EDDIE’S TOLPUDDLE BLOG, 2016
Spent the weekend 15-17 July 2016 at the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival & Museum, and had a tiring but really inspiring time. Played the open mic with Catie – Willie McBride, H-Bomb’s Thunder (the latter maybe not the wisest choice with all those Unite and GMB members about!) – and made lots of really interesting contacts, especially from SW TUC, who mostly (?) organise the event.
The highlight of the weekend was, of course, the speech by Jeremy Corbyn, and it’s clear to me that among the activists – the people who actually get off their bums and go out and work and campaign for the Labour Party – Jeremy has overwhelming support and indeed deep affection (not many “Support Owen Smith” T-shirts! And no MPs on the main stage Sunday! In the words of the immortal Brian Clough, a life-long Old Labour supporter [and hater of ‘my’ team!], they’re “a bloody disgrace!”).
Despite Jeremy’s so-called uncharismatic approach (we’ve had enough charisma, thank you!), several people around me were moved to tears by his speech [as was I, and by the one from the great Robb Johnson (Official)], and it was obvious that none of these people were going to go out and campaign for Angela Eagle (what are your policies Angela?) or will do so for Owen Smith (who?), as they can recognise ‘Teflon politics’ when they see it, and they’ve had enough. As far as they are concerned, “the class-struggle is back on” (when was it ever off?), and with the current leadership they have a party they can support and campaign for wholeheartedly.
Therefore, I suspect that the PLP’s strategy will be to continue to use the media (Pienaar, Kuenssberg, Sky, The S*n [“pardon my French”], The Daily Mosley) to discredit Jeremy and make him as “unelectable” as possible, so that they can then blame him for the ‘catastrophic collapse of the Labour vote among its traditional supporters’, which is actually a product of the twenty plus years of Bliarism, ‘Filthy Rich’ Mandelsonism, Alan Sugar, Digby Jones, and all the other grotesque trappings of New Labour.
And so, my message to these people, as member, is this: if you don’t like the new, Corbynista Labour Party, and you think it’s unelectable, resign your seat and let someone else not selected by the Bliarites at HQ stand in your stead. In other words, put your money (and your job!) where your mouth is, and your theory that Jeremy is “unelectable” to the test. Or is that the problem – you’re scared you might end up having to work for a living? (Join the club!)
Just prior to Jeremy’s speech, the assembled unions and other groups lined up to march through the village and back again to celebrate, of course, the six agricultural workers transported for trying to form a union (please don’t give Theresa May this idea). Our union (UCU) joined in this, so we tagged along (Catie seems to have become an honorary member of Unison for his purpose), although to its eternal shame, although UCU is a member of the TUC, it isn’t a member of the Labour Party (which perhaps explains why so many people historically from University of Plymouth NATFHE/UCU went on to become part of senior management – Join the Union! Become a boss!!) Anyway, here is our photographic record of the march.
My other main activity of the weekend – apart from singing, cheering, applauding, marching, and shamelessly networking, was what I take to be one of the main Tolpuddle activities, whose name I do not know, so that all I can do is call it ‘T-Shirt Logging’. This is a game played – for what I hope will be obvious reasons – strictly between middle-aged and senior men, and involves clocking the T-shirt of the bloke coming towards you, and – if you like it or approve of it – giving either a grin or grunt of approval (no spoken words, please – too intimate a contact), or best of all, or in the case of a really good T-shirt, a thumbs-up, preferably accompanied by a grin or a grunt. In fact there may even be a sliding scale of approval – grin, grunt, grin plus grunt etc, right up to grin, grunt plus thumbs up for really good ones. A sub-game, of course, is ‘T-Shirt Snap’, where you and the guy are wearing the same design, logo, colour etc. ‘Old Labour’ went down particularly well (I even got comments from a couple of female comrades with a rather earthy sense of humour), but one of the most popular was ‘I still hate Thatcher!” Must take mine next year.
Meanwhile, a HUGE thank you to everyone who clearly worked so hard to make Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival such a success (one pace forward, ‘Ramblin’ Mike Walford!). Not since I visited Barcelona during the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War have I met a group of people whom I am so proud to be able to call ‘Comrade’. I leave the last word to George Lovelace:
“We will, we will, we will be free!”
Played my first club for forty eight years! (Bodmin Folk Club, 5 December 2014).
Pity Cliff went to sleep!
Great night at the Open House at Looe Folk and Acoustic Music Club at The Jolly Sailor last Saturday night (7 March 2015)
Also went to Wadebridge Folk Club at The Ship Inn on Tuesday 24 March, although owing to an ancient battery and a lapsed RAC membership, the whole thing cost me ca £260!!!!! :(((
But, good music all round, especially from Tim and Sue Brine
(in photo: thanks Audrey for taking this shot)
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