Rob Rooney, Cornwall Socialist Party

“Mourn the dead, fight for the living” was on my mind as I set out to sell The Socialist in Fowey, south Cornwall. The day before, my friend Tim Caulfield had died. A Corbynite when I met him six or seven years ago, he saw himself as an anarchist in his last year or so. We had spirited discussions about our differing perspectives but were, essentially, kindred souls.

Within five minutes of setting up on a street corner in the centre of Fowey, I was approached by a man called Jonno who said: “A friend of mine who’s just died was a socialist.” He was talking about Tim and we swapped stories about him. He bought a paper and said: “I’ll read this in memory of Tim.”

Buoyed up by that encounter, I made the street ring with my slogans:  ‘Get your Socialist paper’; ‘support the strikes’; ‘let’s get rid of the Tories – just one big push is all it’ll take’; ‘nationalise the energy companies – no bailout for the profiteers’.

One woman on holiday from Newbury bought a paper. I told her about the Socialist Party branch in Reading. A man from Brighton bought a paper. He already knew about the Brighton branch of the party. Another man looked genuinely excited to see the paper on sale. He told me to wait there while he found some money. Five minutes later, he was back with his family, fiver in hand. I handed out a RMT leaflet and the young girl with him said: “Mam’s on this strike.”

Fowey is a well-to-do holiday place and the streets were thronged. Most were in holiday mode but it seemed to me my slogans struck a chord with many who realise that when the holiday is over, it’s back to reality and the day-to-day struggle.

My day was capped when a local man bought a paper. He told me that I have my work cut out in Fowey. I replied that things can change very quickly and asked him to think about joining the party if he likes what he read in the paper. He said he would.

Eight papers sold in 90 minutes and £12 fighting fund. I feel like I’ve staked out a corner of Fowey for socialism and I’ll be back next week.

In memory of Tim Caulfield – born Wythenshawe February 25 1948, died in Bodinnick 23 August 2022