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From: The Socialist issue 828, 8 October 2014: Striking to end low pay

Search site for keywords: Somerset - Recession - Minimum wage - Fighting Fund - Economy

Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for 10 now!

Steve German, Somerset Socialist Party

Shop window posters boldly proclaiming "A Half-Price Mr Whippy Ice Cream - Happy Hour" provided part of the backdrop. On 27 September, four Socialist party members held a street stall in Weymouth, Dorset - the first for a number of years.

Half-price ice cream might have been unthinkable in a bustling seaside town like Weymouth before the financial crash of 2008. Now the posters serve as a permanent visual reminder of just how badly the local economy has been ravaged by continuing recession.

This was confirmed by the hundreds who visited our stall. All had something to say about how their lives are more difficult with every week that passes.

The young and not-so-young alike patiently formed queues to sign our "10 Now" petition. Many explained that raising the minimum wage to 10 an hour wasn't simply a 'nice idea', but an actual burning necessity.

One such person, Mary, tearfully explained that she and her husband work full-time in a shop. They recently had to make their first ever visit to a food bank to feed their three teenage children.

Mary's despair gave way to anger within just a few minutes as she explained her total contempt for the career politicians from all of the parties who talk about so called 'tough choices' and 'difficult decisions'. "What would they know about having to make the real, heart breaking, 'difficult' decision of either paying your rent or feeding your children? Nothing!"

She bought a copy of the Socialist and made a donation to the Socialist Party.

A passer-by in his eighties shouted "I don't want anything to do with you lot - I'm a socialist!"

He then insisted we sell him a paper, saying "I'm so sorry - I thought you were the local Labour Party."

Another person applied to join the party after approaching the stall and telling us that his work in the merchant navy had allowed him to attend a meeting in New Orleans. He was hugely impressed by the main speaker, Kshama Sawant.

As soon as he discovered that Kshama is a member of our co-thinkers in the USA, he agreed to join on the spot and is looking forward to attending our annual national event, Socialism 2014, next month.

Four people applied to join, 28 papers were sold and 25 fighting fund was raised - after which the team packed up and went for a well deserved half price ice cream!







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