Despite all the bad news (the overall downward trend of suicides in Europe is in reverse and job cuts in the UK are beginning to bite), there are reasons to be cheerful.
Since last year’s general election which ushered in the coalition government, the fight back is under way.Over half a million people took part in the biggest demonstration ever organised by the TUC in March and in the months before that, thousands of young people took to the streets against increased tuition fees and the shameful abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance.
People are tweeting and setting up social networks to fight the cuts, save our NHS and defend workers’ pensions and pay.
I have seen firsthand the really important difference that trade union organisation can bring about, when employers move to outsource, dismiss or generally run down pay rates and conditions.
Despite all the attacks against trade unions by the previous Tory administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major our organisation has survived and we are busy campaigning, working hard together to defend the values of fairness, equality and an alternative to an economic system that serves the richest by sacrificing the wellbeing of the majority.
Each job lost, every public service slashed and the hypocrisy of “we’re all in this together” make my blood boil. Yet I remember during every struggle at home and internationally hope has fuelled our resolution.
When the apartheid regime was at its most vicious, the South African liberation movement adopted the slogan “don’t mourn, mobilise!”
Parliament will shortly go into recess and I am certain that many members of the Cabinet will be heaving sighs of relief. Why?
Because the people’s coalition of trade unionists, students, pensioners and campaigning groups have chased them up hill and down dale forcing u-turns and rethinks.
Keeping up the momentum will be hard work and we must take care of one another, be kind and understanding within our ranks and take cheer from our resilience as a movement.