North Norfolk Labour Party’s CENTENARY DINNER
A report and video of the occasion.
2019 is North Norfolk Labour Party’s Centenary Year. To celebrate this milestone, a range of commemorations are taking place.
David Russell, Trade Union Liaison Officer and Leader of the Centenary Working Group has completed a commemorative book in which we celebrate all those who have dedicated their lives to the North Norfolk Labour Party. This can be seen in the Documents page on this site.
Our celebration dinner on the 12th October 2019 was enjoyed by all 70 diners. A two course meal was provided by a local charity About with Friends at the North Walsham Community Centre.
Our special guest speakers
CLIVE LEWIS: MP Norwich South
MIKE WARD: Chairperson Burston Strike School Rally and Rural Agricultural Unite the Union
We so enjoyed celebrating with members and friends at this historic event. Thank you very much to all those who came.
For those who couldn’t make it, here is a short video with extracts from the speeches.
REPORT ON THE CENTENARY DINNER
Mike Ward spoke of the beginnings of the NNLP led by George Edwards who held meetings in the Angel Hotel, North Walsham. He told of how as a strict Methodist, he did not want to be associated with alcohol so he favoured that building with its outside staircase so he didn’t have to go through the bar.
Mike also told how George Edwards later became a Councillor. In 1910, Trunch farmworkers were striking for another shilling a week. The average wage was 11/6d (57p). They were sacked for this demand but soon afterward the farmer lost possession of the farm. George Edwards got the Council to purchase the farm and turn it into smallholdings which still exist to this day. He then advised the men who had been sacked to apply for the tenancies and several were successful. This made them farmers on the very land from which they had been sacked.
He then went on to discuss more contemporary issues. He said how proud he was that our CLP had sent a New Green Deal motion to conference which will now become policy. He was pleased that the Labour Party has taken a lead on the issue of Climate Emergency which he described as the ‘faultline of capitalist greed.’ This was applauded. He went on to add how encouraging it was to to see children taking a lead in highlighting the threat to our planet. ‘I was proud that at our Burston Rally this year we had some very eloquent young speakers. They were very much in tune with the children of Burston who all those years ago also went on strike from school in order to right an injustice.’
Mike Ward ended his speech with a joke about a worker who got the better of his boss which got roundly applauded. (see video)
Clive Lewis started with an apology from Norwich CLPs for sometimes forgetting North Norfolk Labour Party. He stated that we are all one Norfolk Labour family and thanked activists who had come down to Norwich to help canvass and leaflet. He said he hoped Norwich can repay the favour in the future.
He then went on to define and defend socialism. ‘In America they call the NHS a socialist healthcare system’. It is meant as an insult. But it is true. The NHS is the nearest thing this country has ever come to socialism. Why? Because it is not based on your ability to pay or on profitability (at least it wasn’t at its inception, it may well be heading towards that now) but it is based on your need. It provides collectively. We pool our resources together as a community and look after one another. It is not based on profitability but on our healthcare needs. That is socialism and if you like the NHS you like socialism.
He thought the Labour position on Brexit was the most rational and best. The LibDems he said want to bypass the outcome of 2016 Referendum and the Tories want nothing better than no Deal or an unsatisfactory Deal. What we are saying is that the people will get to decide and that Remain will be on the ballot. ‘I think that is democratically fair and the way right way forward. There has been a clash between plebiscite democracy and constitutional representative democracy. Plebiscites should not be used unless they are constitutionally ratified and codified. The only fair way now is to have a vote with whatever Deal has been negotiated and Remain.’
Clive Lewis spoke at length about Climate Emergency and how we need a Roosevelt-like New Deal to counter the difficulties climate emergency will throw at us. The plan is to shut down tax havens and clamp down on tax avoidance, invest in decarbonising our economy and create a new renewable infrastructure and a sustainable future for the many not the few.
The message was one of hope and greatly enjoyed by the diners. Clive Lewis called the raffle numbers at the end of the evening and many went home with exciting prizes.
The 100th birthday of North Norfolk Labour Party was a triumph and spurred members to start rebuilding for an imminent General Election.
Mandy McKenna 14.10.19