It is an oft-repeated truism within Labour that we need to do more to make the party more appealing: we can all remember the spectacle of the bright new member put off for life by the tyranny of branch meetings in dusty rooms discussing GCs, ECs and contesting points of order.
But branch meetings won’t disappear overnight. Nor should they – when they work well they can work very well. But it’s also true that the most fun bit of the evening is normally the pub afterwards. Here Labour discussion and debate takes place between people who joined the party in order to talk about and change the world, even if only a little bit. New members (and old) who may feel cowed speaking to a quiet room are more relaxed sitting down with a drink.
With the influx of new members since the general election now is the time to make sure we reach out to them and keep them.
Never mind the problem of the branch meetings themselves; some newcomers may not even be contacted by their fellow local members. Next time you see your branch or CLP chair, secretary or anyone else, do ask them if we’ve made contact with the new members. Even an email is better than nothing.
But we can also seize the opportunity to have some other types of social event. August is already upon us and people will be coming and going, but September is a time when we can think about organising something for the new members (and older ones who may re-emerge). This is the sort of thing that could be held in a more social setting such as a pub or drop-in coffee morning if you have the facilities to do that. My own branch is putting a quiz together for the end of September – a quiz is a good way for new people to come along in a relaxed setting and interact in a relaxed way.
All well and good but getting the questions together can be a big obstacle. That’s why the questions from this quiz are going to be made available through Progress for use at such events. Just get in touch with us here and we’ll be able to send you the set of questions. That way all you’ll need to do is book a room in a pub and get the date set for the quiz.
In the meantime, if any Labour people out there already have a set of questions ready and are willing to share them then please do send them in and we can begin to build up the bank of quizzes. The aim is to help oil the wheels of social Labour events across the country.
In a similar vein, check out the Progress speaker list. If you’re looking for a speaker for an upcoming meeting then do get in touch.
Don’t forget too to check out our Campaign Zone which gives details of where you can help Labour out fighting by-elections around the country. Exeter and Norwich have big sets of by-elections coming up in early September so please do help out if you can.
Progressive centre-ground Labour politics does not come for free.
Our work depends on you.