Welsh at wits end display their unity

6 March 1998

Welsh at wits end display their unity

ANGLESEY farmers wife Janet Morgan feeds newborn lambs most mornings before sunrise. But until last week, shed only been to London once before.

At 6.30am on Sunday, Mrs Morgan joined about 100 other Anglesey folk who boarded two coaches at the Menai Bridge for the six-hour trip to the capital.

Like most farmers in north Wales, Mrs Morgan is at her wits end. Local livelihoods, she said, were being wrecked by cheap meat imports flooding in through the nearby port of Holyhead. And the government should do something about it.

"Nobody goes into farming to become a millionaire. But we do want to earn a living."

Local beef and sheep producer John Foulkes was in charge of one of the coaches. He is a veteran of recent farmer protests. But on Sunday he was handing out tickets for the London Underground. He said: "We dont want more subsidies, we just want to be able to compete."

New legislation preventing the export of whole sheep carcasses and the ban on British beef threatened to ruin local farmers, Mr Foulkes said. And two livestock auctioneers and a farm machinery dealer voiced their agreement as the coach reached London.

"The knock-on effects mean everyones feeling the pinch," said John Jones of Mona Tractors in Llangefni. Once the march got under way, however, Mr Foulkes unfurled his Welsh flag and waved it proudly above his head.

"There are so many people here the government will have to listen to us now. This is great – a real show of unity."

Even Mrs Morgan, whose first trip to London was more than 30 years ago, seemed prepared to make a third trip to the city if the government failed to act.

"I didnt like it then and I dont like it now," she said. "But if they dont listen, Ill come back again."n

John Foulkes and colleagues experience the delights of Londons Tube.

See more