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.