Every year the organisers have a theme and this years theme was austerity. The march, led by the Cambria Band, sets off from the train station at midday and heads up to the house where the young men were brought after being shot. After a bit of panto, with the organiser barking orders at the crowd and the crowd responding with boos, the march continues back into town where a rally is held at the sunken gardens. After the rally the procession heads to the cemetery where the murdered men were buried.
|Me and my flag - pic from the Llanelli Herald|
Adam Philips from Balchder Cymru got the ball rolling with his speech, he mentioned how sad it was too see Labour MPs abstain over the recent welfare cuts. At this point, a devilishly handsome yet modest man shouted out "there's one of them over there" whilst pointing at Llanelli's Labour MP.
Next up it was the turn of the MP, Nia Griffith, to speak and she started speaking out against austerity and the Tory cuts. Once again, the man with the lovely flag decided to speak out, telling the crowd that Nia voted for Tory austerity. Clearly riled, Nia tried to justify herself but was continuously barracked from the sidelines. The organiser invited me to speak and so up I stepped.
None of this was planned as I honestly didn't expect her to turn up let alone speak out against something she supported. I began explaining to the crowd that Nia voted for Tory austerity back in January. A few months later she wrote on her blog that Llanelli couldn't handle another fiver years of Tory cuts, cuts that she had voted for! And then mentioned the recent abstention. I then switched the focus from Nia onto ourselves, Llanelli has voted for Labour for 93 years. They have done nothing for the area. In May, 37 of Wales' 40 constituencies voted for austerity parties. We bring this on ourselves. I finished up by inviting Nia to speak again so she could justify her support for Tory cuts.
At this point some guy, possibly one of the socialist workers, approached me and was trying to talk to me but I told him I was trying to listen to the shit Nia was spouting. She started banging on about Greece so I started heckling again in order to remind Nia that this wasn't Greece, this was Wales.
I wasn't the only person heckling as she dodged the main points and tried to justify her willingness to impose London cuts on Wales. A number of people I didn't know came up to me and shook my hand and congratulated me on having the balls to stand up to Nia.
Thanks to the immediacy of social media, the Llanelli Herald's facebook page was able to provide commentary, photos and video later on that day. You can read and watch the videos here, here, here and here.
One thing that has been evident since the 'battle' (the Herald's term) is that the Labour attack dogs have been more incensed about someone daring to question the voting records of their glorious leader than the disgusting voting records itself. For me this shows how far removed from reality these people are.
Having read the physical copy of the paper's report and the online offerings I am of the opinion that the Herald has reported on this in an impartial way. It's actually fair and balanced which is something that people rarely say about local papers, especially in Llanelli.
Jac o' the North stated in a recent piece that Plaid came to the defence of Nia and I don't agree with that assessment. The problem with Plaid is that they appear to be terrified of the local press and this is quite justified given that the Llanelli Star is owned by the Labour supporting Mirror.
As I had tried to explain to one of the socialist workers who were parading around with their 'Tories Out' placards. The Tories are not the problem here in Wales, the people who vote Labour are. And the more people keep banging on about the Tories, the more it benefits Labour. This wouldn't be such a problem if Labour actually opposed the Tories and stood up for Wales.
For anyone interested the flag is a republican flag I found on ebay for £3.69 and the 'flag pole' is an extendable (up to 3m) paint roller pole from Screwfix (£11.99). I drilled two small holes and screwed some eye hooks in. I then used two snap hooks to attach the flag. You'll need some acetone (nail varnish remover) to get the Harris sticker off though.