Fighting the Cuts

The fightback against the savage public service cuts proposed by the Con Dem government took place in Cardiff recently, with representatives of Cardiff Trades Council, Côr Cochion and members of CWU and UNITE unions. The demonstration marked the anniversary of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the farm labourers in Dorset who formed a union to protest against wage cuts in 1843- and were transported for their pains. It took place outside Cardiff Market, the site of the execution of Dic Penderyn, who also suffered for belonging to the Chartist's reform movement. In bright sunshine, the choir met with a tremendous response from the public. Spanish students joined us in the Chilean song De Pie Cantar (Stand up and Sing) . A 90 year old pensioner, Henry Arthur, heard the singing, saw the message and enthusiastically joined in the campaign. He added a rhythmic beat to the music as he played his hand made wooden spoons. "Why am I joining you?" he said. "Because I don't want my pension devalued; I don't want to lose my heating allowance, my free swim, my bus pass. I want to spend my last years with a modicum of dignity and comfort." Having worked all his life in the steel and collieries, having defended his country in the second world war, he deserves to live free from the fear of hardship and poverty. He spoke out for the poor, the sick and all the victims of the Tories' promised massive cuts in public services.
Henry Arthur (centre, with spoons)
He demanded that Cameron stop the massive tax evasions by the multinational corporations, and close the loopholes exploited by the banks. Action should be taken against these, the real culprits of the financial crisis, not the ordinary people. A woman had been watching the choir for some time, and came up to speak to us. She said she was from the Soviet Union; the songs we were singing brought back her childhood days as a Young Pioneer. She was thrilled to sing the Internationale and other songs with us, and demonstrated her dancing skills as we sang. The message she said she would take back to St Petersburg (the former Leningrad) was that the people of Wales would not take the cuts sitting down – the fightback starts here.

-Ray Davies & Wendy Lewis, Musical Director

Rosa (right) joins the singing of the Internationale.