Party News: Tolpuddle Rally 1997
he annual rally to commemorate the Tolpuddle Martyrs has become a feature of socialist activity in the south.This year on a hot summer’s day in July members and supporters from London, Wiltshire and Dorset were involved in setting up a socialist literature stall.
In recent years the event has become somewhat sedated as a lot of the people who have in the past attended regularly, such as Labour Party activists, have become disillusioned first with a succession of Conservative governments and in recent years with the Labour Party turning itself into an alternative Conservative Party and then in May a new Conservative government.
Despite a quieter atmosphere the event is still a good one for selling socialist literature and discussing with people who are looking for a way forward in the political environment of the late 1990s.
It is also a most enjoyable way of putting forward the socialist case—the middle of the Dorset countryside on a lovely summer’s day talking and exchanging views with other socialists, debating with various other political organisations and hopefully converting a few more members of the working class to socialism.With the sandwiches, drinks and a few young children running around it is very much like a socialist picnic.
When most people had walked back past our stall in the late afternoon, we slowly packed away the literature and counted up the sales, which this year amounted to around £37, then if you like, a quick or not-so-quick pint or few pints at the Martyrs Inn, a few goodbyes and back to our various destinations.
Yes, a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday. We will be back there next year, hope to see a few of you as well