If you were to imagine the typical Cotswold town, you might well come up with Burford. The steeply sloped High Street is lined by creamy yellow stone houses and shops. It’s a quiet town – or would be but for the tourists who come in a never ending stream throng.
Last Saturday (May 16) you would have had quite a shock. Pike men and morris dancers leading several hundred political activists and trade unionists march up the High Street to a rally in the playing fields. All of which was preceded by a wreath laying ceremony in the Churchyard to commemorate the execution of three Leveller soldiers during the English Civil War.
Many of the members of the Unite Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Community branch find the Levellers principles inspiring and in many ways just as relevant today as 360 years ago. These were freedom from religious discrimination; voting on the basis of citizenship rather than property; and a fair legal system. Today we still make use of petitions and pamphlets, both developed and popularised by the Levellers.
I wonder how the Levellers would feel about being honoured in this way, all these years later, especially considering the forthcoming attacks on our rights that have been announced since the General Election. I’m sure they would be out campaigning with us.
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Kate Pearce is a Unite Community member