Monday, March 17, 2014
The struggle never ends
I was honoured today to be invited to speak to the Annual General Meeting of the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group (LAMPAG) following Dot Gibson, General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention.
LAMPAG has been organising older people (or - as was persuasively argued today - "retired workers") for thirty five years now - and is an active and effective organisation and a vital part of the local working class movement.
Given that the key struggle of the early years of this Parliament was in defence of occupational pensions, it was a humbling experience to be in a meeting of people who understood that our goal should be an adequate state pension - and that we need to defend the principle of universalism.
I haven't blogged anything about the death of Tony Benn - because I couldn't match what many others have said about one of the greatest inspirations of my lifetime. I was exceptionally pleased to be at a meeting which began expressing respect for Benn and Bob Crow, and to be able to finish my contribution by quoting Benn in relation to the progressive policies of the pensioners' movement.
"It's always the same with progress. First they ignore you. Then they say you're mad. Then they say you're dangerous. Then there's a pause. Then you can't find anyone who ever disagreed with you."
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.