In today’s world, people use superlatives in a way that cheapens their concept and makes them meaningless. If “today” is always the most momentous, the biggest, the most significant, we all become inured to the concept. So we at LGSM try our best to avoid superlatives, unless they are warranted.

Our recognition of the importance of the miners’ strike of 1984-85 as one of the most historically significant battles facing the Labour Movement proved to be correct. This recognition of the significance of the strike prompted the formation of LGSM in July 1984 and we grew from a group of 11 to over 60 within six months. We kept several villages in South Wales fed throughout the remaining eight months of the strike and formed friendships that survive to this day. The ultimate defeat of the miners was the first major battle with organised labour by the Thatcher government and paved the way for further victories against printworkers, steelworkers and the wider trade union movement. Membership of trade unions in the UK today stands at 50% of membership levels in 1984.

What we were doing at the time was far from universally welcomed by the lesbian and gay “community” in London and the other cities in which LGSM groups formed. Many didn’t see their sexuality as a political issue and others disparaged our activities in quite devious ways. Barely a week went by where LGSM were not being lectured by readers letters in the gay press telling us who we should be raising funds for, instead of wasting our time supporting the miners’ cause. The AIDS “epidemic” was at its height and we were told to raise funds for those diagnosed and fighting for their lives, rather than undeserving miners. Many LGSM members were doing both, many came from a background of commitment to the lesbian and gay community as volunteers on Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and other support organisations – but this was overlooked or ignored by those who lectured us on our commitment to the “community”, for political advantage. Bizarre as it sounds today, these were the days when people were thrown out of gay bars for having the temerity to hand out leaflets encouraging people to attend Lesbian and Gay Pride.

So, with that rather long-winded “we were right and they were wrong” behind us, let’s move on to the point of this post.

The young and idealistic women and men who joined LGSM in 1984 (and are still with us today) are now in their late 50s and early 60s. We have seen and participated in significant historical events over the last four decades. Some of us have been in the Labour Party, some outside – some were Labour members and left in disillusionment with the trajectory that the party was on from the 80s onwards. Some had stronger stomachs and stayed inside Labour, as the “least-worst” option available. Some have travelled politically from where they were in 1984-85, either to the left or right. We are no longer young, but we recognise radical, progressive policies when we see them, and today’s Labour Party have presented these in their manifesto to the electorate.

It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of LGSM members are behind Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to transform the Labour Party and we want a Labour victory on Thursday 8 June 2017. Most of us have joined Labour since September 2015 and many of us now hold positions within our respective Labour Parties. This General Election is the most important for a generation or more and we all want to play our part in delivering a Labour victory. If the film Pride spoke to you, we urge you to vote Labour on Thursday 8 June. Labour’s commitments on health, education, employment, equality, social care, social housing, taxation and student fees are beyond progressive – they signal a new direction for the UK. Only Labour can negotiate a new partnership with our European neighbours that can deliver for European citizens resident in the UK today and UK residents in the other European states. Only Labour can deliver for the 99%, by making sure that those at the top pay their fair share of taxes. Only Labour can address the housing crisis facing young people today with their commitment to build a million new homes in their first term of office.

For the first time in living memory, we have a Labour manifesto that we believe in, that is no longer an austerity-lite imitation of the Tories’ offering. A manifesto that we have been able to take onto the doorsteps of Kilburn, Croydon and Bermondsey with passion and enthusiasm.  We have visited many of the marginals in London with our banner and joined Labour campaign teams to get the message across to voters. As the poll gap narrows, it is evident that every single vote is going to matter and that is why we urge you all to vote Labour on 8 June. Then take the next step and join Labour, get active and transform the party into a mass-membership campaigning force that will deliver each and every commitment in Labour’s manifesto.