Over 50,000 people attended the 126th Durham Miners Gala last Saturday.
There was a strong mood of anger against the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Chris Baugh of the PCS union pointed out that government cuts would hit north east England, where one in three jobs depend on public spending, particularly hard.
Len McCluskey of the Unite union called for direct action “including occupations” to stop job losses.
He said there would be a battle with the TUC to withdraw its “obscene” invitation to David Cameron to address its autumn Congress.
The biggest cheers went to Dave Hopper, general secretary of the North East NUM, who referred to “13 wasted years of a Labour government”. He added, “It is not a new leader we want but a new direction.”