This morning I had coffee with a Seaton member of the branch. We talked about the development of the town, the iniquities of the Tory administration, the structure and personalities of the Constituency party – and what was wrong with the Seaton Virtual Labour Party.
My companion was a psychology graduate with experience in marketing and public relations. He felt our major failure was in communications, with members feeling isolated and uninformed. Social media presented the only avenue for contact; but it was important to avoid self-referential echo chambers, such as closed Facebook groups. This website needed promotion and user analysis.
I presented my idea of celebrity lectures and regular table-top events in Seaton to engage with the town. He felt this was of limited value to the younger members forming the great majority of new entrants to the Party – busy, as they were, with earning a living. They were also less troubled by the collapse of the NHS than older members (such as myself) and more concerned about more general political issues.
We then went our separate ways: he to apply to join the closed CLP Facebook group and me to install Google Analytics on this site.
These elections take place in May and, so far, no Labour candidates have appeared for the Axminster, Honiton or Seaton seats.
Anyone interested should contact the branch secretary at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. If no local members apply the slots are open to members from outside these constituencies; but such candidates will lose the advantage of local knowledge and recognition, both powerful advantages.
Today’s Observer had a gloomy editorial on this topic – as, I am sure, do most periodicals. Seeing it all together is undeniably scary, but be of good cheer: with social upheaval comes opportunity.
Indeed, it is arguable that social change requires disruption. I used to teach Change Management and one of my favourite theorists compared an organisation to a nest of snakes tangled together and frozen solid. Before the snakes could move to new positions the ice had to be melted, which required a powerful surge of energy from outside. Then when they take up new positions they could be frozen again.
In politics that surge usually requires revolution or war; but Brexit and Trump come pretty close to these in many respects. What we must do is persuade the snakes to slither into new positions while still warm. As the largest political party in Western Europe this must be within our capabilities.