Like many members of the Labour Party I’ve always taken comfort in the knowledge that I’m part of a movement, not just a political party.
There are many people I know, some in commerce and executive jobs, who are in the Labour Party because at the start of their working lives, a trade unionist in their workplace convinced them to join. Some are now even employers but for them the retention of a party card is an expression of a desire to remain part of that great movement of Labour. Some may call this nostalgia and it is often dismissed by those who always wanted to break the link. Yet this force – solidarity – is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes Labour from say, the Lib Dems, the Tories or the SNP.
If this is the beginning of the end of that historic link, it is a very serious development that threatens a pillar of our democracy that has endured for over one hundred years. Some will scoff but they are fools to do so. That party card stands for something more than confirmation that an annual direct debit has been processed.
Over the next year we have been asked to consider a change to the constitution of the Labour party, though no detailed proposals have been revealed. I’m not opposed to reform but I will fight very hard to retain the fundamental link between the party and Labour movement.