A magnificent 50,000 people attended this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala — the biggest turnout for 40 years.
The speeches reflected anger towards the actions of the New Labour government. Rodney Bickerstaffe, president of the National Pensioners Convention, denounced the disgraceful level of the state pension. Ian Lavery, NUM miners’ union chair, called for the renationalisation of the coal industry.
Dennis Skinner MP criticised the Warwick agreement between New Labour and a handful of trade union leaders. He demanded a “Durham agreement” where the concerns of ordinary working people are addressed.