It’s been nearly a year since I started writing this blog and just over a year since I quit shouting powerlessly at the TV and started the path to becoming more politically active.
What I’ve learnt is that making that move is not just therapeutic; it is also life-enhancing.
I still shout at the radio, but now I know other people with whom I can share my frustrations with the government. I’ve found new friends and discovered new things through door-stepping about the area I live with. And I feel part of a movement that is developing new policies that reflect its commitment to social justice and that is thinking seriously about the kind of society it wants to create.
The culmination of this year was going for selection as a local Labour candidate for the area that I’ve lived in for the last fifteen years.
It was an evening that had its moments – who’s got the keys to the hall? What’s the process? Which ward first?
But it was also really enjoyable. I’d not been sure whether I’d like speaking about my politics to others but I did. And I must have managed to convince them that I wasn’t a blithering idiot as I ended the night Labour candidate for St Clements in
The following day I sat in as observer on a meeting of the Labour Group of the City Council. A lot of tosh is talked about politics and politicians by people who, on the whole, are disengaged from the process and happier criticising that working out ways of changing things for the better.
What I learnt from that meeting was that the councillors were a dedicated group, committed to representing their areas. I was impressed by the careful and compassionate way in which these councillors approached decision making, thinking through the issues that are coming down the line in the wake of government funding cuts and changes in policy.
As I walked home I felt privileged to have seen democracy in action and keen to be involved. I’m looking forward to this new stage in my activism.
The Accidental Labour Activist has become the Accidental Labour Candidate.