Arthur Scargill delivers a vigorous start to the SLP Euro election campaign
The Socialist Labour Party European Election Campaign was launched when Arthur Scargill spoke at the Hay Festival yesterday (23/5/2009). This was in the setting of Hay Castle thanks to Richard Booth “King of Hay” who invites the SLP to use castle and grounds during the festival annually. The speech was delayed when both speaker and BBC Wales were delayed when a road accident blocked traffic in the area. The launch followed the SLP’ Party Political Broadcast last week which triggered an unprecedented volume of response from interested viewers.
Scargill delivered a characteristically vigorous argument about the European Union’s harmful effect on working people in every one of its member states. Multinational countries were helped to exploit labour by being allowed to move their operations between states to get the cheapest possible work force while leaving behind devastated communities. There was no obligation on anyone to support those left with unemployment, rising crime and consequent patterns of anti-social behaviour. He wouldn’t pay “a brass farthing” to bankers and financial institutions responsible for the economic crisis and use that money, together with spending on Trident and handouts to private firms, to fund decent pensions to those who had spent their lives working for society. He named a figure of £24,000 a year. “Why can’t pensioners receive a realistic amount when Members of Parliament are paid far more for a shorter term of service?” he wanted to know.
West Midlands and Welsh SLP candidates for the Euro elections l to r John Tyrrell, Liz Screen, Shangara Singh Bhatoe, Surinder Pal Virdee and Satbir Singh (Sheera) Johal
A speaker from the Campaign for Public Ownership made the point that dissatisfaction with the consequences of the private ownership begun in 1979 was at “an all time high” among the public, yet all three of the main political parties were out of touch. In Britain we had the highest rail costs and in contrast to other countries prices increased at weekends when people wanted to visit family and loved ones.
The launch was rounded off with inspirational Socialist poetry and music from Wales.