Opinion: When the miners went on strike all those years ago I was living in Swansea and took food to the striking miners.
It was miners who built the wealth of the nation and they were treated in a shameful way by Thatcher and her henchman Sir Ian McGregor. Arthur Scargill at the time had articulated that the Tory government had a hit list of mines that they wanted to close though the government denied it but it turned out to be true.
Whilst we can be critical of Arthur in the way he handled that whole dispute we also have to be critical of ourselves as a Labour Party and as a movement in that when these desperate people wanted our help and support it was not forthcoming.
I commend people like Dennis Skinner, the late Eric Heffer, the late Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn for standing with the miners in their hour of need. Sadly others in the Labour Party who are still around today need to examine themselves for they will be found short.
That well known doyen of the left Richard Burgon commented in relation to what is happening today that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are being referred to in the same vein as the miners and their families were referred to in the 80's.
"I am not – and others are not – going to stand by whilst hundreds of thousands of decent Labour members are dismissed and demonised as bullies, brick-throwers, misogynists and thugs. It’s just not right," he said.
"And this kind of thing is nothing new. Labour people must remember that in the 1984/5 miners’ strike the establishment attempted to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of striking miners and activists from Women Against Pit Closures as bullies, brick-throwers and thugs.
"They were smeared as 'the enemy within'. But their real crime, in the eyes of the establishment, was to get together and organise to take on the establishment, stand up for working-class interests and build a better society.
"Just as it was morally wrong to smear hundreds of thousands of striking miners and Women Against Pit Closures activists in this way in 1984/5, it is morally wrong to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members in this way in 2016."
I commended Richard and others for standing up to the plate and taking on the mantle.
I am not a thug, I am not scum, I am not a bully, I am not rabble, I am not a brick thrower but I am a Labour Party member who thinks we can and we should work to create a better, fairer more equal society.
Thanks to our regular contributor Fredrick James for sharing
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