* Welsh for Welcome to
I had the pleasure, along with two work colleagues, of attending the Jeremy Corbyn rally at Holland House Hotel, Newport Road Cardiff yesterday evening.
I met up with my colleauges outside the hotel and I have to say I was amazed at the number and type of people attending the event.
People from all walks of life, young, old, middle aged, white, black, able bodied and disabled.
As a Labour Party member, I had the advantage of reserving seats (second row from the front right of the stage) in the conference room for myself and my colleagues.
“stick with me girls and I’ll show you a good time” I had told them!
More people started to filter in. We were sat next to an elderly couple who had travelled to Cardiff from Lydney in Gloucestershire, the woman explaining that they just could not pass up the opportunity to see Mr Corbyn.
Behind me sat a large number of 18 to 25 year olds excitedly chattering about Jeremy Corbyn.
I estimated there to be at least 1000 people present.
The media were ensconced on the balcony above us with their zoom lenses at the ready!
Whatever your views about Mr Corbyn, this man has reinvigorated politics; he has reignited the interest of young people, who have felt disenfranchised from politics following the tuition fees fiasco.
The leaders of UNISON and UNITE (who along with many other unions) who have pledged their support for Mr Corbyn, got up to make speeches about why their unions were supporting Jeremy Corbyn.
The Council leaders for Cardiff and Swansea also spoke of their support for Mr Corbyn.
The Swansea Council Leader said;
“This government have centralised power while devolving the pain inflicted by cuts to local councils. It is the most deprived communities in the country that are bearing the brunt of the government’s economically flawed programme.”
That was followed by rapturous applause.
And now the man himself … Jeremy Corbyn.
More enthusiastic clapping from the audience.
These are some of the things (that I can remember) that Jeremy Corbyn said:-
“Britain is not working well for most people. More of the same won’t work. We believe the new advances and opportunities of the 21st century can be harnessed to benefit all. Our party must meet this challenge. Change is never successful if it is top down. We will build a new social movement to bring about real change in our country”
“Our policies are based on justice, freedom, solidarity and equality for all”.
“An economy which works for all, rejects austerity and places wealth and opportunity in the hands of the millions and not simply the millionaires”.
“Democratic collective action is needed to secure a better country. Government should not be the property of a closed elite circle.”
“Growth not austerity – with a national investment bank to help create tomorrow’s jobs and reduce the deficit fairly. Fair taxes for all – let the broadest shoulders bear the biggest burden to balance the books”. He said you cannot CUT your way to prosperity; you can only INVEST your way to prosperity
“A lower welfare bill through investment and growth not squeezing the least well-off and cuts to child tax credits.”
He said one thing he failed to understand was the tory use of language – when the tories talk about welfare reform, it is not in the sense of changing it to make it better (to reform) it is to eradicate it completely.
“Protection at work – no zero hours contracts, strong collective bargaining to stamp out workplace injustice.”
“Fully-funded NHS, integrated with social care, with an end to privatisation in health.”
“Decent homes for all in public and private sectors by 2025 through a big housebuilding programme and controlling rents.”
“Public ownership of railways and in the energy sector – privatisation has put profits before people.”
“A life-long national education service for decent skills and opportunities throughout our lives: universal childcare, abolishing student fees and restoring grants, and funding adult skills training throughout our lives”
As you can imagine, the 18 – 25 year olds behind me clapped and cheered enthusiastically to that!
“Our world is under threat as never before. This means we must act in the long term interest of the planet rather than the short-term interests of corporate profits”. (He made some very harsh comments about the fracking industry and praised the Welsh Assembly Government obtaining a moratorium on fracking in Wales.)
“Britain needs to redefine its place in the world. We stand up against injustice wherever we find it, looking to build a more peaceful world through dialogue, cooperation and democracy.”
He said it wasn’t right that the current government complained about countries whose governments were abusing peoples rights and freedoms and yet they (this government) seemed to be doing the very same thing – more applause from the audience for that comment.
“Our party must become a rejuvenated, democratic mass social movement again dedicated to bringing about real change.”
He also said (something which I wholeheartedly agree with) that it was shameful that during debates and PMs Question Time, that tory MPs were allowed to make personal comments, jibes and throw insults instead of concentrating on the politics; this was something that if he was Labour leader, he would address. He said that this kind of behaviour simply puts the public off.
He then took a few questions from the floor and left the venue to deafening applause and a standing ovation.
My colleagues and I made our way to the local pub, one of my colleagues turned to me and said “I feel inspired after that” (she was talking about Jeremy Corbyn and not the drink)