At very short notice, people flocked to Salford Precinct this afternoon to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak on the first stop of his 'For the many not the few' battle bus, since he launched his General Election campaign in Manchester this morning.
Joining him was Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, who promised "the Labour Party will build a Britain for the many, it will build a Britain of hope and prosperity; and it will provide Salford with the hope and the wealth and the prosperity it deserves"...before introducing Jeremy Corbyn, "the next Prime Minister of Britain", to huge cheers.
Corbyn began by paying tribute to the "brilliance" of Rebecca, as she understood working class history and working class traditions... "a cultural tradition that will never be understood by Theresa May and her Cabinet because they don't understand how people live and what communities are like or about...
"If I was asked to give a present to any Tory Minister I think I would give them a copy of Love On The Dole by Walter Greenwood, which was about what life was like in the 1930s" said Corbyn "...but we have a campaign on our hands now. This morning, we launched and we set out what our agenda is. To put it simply it's this – a country for the many not the few..."
Before he talked about the many, the Labour leader railed against the few, highlighted by this week's Sunday Times Rich list showing their wealth went up by 14% last year*
"Imagine what the Daily Mail or the Sun or The Times would say if NHS workers asked for a 14% pay rise...imagine the faux outrage all around!" he said, making no apologies for taxing the highest earners .
"We are not raising tax for low earners, we are not raising tax for middle income earners – we're not putting the responsibility and cost of the banking crisis of 2008 any longer on the shoulders of the poorest and most vulnerable in society" he insisted.
And slating a society where millions are on low wages, zero hours contracts and barbaric disability criteria, he added "I tell you this, the I Daniel Blake Generation will be a thing of the past with a Labour Government..."
Promising better rights at work, investment in housing, transport and "proper" funding for the NHS, social care, mental health, education and local government, Corbyn also declared "we'll lift the pay cap so that the unions can properly negotiate pay rates for teachers, for social workers, for nurses and all the other important people who work in the public sector"...
Jeremy Corbyn concluded with the battle bus slogan... "Our offer is a country that works for the many not the few" he said "I am fed up with the levels of inequality in Britain. I'm fed up with the levels of poverty in Britain – we're the sixth richest economy in the world!
"There are four weeks left in this election; four weeks to offer an alternative" he explained "Are we going to allow a Tory Government to negotiate a Brexit leave of the European Union that will result in a tax haven, greater inequality and greater poverty? A greater wealth for the few, a greater poverty for the many?
"...Or are we going to elect a Labour Government that is serious about social justice, serious about a sustainable environment, serious about the opportunities for everybody in our society? That is the Labour way. That is the Labour traditions. And we've got a bus, we've got voices, we've got people handing out leaflets. Every one of us, get out there...and help elect a Labour Government..."
After the speech there was no walkabout meeting members of the public, just an unruly media scrum, with elbows flying all over the place, as Jeremy Corbyn pleaded with the press to report on his policies...
Meanwhile, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg was lambasted by local people for bias every time she tried to speak to camera. In the end she had to flee across the road from the Precinct to escape the barbs, as the Labour Party bus pulled away...
...No doubt Jeremy Corbyn allowed himself a wry smile at Kuenssberg's Salford treatment – in contrast to his own ecstatic, triumphant welcome.
*See previous Salford Star article on The Sunday Times Rich List – click here.
The full transcript of Jeremy Corbyn's speech...
"Beccy is very special and very brilliant...she's been the MP since 2015 and I asked her to come on the front Bench straight away because I could see her brilliance. She's the main author of our Workers' Rights Charter that we set out on May Day, because Beccy understands the history of our movement and those who laid down so much in the past to achieve the rights that we have - and this city so much as well. Great predecessors that Beccy had but also great writers and people who understood that there is a cultural tradition of working class history, a cultural tradition of working class music – a cultural tradition that will never be understood by Theresa May and her Cabinet because they don't understand how people live and what communities are like or about.
If I was asked to give a present to any Tory Minister I think I would give them a copy of Love On The Dole by Walter Greenwood which was about what life was like in the 1930s...but we have a campaign on our hands now. This morning, we launched and we set out what our agenda is. To put it simply it's this – a country for the many not the few.
I pointed out that in the Sunday Times Rich List those people collectively have billions and billions of pounds at their disposal – their wealth went up by 14% last year. Imagine what the Daily Mail or the Sun or The Times would say if NHS workers asked for a 14% pay rise...imagine the faux outrage all around. But this is okay because they're very rich and they've got their money in tax havens.
I was accused of being over the top this morning when I talked about tax. No! Absolutely not! We are not raising tax for low earners, we are not raising tax for middle income earners – we're not putting the responsibility and cost of the banking crisis of 2008 any longer on the shoulders of the poorest and most vulnerable in society
Look at the conditions under which people live and work – six million earning less than the living wage; one million on zero hours contracts; half of all people with disabilities living in a family in poverty.
Those on zero hours contracts don't know what their wage will be from one week to another, or if there's any wage at all; those trying to get by on disability benefits then face the indignity of a test to decide whether they are fit to work or not... I tell you this, the I, Daniel Blake generation will be a thing of the past with a Labour Government.
There'll be better rights at work, the right to be represented, the right to be in a trade union, that will not be in breach of the International Labour Organisation Convention in the future.
But it's also an investment in housing. Every council at the moment is struggling, struggling to build council houses because they don't have the funds to do it; struggling because they have to put people in short term private rented accommodation; struggling because they have homeless people sleeping on their streets looking for somewhere to go.
Families who think they are reasonably housed, and often are, find their adult children cannot leave as they cannot find anywhere to go. They can't afford a deposit on a private rented flat and they can't buy anywhere because they can't save enough to get a place to live. Well wouldn't it be a really good idea if we had a government that, instead of presiding over the idea that we will buy off plan luxury flats in London the South East and give them impunity to make money out them, instead had a government that invested in homes and security for all in our society – and that will be a priority for our government.
I'll just share a couple of other things...Our children all deserve the best in life and the best in our society but the child growing up in one postcode often has a less well funded school than others.
A child growing up in one postcode has more chance of getting into university than others. That is wrong, absolutely wrong. So you have to fund education properly. And the underfunding now, the cut in money per pupil in most schools in England is quite shocking. And the schools are then asked `Have a collection, raise some money to help pay the teacher's salary' – well, is that really a practical solution to the problem?
If your parents are not well off they are not able to give you very much; and if your parents are very well off they are going to be able to give you a lot – what happens 10 or 15 years down the line? You have School A with limited play space, netting around its perimeter...and you have School B somewhere else with gardens, play space and everything else. I don't begrudge those things to others but I want them for all our children.
And when we said we'd introduce free school meals for all primary school pupils, they said 'Well that means that everyone is going to get a free school meal'. I said 'Well done you've read the policy thank you!'
What it means is that every child gets a good meal. There's no stigma attached because they all get it and they all eat together. What a message - all children in school eating their lunch together. They'll remember that all their lives as something - instead of 'You kids have got free school meals, you go over here, and you've got sandwiches you go over here'. Come on! This is the 21st Century, let's get real.
So on education we'll be doing a great deal and also making sure teachers and other public sector workers don't give us a donation every year by a pay cut. Instead we'll lift the pay cap so that the unions can properly negotiate pay rates for teachers, for social workers, for nurses and all the other important people who work in the public sector.
Our education offer is a very serious one. We won't be putting money into developing grammar schools and selective education because we don't believe in a ladder of opportunity for the few we; believe in a staircase of achievement for everybody in the community doing things together.
Our health service was founded by the Labour Party in 1948. The first NHS hospital was in Manchester, and the NHS has its foundations in all that rich tradition of our movement...what an incredible achievement. Principally the idea that healthcare should be free at the point of use as a human right for all.
The Health and Social Care Act, passed by this Government with support from the LibDem Coalition, opened the NHS up to underfunding, to privatisation, and now its Sustainability Transformation Plans are putting many A&E services under threat all over the country. We will halt that process, suspend the whole thing and look again to make sure there is an A&E department in reach of everybody wherever they live in Britain.
But it's also the funding of social care and the funding of our mental health services – a million people need that care; old people, people with disabilities, people with special needs...all kinds of people need that care and they should get that care but a million don't. And that means we'll fund local government properly and the NHS properly to achieve that.
Some of these Tories aren't as smart as they think they are, and they send text messages to the wrong people. So I found out that somebody called Nick – and they chose the wrong Nick – got a text message about a deal being done for Surrey, and we discovered that the constituencies of Phillip Hammond and a few others were going to get special deals the rest of us weren't. We found them out on that. I'll tell you this; we're not going to play those kind of games because as far as I'm concerned if someone needs and deserves social care, whether they're in Surrey or Salford, they should get it.
Stop the stigma. Stop the jokes about mental health; reach out and support people going through a crisis, particularly young people who often find it very hard to talk about but also to the Government; 'Stop getting rid of mental health nurses, employ more and support those who are going through a crisis so they can better, get through it and recover' - because our view of the world is that everybody, everybody, everybody has a contribution to make...
...They have a personality, they are an individual, they have ability, they have achievements they want to make...But they are held back...held back by poverty, held back by poor wages, held back by inadequate services. We want to conquer that with some of the policies I've set out but also by investment in the economy, fairly across the country.
So the majority of transport investment doesn't just go to the South East, it goes to the North West, North East, Scotland, Wales, all over the country, and we'll have a national investment bank that will invest in frontier technology for the future.
We've got here in Salford University the absolutely brilliant School of the Environmental Science...fantastic research they're doing on how we can bring about more sustainable buildings and how we can be sure to protect our environment at the same time as growing our economy.
I really admire them and enjoyed my visit to them with Beccy. All those people who dream up ideas about how you can retrofit houses and how you can get better quality of building materials...develop that into jobs and we will be in partnership with you to achieve it. We don't want to see those inventions go somewhere else, we'll keep them here so we get the development and jobs here.
Our offer is a country that works for the many not the few. I am fed up with the levels of inequality in Britain. I'm fed up with the levels of poverty in Britain – we're the sixth richest economy in the world!
There are four weeks left in this election; four weeks to offer an alternative. Are we going to allow a Tory Government to negotiate a Brexit leave of the European Union that will result in a tax haven, greater inequality and greater poverty? A greater wealth for the few, a greater poverty for the many?
Or are we going to elect a Labour Government that is serious about social justice, serious about a sustainable environment, serious about the opportunities for everybody in our society?
That is the Labour way. That is the Labour traditions. And we've got a bus, we've got voices, we've got people handing out leaflets. Every one of us, get out there...and help elect a Labour Government..."
Update: 10th May - The day after Jeremy Corbyn on Salford Precinct, UNISON accuses Salford Labour Council of treating disabled children as 'collateral damage' as it seeks to close residential home The Grange - click here