British Conservatives unwelcome at Durham Miners’ Gala

This 21 January 2020 video from England is called Durham Miners Gala organiser warns new Tory MPs to get police protection.

By Marcus Barnett in Britain:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Durham miners would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than invite Johnson to the Gala

DURHAM miners insisted today they would rather “be found dead in a ditch” than invite Boris Johnson to the Durham Miners’ Gala, despite Tory MPs “trolling” about attending the event.

The announcement came after several new Tory MPs in former coalfield areas have shown an interest in attending the Gala in July this year.

These include Dehenna Davison, who was elected the first Tory MP for Bishop Auckland in the constituency’s 101-year existence.

However, Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) president Alan Mardghum insisted that Tory MPs were unwelcome at the Gala, which is thought to be Europe’s largest celebration of trade unionism.

When asked by the BBC today about whether he would welcome any of the new Tory parliamentary intake at the Gala, Mr Mardghum responded: “To paraphrase Johnson, I would rather be found dead in a ditch than invite them, or Johnson, to the Gala.

“We never saw [miners’ union leader] Arthur Scargill invited to the Tory Party conference. Why would we invite Tories to the Durham Miners’ Gala?

“They did their best to absolutely destroy the Durham miners and the miners of Great Britain.”

Mr Mardghum also added that they “might need to speak to the police to make sure that they’re safe on the day.” …

A subsequent statement by Mr Mardghum clarified his comments, saying: “Conservative MPs have never attended the Durham Miners’ Gala as official invitees or, as far as we know, the parade itself.

“The idea that we should invite them now is simply ludicrous and was started by a cheeky question from a journalist.”

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols defended the DMA, saying: “Unless they’re attending to deliver an apology on behalf of this government for Thatcherism and commit to a public inquiry on Orgreave, any Tory MP attending the Durham Miners’ Gala is just trolling.

“They don’t understand the event or what it stands for.”

UK: Johnson government plans draconian new anti-terror laws: here.

English Durham miners’ gala and Julian Assange

This video from England says about itself:

Saturday the 13th of July 2019 saw the 135th Durham Miners’ Gala – County Durham’s community heritage & working class solidarity in full colour. Congratulations to all involved.

From the World Socialist Web Site in England:

UK: SEP wins support for Julian Assange at Durham Miners’ Gala

By our reporters

15 July 2019

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) took the campaign to free imprisoned WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange to the 135th Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday, winning support from former miners, their families and the many workers present.

A section of the crowd at the Durham Miners Gala

The Durham Miners’ Gala is an annual labour movement event. Held for the first time in 1871, it attracts an estimated 200,000 attendees in celebration of the town’s coal mining heritage. It features a banner parade with brass bands, a cathedral service and political speeches. Delegations travel there from across England and abroad, from former mining communities, trade unions and political parties.

Members of the SEP campaign team for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange at the Gala

SEP campaigners distributed copies of the June 20 call by the World Socialist Web Site, “For a worldwide campaign to prevent Julian Assange’s rendition to the US!” Over 600 copies of the statement were distributed as a four-page colour brochure. More than 20 people signed up to support or join the campaign.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark, a former Durham miner, said, “I’ve been acquainted with the Assange case for many years. He came to prominence with his disclosure of the lies we’re being told. The way information is being suppressed for many decades this comes as no surprise to me. As soon as the ruling class are threatened in any way, they will use whatever power they’ve got—the control over the media, over state institutions—to destroy people. This is what working people have got to realise.”

Asked about the role played by Labour and the trade union bureaucracy, he said, “I’m familiar with the origin and development of the Labour Party in particular. Of course, it was never a socialist party to start with. There were socialists involved in its origination, but the Labour Party is a reformist party. It believes in making little bits of reforms and accepting the few crumbs that are falling from the table. It has never been prepared, even today, to challenge the international power which rests with the financial classes.

The 1984-85 miners’ strike was a threat to the ruling class; the whole power of the state was employed to destroy the miners and the communities and their organisations. It’s the same with journalism. The majority of journalists in the UK are working for press barons such as Murdoch and the Barclay brothers, tax evaders.

“I’m an old-fashioned class warrior and make no apology for it. When Marx was writing about the state in the latter part of the 19th century, the same problems exist today as they did then.” He concluded saying, “You’re doing a great job!”

Derek Richardson at the SEP stall

Derek Richardson, who comes from a mining family, said, “It’s a disgrace that press freedom has been destroyed. There is no press freedom for Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning is back in prison. There were illusions in the Global Conference for Media Freedom, but this was a party-political broadcast for full control of the media by the state.”

Susan Simpson

Susan Simpson is from a mining family in Wakefield. She said, “It is appalling what is happening to Assange. If this happened in a Third World country for exposing the truth, they [Assange and Chelsea Manning] would be celebrated. Did they really need all those police officers to drag him out, when he was clearly ill? It’s one of the biggest travesties ever. There should be more people up in arms.”

Ex-miner John and his wife Linda supported the campaign to free Assange. Linda said, “He’s done nothing wrong but tell the truth! He should be free, it’s Tony Blair that should be behind bars for war crimes.”

John and Linda

David Lindsay, a freelance journalist, said, “Julian Assange must not be extradited anywhere, and Jeremy Corbyn must say so.”

David Lindsay

Barry White, a journalist who represented the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) on the European Federation of Journalists board until 2016, said, “I support the call for Julian Assange to be freed, without a shadow of doubt. What he did was reveal the great injustices, great violence against ordinary people and conspiracies by states against ordinary people. He revealed it and newspapers published it, they were quite happy to take that information.

“You mentioned the Espionage Act charges the Americans want to bring against him. They’ve been planning this for years. There will be no action taken against the newspapers that published the revelations that he made with others. It will be him alone because they want to make an example of people who blow whistles against the rich and powerful and reveal what they are up to.

WikiLeaks revealed a range of abuses that go on behind closed doors, and of course within the institutions of the state, whether they are the judiciary, parliamentary or whatever. There are people who don’t want to be found out, either directly or indirectly by those revelations. It’s those people who should be in the courts, not Julian Assange.

“The media freedom conference was hypocrisy by the British state, a government which seeks to wash its hands of any responsibility for Julian Assange and make sure he’s shipped off to the United States. To then talk about protecting the media is just eye-watering hypocrisy. These people want to protect powerful media owners and not people who reveal some very unsavoury, unpleasant aspects of the society we live in.”

Labour MP Chris Williamson

Labour MP Chris Williamson was asked about his attitude to Assange’s imprisonment. He said, “I’m a big supporter of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. He is the most important journalist in the world right now. We must demand his freedom.

“I was down at the prison to show my solidarity with him, shortly after he had been incarcerated. It brings shame on Great Britain that we’ve treated this really important figure in the way in which we have, when he was thrown out of the Ecuadorian embassy. Frankly, he’s an ill man. I said at the time, he should have been put in the back of an ambulance and given medical treatment rather than being taken to a high-security prison.

“Given the nature of the work he’s been involved with, he has exposed the grotesque abuse of state power by Britain and the US, we must get behind him and show our support for him. That is why we need a socialist government under Jeremy Corbyn, because there would be a very, very different approach to what we are seeing under the present Tory administration.” …

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the rally

UNISON union head Dave Prentice tacked “left”, demanding Trident nuclear submarines are scrapped and the money poured into public services. …

Some of the day’s loudest applause followed National Union of Teachers General Secretary Kevin Courtney’s denunciation of war preparations against Iran. …

Unite union General Secretary Len McCluskey appealed to growing disgust among workers towards the Brexit crisis, saying there was “no solution via Remain or Leave”. He rejected “the culture war” between both camps, calling for a “return to the class struggle.” …

In his own address to the Gala, Corbyn said a Labour government would investigate police violence during the 1984-85 miners’ strike and cited the persecution of the Shrewsbury pickets, jailed in 1972 for industrial action the previous year. …

Corbyn warned that the rise of the far-right as a “very, very serious threat indeed” and won a standing ovation from his colleagues on the platform for attacking anti-Semitism.

UK: Strong support for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival: here.

English Blairites unwelcome at Durham Miners Gala

This video from England is called Durham’s 133rd miner’s gala 2017 Part 10.

By Marcus Barnett in England:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Labour’s EU rebels not welcome at Durham Miners Gala

FIVE north-east of England Labour MPs will not be invited to the Durham Miners’ Gala after calling for a second Brexit referendum in a move widely seen as an attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), Paul Williams (Stockton South), Anna Turley (Redcar), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne North) and Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) penned an article that appeared in the Independent today.

The MPs, whose constituencies all voted in favour of EU withdrawal, wrote that the issue of Brexit is “bigger than party”.

They also argued that, since the outcome of Brexit negotiations would massively affect the north-east of England and the rest of Britain for “decades to come”, a second referendum should be held on the final deal.

Mr Wilson, who represents Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield, proudly proclaimed himself an “opponent” of Mr Corbyn in the run-up to last year’s snap general election and found himself uninvited from that year’s gala.

Ms Turley, a parachuted-in MP with no connections to Redcar, has been another vocal Blairite.

The MPs’ intervention met with criticism, being viewed by many as an attempt to undermine Mr Corbyn and Labour policy, which is to respect the result of the EU referendum.

Speaking to the Star, Durham Miners Association general secretary Alan Cummings said: “I absolutely cannot see the point in what these MPs are up to.

“My personal desire was to remain in the European Union, but the British people voted to leave. It’s a democracy.

“Phil Wilson distanced himself from Jeremy Corbyn during the general election. It was a disgrace.

“Some of these MPs were elected because of Jeremy and his manifesto. They should be grateful.”

When asked about whether these MPs would be welcomed formally at the Durham Miners Gala, which takes place in July, Mr Cummings said: “We can’t stop Wilson or any MP attending, but they will not be invited.

“We are fully committed to backing Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t know why they want to try and behave like this now.”

How their constituents voted

Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) 59.4% Leave

Paul Williams (Stockton South) 57.8% Leave

Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) 64.5% Leave

Anna Turley (Redcar) 67.7% Leave

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne North) 56.8% Leave

Durham Miners Gala in England, report

This 8 July 2017 video from England says about itself:

Durham Miner’s Gala 2017

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

A Gala to go down in history

Monday 10th July 2017

The mood was buoyant and banners were held high at Durham at the weekend. PETER LAZENBY reports

THEY came in their tens of thousands. The 133rd Durham Miners’ Gala was a celebration, not just of the culture and solidarity of the region’s former coal mining communities, but also of the changed political climate since Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party shattered the hopes of Theresa May and the Tories of achieving a landslide majority in June’s general election, leaving them with an enfeebled government dependent on the right-wing fringe Democratic Unionist Party to cling to power.

The mood at the Gala on Saturday reflected new confidence — and new hope — for the future.

Trade union banners were marched down the traditional route from Durham’s historic market place, past the County Hotel, where speakers and guests looked on from the balcony. Many banners were led by bands. Thousands of onlookers lined the streets, applauding each banner and band.

There was a change from tradition. Each band usually pauses to play a “party piece” beneath the balcony before moving on followed by banners and supporters the quarter mile to the field where the Gala — the “Big Meeting” — is held.

So huge has the march become that organisers from the Durham Miners’ Association had limited the performance of party pieces to every other band, to cut down on the time spent.

The march began at 8.30am. The platform speakers and guests filed into place on the platform overlooking the Gala field at 12.30.

As they did so the banners, bands and supporters were still arriving, four hours after the march had begun — and they kept pouring in as the speeches began. An hour later they were still arriving.

The field was packed with people — more than in any recent year, and last year there were an estimated 150,000.

The speakers were rousing. Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack spoke movingly of his members’ actions in going into Grenfell Tower to rescue residents from the conflagration. His speech brought the crowd to its feet.

Tributes were paid to the late Durham Miners’ Association general secretary Dave Hopper, who died one week after last year’s Gala.

Hopper had been the driving force, along with the late DMA president Dave Guy, in keeping the Gala going after the last pit in the Durham coalfield closed in 1993 — 24 years ago. And still the Gala grows.

Jeremy Corbyn was given a rapturous welcome. When the speeches were over the celebrations continued.

Three banners with their bands were marched from the gala field to Durham Cathedral, an uphill walk in blazing sunshine. These were newly created banners representing former mining communities — Pelton Fell, Trimdon Colliery and South Moor.

Newly discovered or recreated banners are blessed by the Bishop of Durham after their first appearance at the Gala.

The banners are marched into the historic cathedral, the rafters echoing to the sound of the brass bands.

Back on the Gala field, the other banners and bands were being marched off with as much ceremony as they had arrived.

As they reached the County Hotel the crowd had not thinned, still densely lining the street.

Guests were on the balcony again and many bands — perhaps those which had not played on the march to the field — paused to play below, some prompting singing by the crowd.

Imagine 2,000 or more voices joining in with the chorus of Don’t Look Back in Anger with the words “Oh, Sally can wait.”

The Tursdale banner carried the iconic image of a police cavalry officer swinging a baton at photographer Leslie Bolton — a scene from the police attack at Orgreave.

But the creator of the banner had also introduced the image of a miner, protecting a baby in his arms, as an additional target for the baton.

The tops of several pit lodge banners were decked with black ribbon, mining communities’ traditional way of mourning a death. In this case they were mourning Hopper.

Tributes had been paid to Hopper by speakers at the Gala field. But the mood on the street as the banners and bands returned was light-hearted.

One mining banner was led by five very young children — aged maybe four to 10. They were dressed in the traditional orange overalls worn by miners, their faces and overalls besmirched with dirt. They wore protective miners’ helmets.

Beneath the balcony they danced to a tune played by the band. The banner-carriers “danced” their banner up and down in rhythm.

By now Jeremy Corbyn was back on the balcony. He began to dance and clap. There were cheers.

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign marchers were applauded, as were the International Brigades and others.

There were banners from other unions and campaigns.

The non-mining banners, and the political placards carried by some marchers, brought applause and sometimes laughter.

One group carried a huge, signed birthday card saying: “Happy Birthday NHS” which was cheered by the crowd.

One marcher, wearing a Theresa May mask, carried a placard saying “Minority of Malevolence”.

Corbyn’s presence back on the balcony inevitably led to spontaneous outbursts of the “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” sing-song chant which first manifested itself during a rock concert at Tranmere Rovers football ground before the general election.

The last banners and bands passed the County Hotel, they wended their way through the densely packed crowds which thronged the streets, heading for the dozens of coaches which had brought them to Durham for Europe’s biggest annual celebration of the labour and trade union movement.

British trade unionist calls Grenfell Tower disaster murder

This 8 July 2017 video from England says about itself:

Len McCluskey starts with a song at Durham Miners Gala

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

FBU leader praises tireless firefighters

Monday 10th July 2017

Wrack slams right-wing policies which ‘led to Tower murders

FIRE Brigades’ Union (FBU) leader Matt Wrack came close to tears yesterday as he blamed three decades of government policies for the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower.

An emotional Mr Wrack paid tribute at the Durham Miners’ Gala to the brave firefighters who ran into the towering inferno as residents of the west London block were scrambling to get out.

“That night they did, deliberately and consciously, risk their lives to save those of others,” Mr Wrack said.

“In those circumstances firefighters simply could not apply the normal practices and procedures,” he added, describing how rescue workers re-entered the building repeatedly against safety regulations.

He said it was a “miracle” that large numbers of his union’s ranks had not perished.

And he argued that a catalogue of government policies, from the underfunding and denigration of social housing to anti-health and safety rhetoric and cuts to fire inspections were to blame.

“This was no act of God,” he added.

“No higher power ordained this could or should happen.

“This is a country that can send remote-controlled guided missiles [in foreign wars] but we can’t keep people safe in their own homes.”

Prison Officers’ Association leader Steve Gillan stormed: “Health and safety isn’t the red tape the media and the Tories would have us believe. Health and safety saves lives.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the emergency service workers who dealt with the disaster.

He condemned the “crocodile tears” of Conservative MPs who praised workers before declining to lift the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap that suppresses wages in real terms.

Mr Corbyn continued: “A Labour government will invest not in luxury homes in the London suburbs. We’ll invest in good-quality housing for those who need it.”

At least 80 Grenfell residents have been confirmed dead so far, with hundreds still unaccounted for or left homeless.

The spread of the fire that was sparked by an appliance at around 1am on June 14 was exacerbated by the combustible panels and cladding on the exterior of the newly refurbished tower owned by [Conservative] Kensington and Chelsea council.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Kensington council, a Tory council, Britain’s richest, is a symbol of all that’s rotten in Tory Britain.”

And he said residents who died in the Grenfell blaze were “murdered,” echoing comments by shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Big Durham Miners Gala in England

This 8 July 2017 video from England says about itself:

Massive Crowd Greets Jeremy Corbyn At Durham Miners Gala

From a Jeremy Corbyn interview, before this Saturday’s gala:

Corbyn loves the Gala — “it’s an amazing coming together of traditions.

“The traditions of the Durham coalfield and the mining industry, the inspiration of what the miners went through.

“But also traditions of community and solidarity in so many ways. The variety of people you meet, people who are campaigning on health, education, housing — you learn a fantastic amount.”

This 8 July 2017 video from England says about itself:

Interview With Jeremy Corbyn After Durham Miners Gala

Big workers’ rally, Durham, England tomorrow

This video from England says about itself:

30 June 2017

Saturday 8 July 2017 will be the 133rd Durham Miners Gala. The Gala is now one of the biggest and most colourful celebration of trade union solidarity and community spirit.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

(Almost PM) Corbyn returns to ever-swelling Miners’ Gala

Friday 7th July 2017

A RECORD crowd is expected tomorrow at the 133rd annual Durham Miners’ Gala after last year’s event drew in 150,000 people.

More supporters are set to join Europe’s biggest celebration of the labour and trade union movement following the Labour Party’s success in whittling down the Tory government’s slim majority in the snap election last month.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be one of six speakers at the event. He will be joined by film director Ken Loach, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, Unite general secretary Len McLuskey, Prison Officers’ Association general secretary Steve Gillan and Unison northern regional secretary Clare Williams.

The event will be tinged with sadness due to the death of Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) general secretary Dave Hopper. He died one week after last year’s Gala.

In this year’s Gala programme, the new DMA secretary Alan Cummings paid tribute to the “longest serving general secretary in the DMA’s 148-year history.

“For 31 years he led our union and will be sadly missed in Durham and the wider movement,” he wrote.

“It is particularly sad that he did not live to see the monumental triumph of his friend and comrade Jeremy Corbyn in the recent general election.”

The gala starts at 8.30am with a march through Durham showcasing up to 100 trade union banners, many accompanied by bands, followed by the “Big Meeting” on the Gala field.

Four new Durham miners’ banners will later be marched to the city’s cathedral to be blessed by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler.

British miner activist Dave Hopper, RIP

This video from Britain is called DAVE HOPPER speaking at 2016 Durham Miners’ Gala

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Dave Hopper: A pillar of strength for the workers

Monday 18th July 2016

Tributes pour in for Durham Miners’ Association ‘colossus’

DAVE HOPPER, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA), died on Saturday just a week after chairing the 132nd Durham Miners’ Gala.

The 73-year-old reportedly died of a heart attack at his home in East Boldon on Saturday afternoon.

He was a giant within the trade union movement nationally and internationally — honest, outspoken, principled and uncompromising in his socialist beliefs.

Tributes have poured in, including one from Jeremy Corbyn, who Dave introduced to more than 150,000 people at the Gala on July 9.

“Dave Hopper of Durham Miners was a pillar of strength for the working class. A huge loss — he will be greatly missed,” Mr Corbyn said.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “He was a colossus and will be sadly missed.

“He was to the end the driving force that helped to galvanise and maintain support and pride of place for the Durham Big Meeting in the calendar of great working-class gatherings.”

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck and former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, said: “Sad news I’m afraid. My very good friend the legendary Durham Miners general secretary Davey Hopper died this afternoon. RIP comrade and friend.”

Joe Rollin, chair of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign said: “Davey was a giant of the trade union movement, a formidable figure maybe known best for his quick wit and sometimes brutal put downs of our opponents.

“However, for those who knew him best Davey was one of the most caring and kindest trade union leaders.”

Former Yorkshire miner Paul Winter said: “I first met Dave in the late ’80s. I was at my lowest ebb having been transferred from my family [pit] branch Dodworth to Grimethorpe. I spent an evening in his company which to me then was like a breath of fresh air.”

The survival and success of the Durham Miners’ Gala is very much down to Mr Hopper and his comrade and friend Dave Guy, DMA president, who died four years ago.

As the deep coal mining industry was wrecked, other areas of the National Union of Mineworkers abandoned their annual galas, but the DMA leadership was determined that theirs would continue.

Union legend

Miners’ leader Davey Hopper stood in the proud tradition of dedicated, socialist trade unionists. His passing is a sad loss to our movement.
John McDonnell
Shadow chancellor

Saddened to hear of the death of Davey Hopper, a stalwart of the union movement who spent his life fighting for social justice.
Frances O’Grady
TUC general secretary

A real shock to hear of the death of Durham Miners’ Davey Hopper. We so enjoyed his company at the Big Meeting last weekend. RIP my friend.
Andy McDonald
Shadow transport secretary

Friends can never be replaced but can be honoured and placed in our tradition as an example to everyone.
Mick Whelan
Aslef general secretary

Terrible to hear Davey Hopper is no longer with us. An amazing comrade and such a friend to the paper. RIP Davey, humbled at the time you took for us year after year.
Ben Chacko
Morning Star editor

Davey Hopper — along with Dave Guy — was driving force behind endurance and expansion of the Durham Miners’ Gala. Irreplaceable.
Richard Burgon
Shadow justice secretary

One of the brightest lights of the trade union movement went out on Saturday July 16, but his spirit and legacy live on.
Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

Dave Hopper: May his life and values of peace, justice and social solidarity be an inspiration to future generations.
Grahame Morris MP

See also here.

British Blairites unwelcome at Durham Miners’ Gala

This video from England is called Jeremy Corbyn Speech At The Durham Miners’ Gala 11/7/2015.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Rightwingers’ bid to get on platform

Monday 13th July 2015

Labour leadership hopefuls ‘all rang up for speaker slot’

LABOUR leadership candidates “who wouldn’t touch workers with a bargepole” tried to muscle their way onto the Durham Miners’ Gala platform at the last minute, the Morning Star can reveal.

Organisers invited only Jeremy Corbyn and deputy hopeful Tom Watson to address the crowd as both had been nominated by the Durham Miners Association for the top jobs.

But rivals Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, who support continuing with a degree of Tory austerity and renewing Britain’s nuclear weapons, turned up anyway.

The Star has learnt that Mr Burnham’s advisers confronted organisers and asked if he could be a late addition to the running. After a last-minute meeting, the request was refused.

Mr Burnham had previously snubbed an approach from the National Union of Mineworkers asking if he would be willing to speak, a senior party source said.

Durham Miners Association general secretary David Hopper told the assembly he was “sick to death of people who wouldn’t touch us with a bargepole phoning us asking to speak.”

All remaining candidates reportedly made such requests.

“As long as I’m general secretary of this union, there’ll be no rightwingers here,” Mr Hopper said.

“They need never pick up the phone again.”

Mr Hopper later told the Star there had been significant “pressure applied” by the candidates’ camps.

“The miners took a decision to support Tom Watson … and Jeremy Corbyn, who has a long history of supporting causes close to our hearts,” he said.

Mr Corbyn said speaking at the rally was “the greatest honour of my life.”

“It’s the duty and responsibility of whoever leads the unions and the Labour Party to be at the gala to show our support to those we are supposed to represent,” he said.

He paid tribute to the leading role played by miners in struggles throughout history.

“When we look at our NHS and the principles of the welfare state, it’s on (the miners’) shoulders it was built,” he said.

When an aide of Ms Cooper approached the miners’ association with a request for their boss to speak, they were reportedly told by an organiser: “If you swim across that river, underwater, right to the other side and you come up alive … you still won’t get an invite to the Durham Miners’ Gala.”

Miners and suffragettes at English museum

This video says about itself:

May 2, 2011

Short video of the Town and Railway station from the Beamish Museum. Beamish is an open air, living history, museum in the North East of England.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

A living slice of Co Durham‘s history

Monday 08 July 2013

Just 12 miles from Durham lies a most amazing living museum.

Beamish recreates a little piece of north-east England and Co Durham as it was a century ago.

Domestic buildings, shops, pubs, industrial archaeology and much else has been collected all over the area and been meticulously reconstructed here at Beamish.

When you walk down the cobbled street at the Beamish Living Museum you walk back 100 years in the history of the north-east.

Peep into the dentist’s office and be terrified.

The newspaper office is still printing the latest news and in the co-op store there is everything the family of the 1900s needs to live.

There is a vintage sweetshop still making its own toffee in huge copper pans.

You can buy a pennyworth. But be careful – you don’t want to end up back at the dentist!

The pub still sells good northern beer and the home-made pies really are wonderful.

Next door the stables hold the heavy horses that still deliver goods and visitors all around the museum site.

It’s a big site with its own steam railway where you can ride behind a replica of George Stephenson’s first ever successful railway locomotive.

Stephenson was of course the first ever Geordie. You’ll also find the famous Puffing Billy on the railway tracks here.

At the home farm they still raise ancient breeds of animals, fruit and vegetables. If you time your visit to the farmhouse kitchen right you might get asked to sample some delicious traditional dishes.

Hop on the horse bus or the electric trams and head for the pit village. Brave souls can even venture underground in the coal mine while more timid visitors can visit the pitmen’s cottages.

The museum is more than aware of the rich working-class history of the north-east. It held a huge celebration this year to mark the centenary of the death of local Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.

Each year the museum has a Suffragette Day with local women and men celebrating the campaign in north-east England to win the vote for women.

A recreated march tours the old town with banners, songs and Suffragettes in period costume.

Sashes, rosettes and big hats are all decked in the white, green and purple of the women’s suffrage movement.

The on-site coal mine isn’t just about hewing the coal.

Trade union banners and displays highlight the rich socialist and trade union history of the north-east’s coal industry.

The museum works closely with the organisers of the Miners’ Gala.

The reconstructed co-op store in the living museum high street underlines just how important the co-operative movement was to working people, and not just as shops.

The knowledgeable shop assistants are experts on all the many aspects of the social history of the co-op.

The co-op made and sold unadulterated food and drinks. This was important because then, as now, many private companies were more interested in profits than purity.

Co-operative-owned factories made quality goods at reasonable prices. The co-ops were run by and for their members and organised on solid socialist principles.

Beamish is more than just another living museum. It taps a rich vein of the working-class history of Co Durham.

Exactly the same rich socialist vein that Durham’s Miners’ Gala keeps alive every July.

So stay a day or two before or after the Gala. There is a lot to see and do in this corner of the north-east.

Beamish Museum is open every day. Beamish, Co Durham DH9 0RG, tel: (0191) 370-4000, (