in my brain and it goes as such:

There is power there is power
in a band of workingmen,
When they stand hand in hand,
That's a power, that's a power
That must rule in every land—
One Industrial Union Grand.

There is, as that song is so aptly titled, power in a union. My father was a proud member of the Shipconstructors’ and Shipwrights’ Association, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, and the Trades Union Congress. As I grew up, I learned how vital unions are to our way of life and how, without them, we would be slaves of the corporate class.

Our party, comrades, is inching closer and closer to falling under the sway of corporatism and the magical “free market.” In case any of our colleagues have forgotten, our party constitution clearly states that it is incumbent upon us “To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

That is quite the mess of word salad, so let me simplify it to how I understand it - “The Labour Party is an unabashedly socialist party who believes that when properly organized to fight for their interests, the working class are the agents of progress in the United Kingdom.”

And to prove that, the first act of a McCrimmon premiership after a Queen’s Speech would be to repeal the Trade Union Act 1984. Conservatives like Peter Bottomley may say that it’s about making unions “accountable” and “democratic” and other nice-sounding words, but let’s be clear about what it is - it’s union-busting. There were already democratic structures in place across the TUC! What it added was obstacles to make striking harder and to discourage it. That is antithetical to our purpose. While I was not on the frontlines of the miner’s strike, I can only imagine how that felt - that your country, your government, did not care enough about you to make sure you were well fed. For those of you that were striking, I thank you for your great act of sacrifice and apologize to you for how certain members of this party treated you. A McCrimmon government would not only protect your right to strike but would also restore your right to secondary picketing, which is a vital tactic in the fight against profits and profiteers who don’t care about you, only the money they can make.

And on that note, we will restore industry under public ownership. Profiteering, my brothers and sisters, is a sin! Jesus tells us that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I, personally have never earned anywhere close to six figures in a year, my father, God rest his soul, never did either. A single person does not need to make anywhere close to a hundred thousand pounds. Government-owned industry can be the starting point for so many reforms - equal pay for equal work, a living wage, and the removal of profiteering. It is appalling that CEOs earn salaries in the hundred thousands and millions of pounds, yet the average salary across the country is less than twenty thousand! Trust me when I say that you do not need any more than one hundred thousand pounds a year to live. I normally earn under fifty thousand pounds and I am doing all right for myself.

So then, how else will we get rid of the privateers who call themselves “CEOs” and take what should be spread amongst all who work? It is my hope, that with your support, we will be able to recreate the Lucas Plan at any corporation that is not brought under public ownership! The Lucas Plan fell through due to the actions of she who will no longer be our Prime Minister, but a McCrimmon government would full-throatedly support workers across the UK! We will encourage worker-owned co-ops! We will allow local authorities to own corporations as well!

And here’s why. What I have learned over the last 51 years of my life is very simple - you do not need a Richard Branson, a Sir John Moores, or a Garfield Weston to run a business or corporation. What you do need is the commitment of the working class, of the people that spend their 40 hours a week hard at work. And what they need is a voice in business decisions. If I become Labour Leader and, hopefully, Prime Minister, I will make this happen. We have lived for far too long under the thumbs of the profiteers, privateers, and Prime Ministers who have felt as though they are free what they wish to do to workers! We, the many, have been naught, but we can become what we deserve to be! As Ethel Comer reminds us,

Arouse! Arouse! Ye toilers,
The strife will not be long.
This day the noise of battle,
The next the victor's song.
All ye that slave for wages,
Stand up and break your chain:
Unite in ONE BIG UNION
you've got a world to gain.