in Birmingham, Politics

Gearing up for the local elections and finding my voice

As per usual, it’s been far too long since I last blogged. Despite regularly making promises to myself to lay off the social media and make more time for reflective thought. So here I am, better late than never. Here’s what I’ve been up to with Labour since the New Year.

Getting ready for the local elections

Since January, I’ve been increasingly busy campaigning with my local Bournville Labour Party, as we gear-up for all-out local elections in Birmingham this May.

In addition to going out pretty much every weekend to speak to voters on the doorstep, I’ve once again been heavily involved in the digital side of campaigning, too.

So far, this has involved me helping to set up and run social media accounts for the new ward of Bournville & Cotteridge, where my friend Cllr Liz Clements is standing for election alongside another very dedicated local campaigner, Fred Grindrod. I’ve also been providing digital support to our current Labour councillor, Mary Locke, who is standing in the new single councillor ward of Stirchley.

Twitter

Bournville & Cotteridge Labour – @LabBournville

Cllr Mary Locke – @marylockelabour

Cllr Liz Clements – @LizClements

Candidate Fred Grindrod – @fredgrindrod

Facebook

Bournville Labour Party – @BournvilleLabourParty

Bournville & Cotteridge Labour campaign page – @LabourBournville

Mary Locke for Stirchley – @MaryLockeStirchley

Connecting with members

As well as my work on social media, I’ve also set up WhatsApp groups to improve communication amongst regular volunteers. I’d previously established a group for members of the Executive and found that it was a useful tool for coordinating activities and discussion. Having a WhatsApp group makes it easy to send out gentle reminders and share interesting reads. It’s also come in handy when out door knocking, when we have been known to lose one or two of our team along the long.

I’m also proud of the work our new members, Lisa Field, has been leading to welcome new members and encourage them to get more involved in local activities. We’ve been calling new members to welcome them to the branch and this Friday Lisa will be hosting a new members’ evening this Friday (2 March) at Artefact cafe in Stirchley and will be holding similar events in future. I think we’re already a friendly and welcoming local party but there’s always more work to be done. Hopefully by giving more thought to how we welcome new members we can build a friendlier (and stronger) local party.

Keep left

As well as stepping up my practical efforts to support local campaigning, I’ve been making a concerted effort to be more confident about advocating for progressive policies and supporting candidates who wholeheartedly endorse the national Labour leadership and the Labour manifesto.

I’ve been doing this in a number of ways, including: canvassing for candidates like Liz Clements in Bournville & Cotteridge and Jo Shemmans in Bartley Green; speaking up for public ownership and worker co-ops as part of the Birmingham Labour manifesto consultation; and as a member of Selly Oak CLP ECC, working with my fellow Momentum South Birmingham members to achieve greater transparency and control over how decisions are made.

There’s still much more to do but I’m glad I am becoming more confident about speaking up for the policies and approach to politics that I believe in and taking steps to work with like-minded people to bring about changes in Birmingham.

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