By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani
So I decided after years of being a Labour supporter to join the Labour Party last year and I found myself in a cult of acronyms, GCs; CLPs; NPFs; GLA; NECs; WTF; OMG; HELP!!!
I remember the first meeting I went to, I had that strange feeling of going to a new school on your first day. As people who bake cakes are normally nice, friendly and non threatening I looked for someone with that ‘Mr Kipling Glint’ in their eye to sit next to – I found someone who looked like they may have made rice crispy cakes as a child, that would do!
One hour went past, I am sure most of the meeting was in Japanese and finally it finished. As I got up to plan my swift exit, I was approached by a woman, very friendly but probably hadn’t baked cake since she was 9. After a bit of small talk about where I lived, she said so “Are you Progress or more LRC?” Progress sounded like a positive term you would put on your CV, but LRC stood for Library Resource Centre in University and that sounded like I was clever, ‘which should I choose?’ I thought. I took too long to answer, “A girl who likes to keep things close to her chest, interesting!” said the woman before winking at me and walking off.
Finally I got out, I walked home as stopping to wait for a bus could put me in danger of being seen by one of them. One thing was for sure, I wouldn’t be returning – it was worse than Zumba!
It took a good few months of my own pro-activity to figure out what I needed to do, in fact to this day I am yet to receive an induction or even a welcome phone call from anyone in my CLP (I know what that means now!). I was fortunate, I knew a lot of people in the Labour party both locally and nationally who have been amazingly supportive, but no sincere movement can rely on luck if it is to advance. I know that some CLPs/Wards are better than others, but for an organisation that is over 100 yrs old, this is absolutely poor quality. How many members have we lost? How much talent is on our members list that we are not utilising?
My only advice to new members until then is to ask loads of questions, persevere, give it time and keep an eye out for the “Mr Kipling Glint”.
This piece was also featured on Labour Left