Thank you for inviting me to speak.
Racism, prejudice and intolerance have NO place in this city.
I am proud to represent University and College Union’s National Executive here today.
I am proud to represent a trade union that, like a stick of Blackpool Rock, has equality at its core.
To be tolerant of diversity is to value difference.
To be tolerant of diversity is to enjoy the richness of our communities.
To be tolerant of diversity is to have social cohesion.
Intolerance. Intolerance comes from a place of fear, a place of threat and a place of inequality.
To challenge intolerance we also need to challenge inequality.
We need to ensure that noone, be they of any culture or ethnicity, be they LGBT, be they disabled or be they poor, is marginalised.
Those people who really feel marginalised are not with us today: they are marching with the Veterans and with the EDL.
I feel sorry for those people because they do not value their neighbours, they do not know harmony in their communities and their lives are all the poorer for that.
What can we do about this?
We need to start with our communities. We need equality of access to resources. We need decent homes, safe neighbourhoods, better jobs and equal access to education opportunities for everyone.
And for this we need our council to be properly funded from central government.
If we all have equal access to opportunities there is no room for intolerance, there is no room for prejudice and there is no room for discrimination.
We need equality in our communities and we need to build bridges to participation.
Let us push for equality.
Let us change our reality.