Friday, March 09, 2012

Still banging the drum after 20 years

20 years ago this weekend, as a wide-eyed innocent, politically naive, totally inactive member of the public (albeit one that had voted, scrupulously, in every available election since attaining my majority), I woke up to party politics (and local democracy) in a big way. Actually it was not just a big way, it was a genuinely life-changing event.

On Sunday it will be the 20th anniversary of the day when John Major went to see the Queen to ask her for permission to call the next General Election. He was the Conservative/Tory Prime Minister of Great Britain (having beaten Hezza and Maggie in a ballot in 1990 for the poisoned chalice).

In 1992, 11th March fell on a Wednesday.

I was home from work, still dressed in my corporate navy blue uniform as a member of the Administration team at Stevenson of Oxbridge Ltd, in fact I think I may even have reached the heady heights of Administration Manager by then. It was tea-time and I was watching the BBC news. Ironically, that was probably the last time I ever found myself with sufficient time to watch that particular news programme because my free time was about to be given over to the Labour Party.

You have heard all of this before and I wont rehearse it again, sufficient to say that I was instantly energised by the forthcoming General Election to volunteer to help with the forthcoming campaign. I found my local Labour Party and I joined in. And the rest is history.

This Sunday I will be celebrating my 20th anniversary as a Labour Party activist in company with other like-minded members and with my friend and local MP, Luciana Berger, in a Wavertree restaurant. We will all be meeting with other shadow ministers, local supporters and members over food and a drink and engaging in all that political conversation that we so love. This is not an event organised on my behalf, indeed I only realised the significance of the date after I had accepted the invitation, but it will be a fitting celebration all the same.

I am this year the Campaign Manager for the six wards within Liverpool Wavertree and I have only two tasks.

Simply, my role is to facilitate the election of six Labour Councillors in six wards, and to elect Joe Anderson as Liverpool's first elected Mayor for Labour.

And if the support that Liverpool Labour Party has already enjoyed in Liverpool Wavertree since the campaign was developed is anything to go by, we are on the path to victory.

Huge numbers of Labour Party members are engaging in delivering leaflets, knocking on doors, phoning voters (don't  you just love "free calls" mobile phone contracts?) and sharing good ideas about possible visits for the Mayoral and Local Council candidates over the next 8 weeks.

Although the LibDems (who?) have always liked to pretend that we succeed in Liverpool only when people "pour in from outside", "snooing" the local area, the fact remains that almost every volunteer, this year like every year, and just like me 20 years ago, lives locally and feels the passion that has them active every day.

I do hope that we are nurturing some members during this historic campaign in Liverpool in 2012 that will be here in 20 years time and can be writing their own blog about how it all started for them. I look forward to reading their entries in 2032.

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