POLITICAL parties desperately need to get a life. And party life should be rewarding for members. Mainstream Westminster parties have become divorced from most people’s lives, commitments, leisure activities and interests.
Most political party life now involves a tiny number of MPs, councillors and activists. Too often, ordinary members are restricted to sitting through dull procedural meetings, delivering leaflets on behalf of councillors and MPs, and door-knocking to conduct election surveys.
The narrowing of political activity and activists has sadly gone on for years.
GRASSROOTS PARTY LIFE IS ESSENTIAL
The closure of many Conservative, Liberal and Labour social clubs is just one example of how political parties have reduced their grassroots connections. In the past, these social clubs were hubs in their communities with bars, dinner-dances, games and meetings. Clubs allowed ordinary people to loosely identify with a political cause, meet like-minded neighbours and become more politically active if they wished.
Other factors in the decline of political activism have included restrictions on trade unions, which traditionally offered political education and opportunities to ordinary working people; the loss of local council powers, and the rise of career MPs, career councillors and professional advisers.
Furthermore many people are turned-off modern politics by the antagonistic language and style of Westminster debates, hostile media and hostile journalists, and the increased focus on party ‘leaders’ rather than collective responsibility.
So the Regional Party wants to establish new ways, and perhaps revive some old ways too, in which people can engage with politics.
INTERESTING MEETINGS & EVENTS
Local branch meetings must be interesting and engaging, and held in good venues. But the Regional Party wants to get involved with other events too. Overall, the Regional Party aims to develop a broad social and cultural life.
These are very challenging times and England is deeply divided in many ways. Nonetheless it is also important for a serious political organisation to be able to engage in lighter social and community activities – and enjoy the good times too.
For example, the Regional Party could get involved with small and large gatherings, festivals, fetes and shows. Sports, games and outdoor activities may also offer potential opportunities for supporting, sponsoring or volunteering?
Similarly the Regional Party could organise or support events linked to art, design, architecture, science, technology, local history, music, theatre or dance – including raves or tea dances! The list is endless.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBERS
Education should also be a vital part of our work. Any political party that is serious about improving the lives of ordinary working people must promote education opportunities for all, throughout life. Due to our unfair and rigid education system, millions of people have very little knowledge history, politics, economics, social sciences, humanities and arts.
On this note, it is a disgrace that libraries and local museums across England have closed or face uncertainty because of government cuts. Hundreds of venues have been closed by hard-up councils. Important museums have also had cuts or are threatened. Local museums and libraries must be protected and invested in for the future.
England’s regions have a wealth of culture and history, urban and rural, old and new that the party will engage with. By organising and supporting a wide range of activities, the Regional Party will become an appealing, lively organisation which will hopefully benefit English politics and the lives of many people and communities.
The Regional Party will:
- Connect with existing community life, cultural, education, sport and recreational events.
- Initiate and promote additional community, cultural, education, sport and recreational events that support its objectives.
- Promote awareness and knowledge of political, social and industrial history, political and economic theories, humanities, science, technology, the arts and media.
- Promote awareness of and commemorate key dates and events in English social life and history.
- Break down the divides between town and country, and promote awareness of natural history, the outdoors, farming, nature and rural affairs.
Get a life – join the Regional Party.