The Big Meeting, Durham brings us together, 16 July 2013

Frank Keogh HNISCBy Frank Keogh, Chair HNISC

A group of Unite Health National Industrial Sector Committee members travelled to Durham at the weekend to join with other members of the Unite family in celebrating our history and heritage. To gather in the fabulous city of Durham is a highlight of the year for many within the Labour movement, it is the opportunity to participate in this historical event showcasing all that is great about our movement our people and culture.

Working class people no matter what their background or culture join together to march like those that marched before us, behind a range of fabulous colourful banners that tell a story from each mining village, each pit and that community, the banners of various trade unions and Labour Party branches all assemble and march shoulder to shoulder to the inspiring sound of those magical brass bands.

The past few weeks have seen the spotlight on our movement and our historic link to the Labour Party questioned in many quarters, this Big Meeting was the perfect time to recharge our batteries, dust ourselves down and roll up our sleeves ready to fight on.

If participating in the Big Meeting teaches us anything it is the fact that, everything we've ever gained was fought for, people from the communities we represent have never been handed anything on a plate. We should learn that lesson and learn from history, we need each other that is our strength, something that those that want to break us will never understand.

So our small section of the HNISC walked tall in our "We Love the NHS" t-shirts, we stood with other members of the Unite family, but we were part of our extended family, the family of hard working trade unionists and working class people. We were part of a great day.

For many of us the next time we march together will be 29 September when we come together to rally in support of Our NHS in Manchester, I hope that on that day we deliver the same message loud and clear to the Tories as they gather in Manchester. Just as the mining communities of County Durham show us year in year out, by our people coming together and taking to the streets we can be proud, we can be loud and we will make them hear us.

So enjoy your summer holidays, rest up enjoy spending time with your friends and families and the people you love. But we have a date late in September, we will gather in Manchester let’s build in our workplaces and in our communities let’s have a second Big Meeting this year, lets fill the streets of Manchester and bring to those streets the joy and colour of Durham the noise of the Gala as we march to the sound of our call "Our NHS"

I look forward to seeing you all in Manchester Sunday 29 September.

The Big Meeting, Durham 2013