Earlier this year, I decided to get more involved in Labour politics. While I was motivated to get involved as a result of my strongly held political beliefs, I’ve come to realise that what will sustain my interest is the sense of local connection and common purpose I’ve experienced as a result of meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and stages of life.
I’ve been impressed with how many friendly, decent people I’ve met. I’ve greatly enjoyed speaking to members and getting to know people I would not otherwise come into contact with in my day-to-day life. In the past couple of months I’ve worked alongside retired teachers, a politically active teenager who attends Bournville College and a barrister who has recently returned from the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg. Not to mention our candidate for the local election, Mary Locke, who has lived and worked in Stirchley for the past 40 years.
Yesterday’s launch event for the Selly Oak Labour Party’s general election campaign brought home to me the ability of local politics to bring people together. Besides Local MP Steve McCabe’s impassioned call for supporters to work together to ensure Britain becomes a fairer society, the event was memorable for the older couple I got talking to.
Patricia and Huey (pictured above) are in their 70s and this year celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. They have been staunch Labour Party supporters their whole lives and still to this day Huey make a point of going out and delivering leaflets in his local neighbourhood. I asked Huey what motivates him and he replied: “I support the Labour Party because of my grandchildren and now my great-grandchildren. Labour offers optimism and hope and for the future.”
While I appreciate politics isn’t for everyone, I would strongly encourage people to get involved in their local community in whatever way suits them best. Whether it is attending a local book club, joining the running club or helping organise a social event, I believe you will feel better about where you live and humanity in general.