I got home from work today and opened my post to find a letter from the Labour Party with the heading ‘YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS IN ARREARS – CALL 0345 092 22 99 TO RENEW TODAY’. The letter Labour had sent me should have read ‘We’re sorry to see you’ve cancelled your membership – please consider rejoining’. Instead, some wisearse in the party decided to go along the route of “arrears”; a tactic I’d expect from the Tories.
I cancelled my Labour Party membership back in February. Not because I didn’t support Jeremy Corbyn (I still do to a degree) but because I was sick and tired of some Labour MP’s and local labour membership consistently bitching and whining about Corbyn; despite him being given a very clear mandate by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party Members.
I had decided that I was no longer prepared to pay good money to support a party which refused to get behind their fairly-elected leader. I had decided the money spent on my membership would be better given to a local charity, which I promptly did. Somewhere local where the money could make a real change rather than being wasted on sending stupid letters.
It felt to me as though there were so called socialist party members who were refusing to allow the party to remain a socialist party in an ill-judged craving for a return to the ’New Labour’ Blair years (there you go, I said it, queue to comments from the Blairites). Here was a Leader trying to ensure the Labour Party fought every anti-socialist policy the Conservatives tried to squirrel through parliament, yet many senior members refused to support him in favour of bettering their careers. In my mind that’s not socialist politics; it’s selfish politics.
I was also very disappointed with Corbyn’s poor approach to the pre-Brexit discussions. He seemed to suggest he wanted to leave the EU unlike a majority of Labour supporters. He did pretty much nothing to convince the electorate to vote remain. Then again, neither did Theresa May…and she ended up as the bloody Prime Minister.
You’ll understand, therefore, why I was pretty pissed off to receive a letter from the Labour Party telling me that my (totally optional) membership was ‘in arrears’. I’ve been a Labour support all my life. My parents and grandparents were also Labour supporters. I’ve voted Labour at every General Election and (almost every) Local Election. However, I will no longer pay money for the party to consistently send letters out to the membership trying to enforce Corbyn’s mandate. I refuse to pay to support for more leadership elections.
Like the Labour Party I believe that victories are the product of ordinary people working together. Therefore, my work will be focused locally. I’m fed up with the in-fighting in the PLP. My efforts must therefore concentrate of helping people on a local level in the community where I live – where it really matters – and not just on election year.
Is this the end of the Labour Party as we know it?
This is a phrase that’s been banded around by the Murdoch press for many months but I can’t help but thing are heading that way. We have a Party with a democratically appointed leader that the majority of the paying membership support, but that a third don’t. Sadly, the third that don’t support Corbyn seem to be those with real clout – senior MP’s, many local Councillors and some other decision makers in local ranks. Many of these people seem more interested in beating the Tories with a stick than actually focusing on the elements which make the Labour Party what is should be; a party based on fairness, on local community, on socialism. Only if we win on those grounds at local level can we expect to win at Westminster.