The party with the personal touch

Like many of the 48% I woke up on the 24th June shocked and horrified by the news. Months later I realized I felt marginalized and disenfranchised. I had been a Labour supporter and voter all my life and felt the party was no longer representing my views.

I contributed (modestly) to Sarah Olney’s campaign and was emailed when she won with a link to the Lib Dem party and thought why not? They do actually represent my values and views. I signed up, a week later I received my membership pack and I thought great and forgt all about it. I’d done my bit, didn’t feel particularly engaged or good about it but hey.

A couple of weeks later I received a call from Malcolm Finlay a local member welcoming me to the party, asking questions about why I had joined? How much did I want to get involved? He explained I could do as little or as much as I wanted; no pressure. Malcolm told me about the monthly LibDem Pint and said I would be very welcome. Within weeks I was attending my 1st Lib Dem Pint, meeting and talking to likeminded, motivated people. At the weekend I joined fellow local members campaigning for EU Citizen’s rights in Kensington.

The personal touch has meant that I am now ‘involved’ not just a detached member of a large organization. Having spoken to my son, a recent member of the Labour party, where joining seems to be automated, our experience’s couldn’t be more different.

I can’t stress enough how important the personal touch is, I will now be an active member of the party. I look forward to telephone canvassing for the up coming by-elections, supporting the party in any way I can.

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10 Comments

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 24th Jan '17 - 2:41pm

    I think you’re right, that something that the Libdems do well, and should be renowned for doing “The party with the personal touch.” which is very important for the community and nation to hear about more widely.

    Thank you for sharing your experience too.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Jan '17 - 2:45pm

    Sushilla

    Welcome to our party , and to this excellent site ! You are going to be a real benefit to us with this approach. The personal touch is what should distinguish us , as in Liberal Democrats, and our emphasis on Liberalism and a Democracy now beyond social democracy , to embrace every aspect of it . You find, increasingly , amongst some of us who have made the journey in politics and continue to on this path, talk about and believe in, personal Liberalism. This is not libertarianism, but the view of the individual as uppermost in our thoughts, even when we put communities on our agenda as of the utmost importance .We are and should be a broad party , some want it more so, others less, but in my experience it is a very friendly party .

    I am interested to read your son recently joined the Labour party . I was in Labour as a youth and very young man, being of the Clegg age group and not a youngster, I think of those years as important imagining what motivates him. I was always on the moderate wing , so not a big jump to the Liberal Democrats well over a decade ago .Where does your son feel he is at in that party ? What drives him? Are you in agreement or disagreement much ?

    We need broad and welcome cross party conversations. Even with Tories at times !

  • Graham Martin-Royle 24th Jan '17 - 4:29pm

    When I joined I was welcomed by my local branch (Battle & Bexhill) & made to feel welcome immediately. It is this local touch which, i believe, keeps people in the party & gets them out campaigning. It’s the best way to get everyone involved.

  • I am very happy to hear that you’ve had a positive experience joining our party, Sushilla. We value each other very much, and your views can genuinely shape party policy, especially at our conferences. But don’t feel as though you have to go to them; Malcolm Finlay was right that you can do as little or as much as you’d like,

    Above all, remember that we really value you. We wouldn’t be anything without our members, as much of a cliché as that may be.

  • In fairness to Labour (a party which I have spent my life not joining) some 35 years ago it was actually quite difficult to join them! Many local parties in the North saw themselves as something you became part of through family or workmates and they were suspicious of somebody coming out of conviction. But that’s all history – well, almost. The important point for Lib Dems is that the party’s values should be reflected in the way it welcomes people.

  • Sushilla Done 25th Jan '17 - 7:01am

    Ted Logan, I will certainly be at the conference in September. I welcome the opportunity to get involved as much as possible.
    Lorenzo Cherin, I have to take some of the responsibility for my son joining the Labour party! I encouraged him to take a keen interest in politics and while he was living at home we were all Labour supporters. I have of course encouraged him to consider the Lib Dems but for the time being he’s a Labour man. I like to think if Corbyn continues his destruction of the party, he will re-consider. As a family we have and always will talk politics.

  • Welcome, Sushilla. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Not to say there aren’t a few local parties where they wouldn’t get round to welcoming you, but no-one is ever going to unwelcome you.

    I recall a local by-election long ago in East London, in pre-merger days. The canvassing team developed the habit of relaxing in a certain pub when the evening’s work was done (it used to be OK to door-knock up to 9 pm in those days). They were well into sharing stories of the evening, jokes and debates, when a small Irishman approached.

    “I’d like to buy you all a pint,” he said.

    “Well, thanks very much!” one activist replied. “Are you a Liberal?”

    “No, but I find your conversation stimulatin’.”

  • A warm welcome Sushilla 🙂

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Jan '17 - 2:35pm

    Sushilla

    Good to read your reply. TheDemcratic party in the USA, my wife’s country of origin, and the recently developed and formed Democratic party of Italy , where my father was from, would of course combine the Liberal Democrats and Labour , the latter to broad already and especially now, can you imagine it ?!

    I do believe if Ed illiband had not led that party, who was very antagonistic to our party in the coalition beyond the necessity of opposition at times, or , even later , if , say another leader , more moderate than Corbyn were now their leader, a progressive alliance would not be nonsense.

    Labour is more tribal. More than ever. There are intelligent voices otherwise there even on the left. By recent statements, Clive Lewis, springs to mind. But there is a bitterness and anger in Labour that goes beyond recent years and is worrying. I think it worth talking to your son , all of us doing so with those like him too.

  • William Ross 25th Jan '17 - 5:11pm

    Dear Sushilla

    Even though I am far from being a Remainer or a LIberal Democrat, I will make a point about this website. It is very good and allows open and constructive comment. It does not attract the vicious trolling so common on other sites.

    So you may even get some Brexit sense here from time to time!

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