Hamida Ali, a labour activist and member of the Waddon Labour Action Team, talks about the challenge in Croydon.
In Croydon, Labour has run the council for only a narrow slice of its history. The campaign for the next council elections in 2014 is now in sight following the Greater London Assembly elections in which Labour won the vote in Croydon for the first time. More significantly perhaps, Labour won the vote in Waddon – a marginal ward that has swung between the Tories and Labour over time and where a win could make Croydon a Labour council once more.
Yet we see growing levels of mistrust in politicians in general where people increasingly think that politicians are all the same, break their promises, are in it for themselves and that who you vote for makes no difference. Getting back to our campaigning roots couldn’t be more important to help overcome this disillusionment and is our only pathway back to power.
Against the trend Labour Party membership has grown since the last general election which has also meant new members for Waddon – yet too often within the Labour Party we don’t always get to know all our members or the extent of their professional and life experience. Plus the way we tend to work can be so off-putting to people who joined the party to talk about politics – rather than the minutes…
As an active member of the Waddon Labour Action Team I’m really excited that Movement for Change’s Verity Taylor has come to Waddon. We want to know more of our members and engage them in a way that taps into their drive to make a difference.
We’re at the start of our journey with Movement for Change. So far we’ve mapped the membership across the ward and we’re kicking off in the area where most members live and interestingly where we’ve spent less time. Verity’s met some members to find out more about what motivates them and what they think needs doing in the ward. On Saturday, Verity’s leading a training session for members in Croydon including Waddon. Two days later we’re bringing Waddon members together to get to know each other better and to table the issues they’ve already raised and to get cracking on tackling them.
Starting a conversation with our members focused simply on getting to know each other and finding out from them what they think needs to be done sounds like a good place to start our journey and I’m looking forward to seeing where the road will take us.