Another great weekend at Tolpuddle. It is a great credit to Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, that he has turned this event around from being a rather dull bureaucratic affair, into a lively festival that celebrates solidarity and trade unionism, but also provides a great weekend’s entertainment whether you are there with your mates for a few beers and the music, or looking for a more family friendly time with your children.
I spent most of Saturday just hanging out: the activities in the childrens’ area this year were good – particularly the story teller – Clive Pig. The Saturday is a great time for mooching about and bumping into other trade unionists – I was impressed that Unison and FBU activists from Swindon were camping for the weekend this year. And on Sunday the GMB laid on a full coach from Swindon in conjunction with the T&G, and I think Unison may have put on their own coach.
On Sunday supporters of the National Shop Stewards Network leafleted the parade through the village, including some help from my sons. The leaflets got a very warm response. You can look at the leaflet at the South West NSSN website:
What is remarkable is what a small footprint the Labour Party had at the festival. A one minute speech from Dawn Primorolo, and a stall smaller than Respect’s or the Green party’s. There were also fewer Labour Party banners than in previous years. The forthcoming year will be very interesting, as the CWU have given the Labour Party one year to improve or they will ballot the members on disaffiliating, and the GMB have started a process of critical engagement with the party, that includes looking at what value the union gets for its money.
More pictures at Socialist Unity