Moving a motion on industrial strategy at this year’s Labour Party Conference, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey on Monday (September 23) highlighted the significance of Jeremy Corbyn – a “genuine socialist” – first being elected party leader.
“Only a Jeremy Corbyn-led government gives us hope,” he said. “Only his radical vision can lead to the irreversible shift in power to working people that we desperately need.”
He added that it was only through unity that a Corbyn-led Labour party has come so far against the odds.
Criticising austerity “thrust on us by the Tories and Liberal Democrat partners”, McCluskey urged conference to never forget the fact that the Lib-Dem leader Jo Swinson “voted in favour of every attack on our welfare state”.
“She reminds us that you can never trust a Liberal Democrat,” he said.
“Our country is crying out for an alternative to austerity economics and neoliberal dogma that has just thrown Thomas Cook to the wall, along with thousands of jobs,” he continued.
McCluskey highlighted that the composite outlines what was necessary in building an industrial strategy for the future.
“We want one thing – a progressive Labour government that will govern in the interests of working people,” he said. “To get there we must not be side-tracked.
“Unity got us where we are; only division, Conference, can derail us now.”
Highlighting again the importance of unity, McCluskey said, “From Brexit to the banks, the country needs to hear a united Labour voice arguing for that brighter future.
“Let me say here that Jeremy Corbyn is a thousand times right in trying to speak to our whole country at this time of crisis.
“When we have the Tories dismissing half of our nation and the Liberals are writing off the other half, it is only Jeremy’s Labour that puts social justice first — that says whether you are ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ matters less than your class,” he added.
“We should not let anyone define or divide us as Leavers or Remainers. What defines us is that we are socialists. And our vision of a better Britain, a better world, is within our grasp.”
Urging conference to “keep your eyes on the prize”, he argued that in a general election campaign, people will see that “only Labour offers policies to create a better and fairer Britain — policies to heal our nation”.
The Unite leader went onto highlight Labour’s key components of a “an industrial strategy that stimulates our manufacturing base” – one that protects public services, provides decent work, builds homes, and gives workers and their trade unions dignity and respect.
“People are sick of the lies that fall so easily from our prime minister’s mouth – aided and abetted by a cabinet of millionaires, who’ll rake it in as our people are sent to the dole queues,” he went on to say. “The only antidote to the crooks of the Brexit party and the charlatans in Number 10 is a Corbyn-led government.
“Comrades, it is the responsibility, it is the duty of trade unions, and of all of us, to ensure Labour wins this election. Unite, I pledge, will not be found wanting.”
McCluskey said that as a socialist party, Labour is “united in wanting to deliver profound and lasting change for our people”.
Concluding to thundering applause and a standing ovation, McCluskey noted, “There’s only one door to No 10, comrades, and we can only go through it if we go through it together.”
The composite was carried.
- Pics by Mark Thomas