I gave up on Labour Party meetings because it was more important to go to tai chi on Wednesdays.
However, I had received emails, a phone call and a request from a colleague-friend urging me to participate in this meeting, to vote for changes to standing orders, delegates to conference and committe members. If the Labour Party (and hence social democracy in the UK) was to be turned around, people like me had to turn up.
The first 45 minutes – 15 had been planned – were spent arguing the toss about the proposed changes to standing orders and their legality. In the end, the opposition deviously moved a vote not to vote on the standing orders. They won by 29-18. Surely, I thought, the ensuing votes for delegates etc. would go the same way. I was annoyed at the torpedoing of the vote for which I had sacrificed the evening – but also heightened in my sense of heroic self-sacrifice, and confirmed in my shrewd judgment as to the hopelessness of the Party’s situation. So I decided to stick it out – one last time.
There followed a presentation and Q&A by a chap from “Healthwatch Richond” for 45 minutes. 90 minutes gone.
Finally came the votes which really counted, for our local delegates to conference. It was business-like: each side had been informed of the names to vote for. Without much hope we filled out ballot sheets, or raised our hands, and… we won, all three votes, 24-23. Brilliant.