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The mood of Tolpuddle 2017: things have changed

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2017 by kmflett

The mood of Tolpuddle 2017: things have changed

I’ve been going to the South-West TUC Tolpuddle festival for more years than I can remember.

Originally I resided in a tent on site with my partner Megan but I’m over 60 now and despite an apparently well-known twitter exchange with Jeremy Corbyn on the joys of camping (his joy not mine) these days we stay in the Premier Inn in Dorchester. Suffice to say that when we first went to Tolpuddle the Premier Inn was not built.

The festival which in modern times has extended over 3 days, has its ups and down in terms of attendance and mood.

A couple of months ago I’m not sure many expected 2017 to be one of the greatest Tolpuddles ever but as Dylan noted, things have changed.

The weather last weekend was not great but there was no real rain. It was dry underfoot (that’s important when you’re in fields in Dorset). It was according to the organisers probably the biggest ever. Certainly there seemed to be lots more tents, lots more people and on the Sunday for the rally lots more cars, weekend public transport in such a rural area having long since been abolished by the Tories. I even heard locals in Dorchester on the Saturday night talking about attending to hear (of course) Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who had a rural upbringing, has been attending Tolpuddle for ever. Until recently no one paid much attention. To his credit now he is Leader, he is still attending true as ever to his roots.

To see Corbyn speak together with Frances O’Grady TUC GS, was a reminder that the labour movement is back where it belongs: unions and Party together.

Of course there is work to be done (there always is). There was denunciation of the 1% pay cap but, er, not support (yet) for the People’s Assembly demo at the Tory Conference in Manchester on 1st October.

The mood though was upbeat. Of course some veteran attenders are grumpy about Corbyn but let’s recall Dylan again: things have changed.

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