by Tim Gulliver
Welcome to Tolpuddle and to this special edition of Unity! from the Communist Party.
The government tells us the economic recovery is under-way, with unemployment falling and wages rising. But as the South West TUC pointed out, our region has over three million people ‘under-employed’ – in work but with fewer hours than they want. House prices remain some of the highest in the Britain while average wages are amongst the lowest. Renters hand over 35% of their incomes to their landlords, the third highest rent to income ratio in the country. And there was nothing in last week’s Conservative budget that will change this!
The political map of the South West changed fundamentally in May. The Lib Dems disappeared entirely and Labour MPs can’t be found outside of Exeter and Bristol. But as is often the case with our voting system, the headlines do not reflect the reality. Even in seats where Labour lost, their percentage share of their vote often increased and local grassroot campaigns are also fighting back. New People’s Assembly groups are being formed in the South West and Cornwall every month.
The challenge, as always, is to move from rallies and leafleting to coordinated campaigns that delivery concrete change. So while the sun (hopefully) shines down on another fantastic Tolpuddle festival, we all need to take the spirit of the Martyrs home with us. Let every town and village in the South West raise the watchword liberty. We will, we will, we will be free!
Tim Gulliver is a member of the Communist Partys executive committee and is the Party’s south west media officer http://www.southwestcommunists.org.uk
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