Our union has always stood against hate in all its forms, but it’s difficult to remember a time when the forces of division have been so ascendant.
Earlier this week, UNISON took part in three campaigning events that reinforced the difficult times we’re living in, and how our union can and must play a vital role in the fight back.
On Monday I was in Stoke, where serial fibber Paul Nuttall is seeking to bring his odious brand of Trump-like politics to Parliament. This is a man who can’t be trusted to tell you where he lives, who has been caught disgracefully making things up about Hillsborough and who only seeks to divide our country at a time when we need to find ways to come back together.
Stoke Central needs someone to represent the community and stand up for the local NHS (which is struggling to cope with Tory cuts). The last thing the people of Stoke need is Paul Nuttall and his outdated, divisive agenda – and our union will stand against UKIP as long as they dare show their faces in our communities.
At the same time in London, UNISON joined EU migrants who give so much – especially in our public services – to show the impact that losing them would have on our country. Our union is clear, whatever kind of Brexit we have, it won’t be one where the lives and jobs of immigrants are used as bargaining chips by the government or anyone else.
Later that day in Parliament Square, the Stop Trump UK coalition – which UNISON has backed financially and organisationally – showed how passionately the British people feel about the odious new American President. Someone who has risen such a tide of bigotry and nationalism to office should not be rewarded by our government with the honour of a state visit. Theresa May dishonours herself and our country by appeasing a dishonourable man in such a way – and if Trump does get the state visit he doesn’t deserve, we’ll be on the streets campaigning against him, as we campaign against all hate, to show he isn’t welcome.
At a time when our values are under fire, we must take every opportunity to oppose peddlers of bigotry, and attacks on the powerful diversity of our country – and UNISON will take a leading role in the war on hate.