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Being a British Labour Party Member

Updated on February 6, 2019
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Corbyn Rally 2016

I was close to the stage at this 2016 rally. Corbyn was touring the country to get support after Owen Smith challenged his leadership
I was close to the stage at this 2016 rally. Corbyn was touring the country to get support after Owen Smith challenged his leadership | Source

The Labour Party and Me

Having voted for the Labour Party all my adult voting life it seemed a good idea to finally put my money where my mouth was and actually become a party member.

There have been times when I have voted for Labour holding my nose and as the party of the lesser of the evils but being a loyal voter was always a given.

Over many decades just once did the Labour Party fail to win my vote and that was a long time ago.

My vote at that time went to an independent anti European Economic Community candidate.

The E.E.C became the E.U. and currently the U.K. is trying to untangle itself from years of membership so perhaps that candidate had the correct stance.

As someone who recognizes the importance of voting and has always voted in any election I thought why not, in retirement, actually join the Labour Party?

Why not indeed!

Ed Miliband Labour Party Leader 2015

In 2015 Labour Party leader Ed Miliband lost a general election and quickly quit the role. To be fair his position was made untenable with some members of the P.L.P, Parliamentary Labour Party, baying for blood.

He was not the only party leader to quit following that General Election but his resignation led to a turbulent time in the Labour Party.

That turbulence still exists

Mr Miliband had opened the door to more party membership involvement and in particular in the process of electing a new party leader.

Some of those unhappy with the current leadership will forever blame Mr Miliband for changes he made which also on the upside massively increased party membership.

These changes led to Jeremy Corbyn, against the odds, becoming party leader.

Joining The Labour Party

I joined the Labour Party in early 2015 ahead of the General Election and subsequent defeat of that year.

It was a simple process which I did online.

Having supported the party for so long it seemed a good idea but little did I know how fractured the party would become and little did I realize how internal conflict is not unusual.

Ed lost the election and the search for a new leader began

In order to be on the ballot paper would be candidates had to secure 35 nominations from the party’s M.Ps.

As the process got underway some hopefuls fell by the wayside failing to secure enough support.

The final four were Liz Kendal, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn the veteran left-wing M.P. was selected by the left of the party as part of a project to take Labour back to its roots and away from the New Labour years of Tony Blair.

He was not expected to win but he did and it was a spectacular win.

He did not get my vote but I had said I would support whoever won and have.

Along the way Mr Corbyn has become my chosen candidate and when Owen Smith challenged the leadership Jeremy Corbyn got my vote.

But it has been a bumpy ride.

As just a voter ignorance was bliss. As a party member some things are difficult to ignore.

Political Activism

As a new member of the party I attended local leadership hustings and a couple of meetings.

However I did not really join to become a political activist and I never enjoyed meetings.

As a blogger I had a successful website where I shared my views and opinions but after a lifetime of work I had no intention of anything more.

Somewhere along the line though I agreed to take part in local campaigning. This involved door-knocking, delivering leaflets and helping to staff a Labour Party stall at a couple of events.

Things were going well but I began to feel I was being sucked in.

With some of those helping the party seemingly in order to further their own political ambitions it was obvious, just like in the workplace, some were there for an easy ride.

You can always spot these members on any photos of campaigning published on social media though they may have simply turned up briefly.

They are in prime position smiling into the camera so that they have proof of activism to add to their C.V.

This can be useful if they want to be a councillor, M.P. or secure paid work for the party.

Continued Membership?

Just over three years on I am undecided whether to remain a party member or quit.

I definitely want to be a passive non-active member and if that is not possible I will quit.

The problem for me is that if I always give anything my best shot. This at times has led to stress at work but I am retired now. It says it all I guess that my political activities have started to feel like work.

I also find it difficult to refuse to help. If asked “Can you help” I invariably end up saying ”Yes.”

But as someone aged late sixties it feels time to say thanks but no thanks.


The party is in turmoil with internal fighting wasting time, money and energy.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced a series of accusations and allegations as some “comrades” try to oust him.

Currently unresolved allegations of antisemitism are tearing the party apart.

I joined the Labour Party to do my little bit financially and as a means of showing support but being a party member is many things and at this time most are not good.

However, if like me you want real political change in the U.K., Labour should win your vote.

In or outside of the party people have a vote.

Hopeful Local Rally 2016

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Ethel Smith


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      23 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Jandee. I did not renew membership this year but continue to run a JC supporting FB page and support in my own ways

    • jandee profile image


      23 months ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Interesting how you felt the need to join labour but now are about to leave. Hope you changed your mind and decided to stay in the party.

      If you don't relish attending meetings(I love them) then you shouldn't go, as the last thing that is needed is negativity.

      I have followed Jeremy Corbyn most of my political life, the line up for leader was a gift for Jeremy, didn't see him using paper reminders! He is so articulate and knowledgeable.

      Enjoyed reading your post, thanks.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Brad dear me

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Sorry Brad I do not mind a debate but have not posted these hubs to face a lengthy lecture from someone across the Pond who is so obviously the exact opposite of me.

      I did not insult you but note your comments include borderline insults.

      Thanks but I do not need a Trump supporter to set me straight on my country’s politics.

      I do not know you correct.

      And you do not know me.

      I have shared my opinions and knowledge. I actually worked for the NHS 14 years before retirement.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      The last Labour Party manifesto can easily be found online. The current leadership manifesto pledge was “for the many not the few”

      That says a lot to me.

      I would never dream of trying to educate a right wing American Trump supporter.

      But check out the manifesto if you are interested. It includes ambitious plans to protect our NHS, build affordable homes and much more.

      The social security safety has been removed, rebranded a welfare handout. That alone causes obvious problems

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      I forgot to mention Waiting For God, Fawlty Towers, Keeping up appearances, Ted, and Father Ted are some of my favorite British Comedies. I know they are old but that is why we have You Tube:)


    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Really? Some would say that was the case here in the U.K. I guess. Me I am retired, married many years, he is now retired too, we own our home and are not well of as such but do OK. But I was raised in relative poverty playing on local bomb sites left over from the Blitz of WWII. I remember how tough life can be and how many people are a heartbeat away from physical or mental ill health or hard times. Perhaps I will try to write on this again.

      But as I say I am a lefite through and through

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hi Don I agree it is interesting to read and learn about another country’s politics. I am perhaps just an old cynic but hey I am what I am

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Liz.

      I initially supported Andy Burnham. Went to a local hustings and knew little of Corbyn. Thought JC was too old and I say that as someone almost same age. But Jeremy has impressed me many times in the last couple of years. However I fear he may never be P.M.

    • hard sun profile image

      Don Shepard 

      2 years ago

      Interesting. I've found I enjoy learning more about British politics. Unfortunately, egos and those who have not desire to do their fair share get in the way in too many human endeavors.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      My daughter joined the labour party as a student so she could vote in a leadership election. She wanted Andy Burnham as leader, but it wasn't to be. Although he seems to be doing a good job in Manchester. It hasn't been a good summer for Jeremy Corbyn. Maybe he can get the labour party back on track at the party conference.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for reading and commenting

      Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minster has some reality in those who pull the strings but it merely scratches the surface though makes for funny viewing.

      For me Laour has always been the party that will help the poor and vulnerable and benefit the many not the few but somewhere along the line it lost sight of that.

      I guess I am old school with party loyalites and have never been a flip flop voter switching sides at a whim.

      But my point re party membership is it opens your eyes to the negative side of your own politicis and has left me questioning British politics. It has almost made me understand why some people fail to vote

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      My knowledge of British politics comes from Yes, Minister, and Yes, Prime Minister.

      Notwithstanding that limited and TV knowledge, I think that being a party member of any party misses the real voting which would be for the best candidate. You started your article with your winning selection by voting for an independent.

      And that is the point I am trying to make here. Voting shouldn't be and us and them, it should be what is best for the country be it Britain, or the US.

      Both of these countries have but one group that legislates for the country. And when that legislature turns into a failure, it doesn't matter which party failed because the failure exists for the country.

      It appears, that the two parties in Britain mirror the two parties in the US. That means that there are not two sport teams in their legislative body, and we don't root for the party like we do for a sport team. Although that is exactly what party members do, but that isn't the best for the country.

      The dominant two party system is like a kids see saw, when one side is up the other side is down. That means the side that is up is pushing what the other side had done and puts it down. The two party system should have a better paradigm than a see saw. A hand railroad cart would be a better paradigm. The cart moves forward when both sides move the handle.



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