ARTHUR SCARGILL called for a socialist programme at the bakers’ union conference yesterday, including funding the NHS through defence cuts, taxing the rich and abolishing private education.
Addressing delegates of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) in Southport, the former National Union of Mineworkers leader accused the Tory government of using the military against miners in their 1984-5 strike against pit closures.
But he looked ahead to Britain’s transformation into a society where dignity for all would be the priority of a socialist government.
Mr Scargill, who now leads the Socialist Labour Party of which he was a founder in 1996, received repeated applause during his speech and a standing ovation when he finished.
Referring to the bank bailout he said: “What we should have done … we should have put the buggers in jail.
“If there was a real desire to do anything, the billions should have been given to people with mortgages, with debts, to people in difficulties so they could pay off any debts they had with the banks.
“And who can argue with that? Their debts would be paid off, the banks’ debts would be paid off and people would have money to spend.
“But that is not how capitalism works.”
His wide-ranging speech called for the abolition of Trident to fund the NHS, free prescriptions, public ownership of drug companies and of Britain’s transport system, a pension equal to Britain’s average wage, the scrapping of VAT and increased taxes on the wealthy.
Turning his ire on the EU, he called it “a concept created by Hitler and Churchill” to create a European army — Nato.
He also tore apart SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s “fundamental argument” of supporting Britain’s EU membership and Nato while wanting to scrap Trident.
“The fact is Nato won’t let you scrap Trident,” he said. “But the quicker we get rid of Trident and all nuclear weapons the better.”