International Workers' Day Rally - Speech by Jack Lenox

5 May 2024

" You don't need me to tell you that things aren't working in this country. I never wanted to be a politician, and I never thought I’d end up becoming active in politics.

But I’ve spent most of my adult life living through our country’s steady decline over the past 14 years, and the devastating impacts of so-called austerity.

I joined the Green Party in 2015 because they were the only party offering a genuinely different future for our country. An optimistic future where we fund our public services properly, look after the most vulnerable in society and treat the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves.

Back in 2015, I didn't realise how much worse things could get. Rallying here as we are today for International Workers' Day has never been more relevant. The past few years have been very difficult for most of us – with wages not keeping pace with inflation – and some who were already facing a choice between heating and eating no longer able to afford either.

But for a precious few, the last few years have been best they've ever seen. The number of billionaires in this country reached a sickening new record during the height of the pandemic. The rich in this country are the richest they've ever been.

So it should go without saying that if there was ever a time for a wealth tax, it's now. If there was ever a time for a charter of worker and trade union rights, it's now. If there was ever a time for a £15 minimum wage, it's now.

But it honestly gives me no pleasure to say the Green Party is currently alone in calling for these things. Just as the Green Party has been alone in calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza since October. And just as the Green Party has been alone in calling for an end to this country's totally indefensible weapons sales to the Israeli government.

We can't pretend that things aren't bleak right now. But if there's one thing Thursday's local elections have shown, it's that so many of us are crying out for change. And by change, we mean fundamental transformation of the broken economic system that serves to benefit only a tiny elite, at the expense of our rights, our health, our dignity, and the devastation of the natural ecosystem that provides life to us all.

The core principle of the Green Party is the fight for environmental justice. But there can be no environmental justice without social, racial and economic justice. Keep up the fight. Thank you!"

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