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27/02/2016 - Presidential address from David Kerr at Solidarity London AGM

davidkerrThis has been a very difficult year for manufacturing industry in these islands. In Scotland, in Wales and in England the steel industry has been devastated; hit hard by cheap steel dumped on the international market below the cost of production by Chinese manufacturers.

Three decades after the great miners' strike, we have seen the closure of the last deep coalmine in England.

In Ulster, two large manufacturing plants are due to close in the next 12-18 months; Michelin and Gallaher JTM in Ballymena. Production will transfer to Eastern Europe. This past week we heard that Bombardier/Shorts is to cut 585 jobs in the near future with another five hundred to follow in 2017.

Does any of this erosion of Britain's industrial base give David Cameron any sleepless nights? Not so you'd notice.

In his tough round of 'renegotiations' to get what we are told is a 'better deal' for the UK in the European Union, we heard a lot about Mr Cameron's efforts to save a piffling few million quid on in-work benefits paid to the children abroad of EU migrants working here. Now to be frank, that's a bit irritating but it doesn't amount to much in the overall scheme of things.

No. Cameron's greatest concern was that EU laws don't cramp the style of his parasitical pals in the City of London.

Well, now. It's all sorted. The choreographed diplomacy is over. Dave's pals are okay so it's all right with him for you to vote to remain in the EU with all it neo-liberal anti-democratic austerity and its rules preventing our government doing anything to protect vital areas of manufacturing employment and the threat of TTIP coming round the corner.

Did you notice last week that another sore-heided heavy hitter from the past has emerged from his cave to call for a stay-in vote in the forthcoming EU referendum? Yes, Gordon 'British Jobs for British Workers' Brown; the man who modestly recalls that he saved the world from economic meltdown in 2008; the man who saved the Union in 2014; this man is now going to save the European Union from the wrath of British workers in 2016! Good luck with that one, Gordon!

This conference today has voted to support a leave vote in that referendum. As your president, I urge you all to do all in your power to win be this country's freedom to determine its own political destiny.

This may mean temporarily making common cause with people we don't like; some particularly nasty Tories, the DUP and UKIP, for example. Don't worry about it. Suck it up. Do the right thing.

Our task today is to win the freedom to obtain greater freedom for Britain's workers. Let's give the 'open borders' crowd of Big Business and the elitist illiberal Left a bloody nose. Workers of these Islands Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains! Solidarity forever!

Speech given by Solidarity President David Kerr (Pictured) on 20/02/2016