18 June 2010

First CLP

So yesterday I attended my first Constituency Labour party meeting. The meeting was in the next town 10 miles away and even though I have been there countless times I missed one turning and took a more roundabout route to get there. Oh well.

When I got to the community centre where the meeting was to be held I saw several people waiting and asked them where the Labour meeting was. It turned out that they were there for the meeting but the staff could not unlock the door of the meeting room, so an alternative room had to be found.

The meeting was the AGM and the first one after the election, so it was an important meeting. By the time it started, there were about 25 people.

The first half of the meeting was the AGM and as expected the first half of the meeting was procedural: voting in officers and agreeing with the annual reports.

After that was a discussion about the election (the constituency re-elected the Tory MP) which was an optimistic discussion. No one suggested that, even though this government will be the most unpopular in living memory, this constituency could ever elect a Labour MP (it would take a lot to over turn a 39.2% majority over the Labour vote). If Cameron gets his way to redraw boundaries then the Tory majority will be even more. However, there are encouraging signs that the district elections could bring about more councilors, but of course, I will be ineligible since the party's rules are that you have to be a party member for a year to stand as for election. Not that I want to stand (yet!) I do not know the party officers nor the local Labour politicians which is something I really do need to rectify.

I introduced myself and pointed out the threats to our local hospital. I hope that at future meetings I can get to know more of the members and to build the opposition to the ConDem's planned NHS privatisation.

4 June 2010

First Post

May the 7th 2010 was a defining day for me. I have been a supporter of Labour all of my voting life but I have never joined the party. The reason was that was for someone else, I had other things to do (job, family, etc). There was always someone else who would want to stand for the council, always someone else to canvas. But after May 7th I realised that I could not stay in the shadows any more.

So I joined.

I went to the members' page on www.labour.org.uk and filled in the online form and gave my bank details for direct debt. I was sent an email immediately which said that my membership would be processed in 7 - 10 days. This seemed rather odd to me since I was now on the Labour membership computer, so all they needed to do was send me a membership card. Indeed, even if the card took time to print, the party could simply send me my membership number and I could start using that.

I guess part of the reason for the delay is the setting up of the direct debit, but I am sure that the party could accept members immediately and squabble over subs later.

So I waited.

On the 27th May (20 days after joining) I received a letter saying that the direct debit had been set up. It had taken twenty days. The letter had a reference number but still no membership number.

Finally, on the 4th of June I received a letter welcoming me into the party and with it the membership card. (I say card, but it is actually two layers of thicker paper with a sticky side.) I now have a membership number so I can create a new profile on the Membersnet page on the Labour website.

Next I need to find out where my local party meets, and get involved in local Labour politics.