Thursday 20 July 2017


It was late last Saturday evening that I checked my Facebook to discover that Keith Shilson, the newly elected Secretary of the St Ives Constituency Labour Party, had sent me a photo from Tolpuddle in Dorset. He was there - obviously - because of the three-day annual event to celebrate the anniversary of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who laid the foundations of Britain's trade union movement.

Here's the picture, taken in the museum shop:

The Road to Corbyn reaches Tolpuddle in Dorset

How cool is that!  It reminds me of this one, taken in the shop window at Fahrenheit Books Cooperative in Middlesbrough where four copies of my book had been sold up to March this year:

The Road to Corbyn reaches Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire

I have provided a link here to an earlier post that I published that first explained the connection with Fahrenheit Books. I said then that I was learning that an author has to learn the art of being a hustler for his own creation.

And then there is the outstanding Redwing Gallery in Penzance that I've been praising in posts

already who have sold 14 copies of my book to date - and they are certainly worth a picture!

Redwing Gallery - Penzance

I love the idea that this book I've written has legs and travels. I know of course that is what books do - but to find out that the book you have written is making such journeys is appealing to the child in me. The sense of wonder is always worth nurturing and valuing.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs

And so back to the Tolpuddle Martyrs. They were six farm workers who tried to form a trade union in March 1934. The authorities moved in and they were arrested, tried, and sentenced to transportation to Australia for their audacity to band together to campaign for better wages and conditions. Let this extract from the Morning Star this Monday (17.07.2017) complete the story:

Mr Corbyn said: "This festival is an iconic part of the movement for a more democratic, more peaceful and more equal society. We come every year to celebrate our rights and how they were won. Celebrate progress of the past - and learn how to make progress in the future. We recognise the importance of struggle - but at Tolpuddle we can also celebrate the victory. every single one of the transported workers was returned - victory for them, but also for working people everywhere." After the men were sentenced, unions organised a huge campaign to free them, attracting 100,000 people to a march near Kings Cross the following month. Their efforts were successful, and, in 1836, the government agreed that all six men should have a full and free pardon.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs' struggle "sowed the seeds for the trade union movement and in turn for the Labour Party itself," Mr Corbyn told the crowds, adding that the movement and the party "have been the greatest forces for progress and improvements in people's lives that this country has ever known ... The Tolpuddle Martyrs remind us that we can change society if we have the will and stay united."   

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