Standing ovation for Ian Lavery

14 May 2014

He said: ‘I was very proud, as a young man, to be on strike. This was a class war – the people in government, those who have, attacking those who have not. My father was a miner, my brothers were miners, and I was a miner. In our house there were four of us on strike and what gets me is when people who should know better, and who actually know nothing, tell us where it all went wrong.

‘They say there should have been a ballot. Bollocks! The men in Nottinghamshire would not have come out; if there had been a national ballot they would have found another reason not to come out. They say it was the wrong time. But we didn’t pick the time.They picked the time. Michael Heseltine has admitted they planned it and waited for us to react.

‘We gave everything we had during that dispute. I don’t believe in speaking ill of the dead, but I’ll make an exception today. There wasn’t one tear shed in the mining community up and down this country when Margaret Thatcher died, because of what she did against the miners, and our communities, and the working people of this country. Thatcher lied to parliament, and lied to the people of this country, because she wanted to topple the NUM and destroy the labour movement and we should never forgive, or forget, what Thatcher and the Tories did to our people.’

Ian, who described himself as ‘a trade unionist first and a Labour MP second’, added: ‘If the police had been held accountable then we might have avoided the disaster of Hillsborough. It was the same people, they got away with blue murder during the miners’ strike and they did the same at Hillsborough.’

Then he turned from the past to the future. He said: ‘We have a year to the general election. People up and down this country are suffering under this government. We have record levels of unemployment. People who are under-employed. People on zero hours contracts who don’t count as unemployed even though they don’t earn a penny in a week. We have a million people on zero hours contracts. People, mainly women,waiting to get the text to see if they are offered any work that week.

‘People cannot live on the minimum wage. People need a living wage. I’m delighted that Ed Miliband said we will regulate zero hours contracts. But we should go further and abolish zero hours contracts.

‘The Labour Party needs to get to grips with what is happening out there. Because the Labour Party does not have a divine right to demand loyalty from the trade union movement. Many people think they are forgetting their core values. It is time the party looked in the mirror and, instead of looking for the squeezed middle, ask why people are not prepared to come out and vote any more, or vote for other parties. Because the offer on the table from the Labour Party isn’t good enough anymore!

‘We need more train drivers in parliament. We need more miners in parliament. We need more working-class people in parliament. We need more disabled people in parliament. We need more people who have been unemployed in parliament. We need more women in parliament and we need more ethnic minorities in parliament. We don’t need any more special advisers in parliament!

‘Being working-class isn’t a means test. I get £67,000 as an MP and I’m working-class. I know where I come from and I’m proud of where I come from.

‘Why should this country honour someone like Gary Barlow who has been ripping this country off every day for the last 20 years. I say Take That! And take it back!

‘We need the renationalisation of the privatised state utilities. It’s not a Marxist philosophy. It’s common sense. You can’t control what you don’t own. ASLEF is fighting a great campaign with the other unions on the railways, for a public owned and a publicly accountable railway. It’s a huge cost of living issue herein Brighton where we need to get seats at the next election. It’s a vote winner. And will show people that the Labour Party means business.

‘We need to introduce a charter of workers’ rights. We cannot allow people to work on zero hours contracts. We can’t allow people to work without proper health and safety provision.

‘I mean, who thinks this up? Who says, how can we get rid of this deficit? We’ll charge people for having an extra bedroom. It’s only the poor and the disabled who suffer. We should be proud of the welfare state, not looking to cut “but not quite so quick”.

‘The only party that can change things for people are the Labour Party. But we shouldn’t regulate payday loan companies, we should abolish pay day loan companies.

‘And if there is a coalition with the Liberal Democrats I will be devastated. Because I think they are yellow bellied bastards!’

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