Letter sent to the Bucks Free Press saying local democracy is very healthy in Wycombe Labour. Perhaps Wycombe Tories have problems?
Merelene Davis’ letter last week (“Local politics is key”) was rather downbeat about local democracy in our political parties; she mentioned political parties being beholden to wealthy lobby groups and immensely rich donors, cuts to the Conservative Associations, the importance of local parties selecting candidates for Parliament, membership of the Tory Party plummeting, lack of discussion and consultation with members at the grass roots and policies being at the whim of a privileged minority.
I thought I would reassure Ms Davis and BFP readers that Wycombe Labour doesn’t have these problems.
The Labour Party has few (if any) immensely rich donors; we are funded by small donations from hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. There are no funding cuts to our local constituency party from the national party as we don’t get much from the national party in the first place. We manage on a shoestring and will probably continue managing on a shoestring.
We selected our Parliamentary candidate for last years’ Parliamentary election democratically, with a caucus and a vote of all members. The successful candidate, David Williams QC, increased our vote by 5%.
Our membership has trebled over the last year and is still growing. Many of our new members are young people and this is great. However, our members come in all shapes and sizes and we welcome them all.
We are consulted by our party leaders in all sorts of ways. For example, I and another member of Wycombe Labour Party went to the Youth Conference a few weeks ago and contributed to the debate about the Labour Party’s policies for young people. Wycombe Labour members discuss, and argue, at meetings about the political issues which Ms Davis says governs our lives – education, the EU, the economy, defence, business, housing and the NHS. Those discussions influence and decide our priorities and policies.
Finally, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, our leaders – Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson- are not part of a privileged minority.
We have our problems in Wycombe Labour. Not least of these is persuading our supporters to register and vote in an area which is overwhelmingly Tory. We have to convince them that their vote matters.
But, whatever our problems, I can assure everyone that Wycombe Labour is alive and well and kicking.
Secretary, Wycombe Labour