I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you have made to our branch and to the Labour movement in general.
This year has been an eventful year from the astonishing General Election result nationally to our branch becoming more active than ever at a local level. It certainly has been exciting times and I think that 2018 will continue this trend. Will Theresa May call yet another snap election with disastrous consequences for her and her party and who will be the next member of her cabinet to quit? These are all puzzles which I’m sure will slowly unravel as time goes on.
What does all this mean for us on a local level? There are many people who are suffering locally due to the harsh cuts and punitive benefits system and we must reach out and provide them with hope- hope that this sad chapter will be coming to a swift end shortly with a genuinely 21st Century Socialist Labour Government coming to power with a bold, radical vision for the future.
This year, I ask just two things of you as a member or supporter. Help us to expand our already very active branch. If you have been observing from a distance and paying your monthly subs, come to a branch meeting or a social like Pint and Politics to see what we are about. If you come just to one meeting a month, come along to one of the many activities going on. If you are a regular attender, think about running an activity yourself. The other thing is that if we are to become a truly democratic party which enables mass participation, take part in the Labour Party Democracy Review. Over the next few months, you will hear many radical ideas from members about how to improve the party and its structures and rules. Consider making an individual submission as well as contributing to any branch submissions we might make. I’ve already heard ideas such as enabling participation of members by possibly assisting with childcare as well as other modern, radical ideas such as Digital Democracy. I believe in the power of the membership and that this year, we will hear some interesting ideas that will only strengthen our party further.
I didn’t realise until recently that there is a difference between mobilising and organising. When we mobilise members and supporters, our presence is felt by the local communities we serve for the better. When we organise, we empower people to expand and become an authentic social movement. Our presence is then felt everywhere from ‘Tory Heartlands’ to the local pub, from newspapers to Social Media. This is when we can achieve something remarkable- we start to win areas not ever thought winnable before; we persuade those thought lost to us to see an alternative to the status quo.
Let’s make 2018 the year when we are felt in every part of the constituency and we become an unstoppable force for change and good. For the many, not the few!
Merry Christmas once again.
Bridgwater Branch Secretary