THE BLOG

Manchester Unites Against Trump

24/01/2017 12:58 GMT | Updated 24/01/2017 12:58 GMT
Andrew Bret Wallis via Getty Images

This is the speech I gave at the Stop Trump rally in Manchester on Friday, January 20th, 2017, joining with local activists and people around the world standing up for women's rights, diversity and peace:

"I stood as a Labour candidate in the 2014 European elections to oppose the racist BNP leader Nick Griffin and with the help of organisations like Stand Up To Racism, Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate, I won that election, sending a strong message that Manchester and the North West of England is a region that celebrates diversity. By working together we made sure that the BNP was discredited and a spent force in politics. Now I work with grassroots anti-racist campaigners not just in the North West, but across Europe and the world, opposing the politics of hate and division and promoting a culture of peace, tolerance and mutual respect.

Like Nigel Farage, Trump is a con-man and it is no surprise that Nigel and Donald are best-mates. Both these men are anti-women, brushing off their past history of sexist remarks and misogynistic behaviour as light-hearted locker room fun. But the truth is that these are men who would roll back women's rights and limit our participation in society. We must stand up against them for the sake of all women who went before us and for all those who will come after us, for all women everywhere not just those in the USA, UK and Europe, but for all our sisters.

Farage and Trump are also openly racist and Islamophobic, scapegoating migrants and urging supporters to turn their backs on the humanitarian crises playing out on our borders and across large parts of Africa. They are no friend to the women and children under attack in Syria, or the refugees risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean. They spurn the dispossessed families freezing to death in the Balkans, they are contemptuous of the Latino children who risk their lives jumping on trains trying to reach a better life in the USA. The alt-right's solution to mass migration is simply to construct fences, walls and borders, ignoring our own part in the factors that drive global inequality and create wars.

Farage and Trump pose as anti-establishment figures but they are no such thing. They have both made their fortunes by exploiting markets (or inherited it, in Trump's case), using unscrupulous practices to line their pockets whilst others suffer from market failure, losing their jobs, businesses and homes. Their relationship with dodgy right-wing media moguls and the scurrilous populist platform Breitbart, (which has links with the Klu Klux Klan) demonstrates their true allegiances and it is most definitely NOT to the ordinary working man or woman in the street. UKIP are the BNP in suits and Trump is the enemy of the people and the planet, as demonstrated by the appointment of White House advisors such as Stephen Bannon, a founder of Breitbart News and mastermind of Trump's election campaign.

Whilst many countries in the world are coming together to fight huge global challenges such as climate change, the Trump and Farage camp openly refute that the Arctic is shrinking and that sea levels are rising. They oppose measures that would mitigate environmental damage to the health and wellbeing of our communities and support instead the interests of big business who pollute the earth and dispossess indigenous people. It is time to expose these men and their friends for what they truly are - a danger to civilised and sustainable society.

Most worryingly Trump will now have his finger on the nuclear button. His record of erratic behaviour, his misunderstanding and mishandling of international diplomacy, his threats to the UN regarding Israeli settlements, all prove that the business of making America great again might be at the expense of more conflict, more war, possibly at the expense of an apocalyptic annihilation of life on Earth. Meanwhile, 127 nations have signed the Austrian Pledge that recognises that any nuclear detonation - either by accident or design - could unleash a humanitarian disaster of unthinkable proportions, and we in the European Parliament have passed a resolution to support the imminent UN process that will make nuclear weapons illegal.

Under Trump the USA is out of step with the rest of the world, and we can say the same about the UK under Theresa May, Israel under Netananyahu, Russia under Putin, and a host of other world leaders from nuclear-armed states who jostle for position as top dog, belligerent and posturing, playing into the hands of the wealthy arms manufacturers rather than investing in education, health, social care, youth, the future.

I want to thank the people of Manchester and the North West, the People's Assembly, CND members and our anti-racist campaigners for organising this demonstration against the values of Trump, Pence, Farage and others who masquerade as champions of the working class. They are no such thing and with your help we can and must reinvigorate decent compassionate human values in our communities and in our politics."