From the mid-1980s until 1995 I was a card carrying member of the Labour Party.
Not NEW Labour – old Labour – the Red Flag singing, Socialist leaning, nationalising party that I grew up with as a child in the 1960s and a teenager in the 1970s. Warts and all.
I joined Labour in about 1986, after the Miner’s Strike and after I;d come to live in Sheffield. I did stints as Ward Chair, Constituency Vice Chair, District Labour Party delegate as well as learning the valuable skills associated with leafletting and typing Gestetner stencils to produce the Ward Newsletter. this was in the pre-email, pre-social media days when agendas were delivered by volunteers through the letter box… I was proud to belong to one of the more Left wing Wards in Sheffield – which considering how left-wing Sheffield was in those days was quite an achievement.
I left when Tony Blair took over the Party and never expected to return, but have done so since the election of Jeremy Corbyn to be leader of the Party again. Actually, I signed up as a supporter so I could vote for him, so felt honour bound to join properly when he won. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t ‘blackballed’ as several colleagues from Occupy and other grass-roots groups were – I clearly haven’t been a bad enough boy in recent years…
I saw Billy Bragg on TV today commenting that he too had recently re-joined the Party after a similar long absence.
It’s nice to be back in the fold…I wonder if the protocols in meetings have changed much? Do people still call each other comrade? Or is that something I’ll have to try and initiate?