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Comedian and campaigner Mark Thomas has become the latest stand up comedian to join the growing Coalition of Resistance against cuts to public services and privatisations being driven through by the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

Mark Thomas

Mark Steel, who launched his career performing during the miners' strike, and grumpy old man Arthur Smith have already signed the statement defying the cuts authored by Tony Benn and published in the Guardian.

Scottish writer and stand up A L Kennedy has joined the campaign while the comic actor Roger Lloyd Pack, of The Old Guys and a national treasure because of his performance of Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, will also add a few wry smiles to the campaign.

The comedians have signed as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is in full swing and hints at a new era of caustic political humour which has ebbed since the heyday of anti-Thatcher sentiment captured by Spitting Image, the Young Ones and other mainstream television favourites.

A source said: "There will be plenty of reasons to cry when the coalition government start forcing people into redundancy. Hopefully our growing band of comedians will employ informed satire and ridicule to give people the confidence to fight back."

The number of people writing into the Coalition of Resistance has now passed the three thousand target, surpassing the organisers' highest hopes for the launch of the national united front against the government's savage cuts in jobs and services.

Among the new signatories are the journalist Dr Felicity Arbuthnot, who has reported on the killings in Iraq, and the academic and trade union expert Professor Mary Davis.

Stop the War artist David Gentleman and peace stalwart, former CND chairman Bruce Kent have also joined Benn's coalition.

The political breadth of the organisation has also expanded with Richard Brenner, the editor of Workers Power and David McLellan of the Communist Party of Scotland adding their names. A source has also confirmed that the entire Czech Green Left Party has signed the CoR document.

The Coalition of Resistance is also growing at a grassroots level and campaigners on the ground work hard to ensure the national campaign works closely with already existing local groups and trade unions. The whole of the Islington Unison branch has now signed up to the coalition.


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