A sorrowful resignation

My working life extended over 40 years and included both good and bad times. There were three or four occasions when I felt a real buzz. These were mainly a result of being part of an effective team: people respected each other; had a high regard for each other’s talents; and pulled together in a shared purpose. Some of these high-points came to an abrupt end – often through organisational disruption or a change of boss.

I’ve just had a similar experience in a voluntary organisation, the North Norfolk Constituency Labour Party. Our excellent Parliamentary Candidate, Denise Burke, surrendered the Chair at the October AGM. Under her leadership we had increased the Labour vote in this tough constituency from just under 3000 to just over 5000; we were a most effective team and performed well under very difficult circumstances. Denise was succeeded by someone who promised much but delivered nothing, and resigned within three months.

Since the General Election we have had a surge of new members and I wait to see if any of them are willing to take on the hard grind of leadership. Sadly I find myself in little sympathy with the political perspective of some of these members and have decided to finish after five years as Party Treasurer. I have taken this step with considerable regret since I have greatly enjoyed my involvement

My disquiet was reinforced by this e-mail from one of the new enthusiasts: an e-mail that was proudly circulated by the short-lived new Chair.

After being a Labour supporter most of my life I became increasingly disillusioned by Labour’s dismal slide into insincerity and pointlessness, finally abandoning Labour to join the Green Party a few months ago.  Since then, my respect for the Green Party has only grown, and I fully intended remain a member for the foreseeable future

But then the Labour Party did an unexpected and remarkable thing – they overwhelmingly elected one of the most progressive, principled and honest leaders imaginable, and it has given heart to many thousands of ex-Labour voters like myself.  Perhaps more importantly, the vision and integrity of Jeremy Corbyn has encouraged thousands of energetic and enthusiastic young people to join Labour. … It is therefore with some regret that I respectfully request to end my membership of the Green Party in order to become a member of the Labour Party, but I will of course return to the Green Party if Corbyn is toppled by his opponents within Labour and replaced by yet another Tory clone.

The author of this e-mail and I dwell on different planets. He probably considers me to be a Tory clone supporting insincere politics. Perhaps he will take on the responsibilities and the considerable amount of work that being a constituency officer entails. Perhaps not. For my part I will never leave the Labour Party that I joined over 50 years ago as a 16 year old. I remain a committed member and hope for better times.

Denise Burke Board in Cromer


2 thoughts on “A sorrowful resignation

    • Loyalty and commitment take time, investment and political education to generate. Martyn was just one highly loyal committee member who no doubt worked very hard, for many years, in selfless service to the party apparatus.

      That does not mean Martyn does not hold collective responsibility for the sorry state of the labour movement nationally and locally. If Martyn and his fellow generation of committee member made no provision for new generations to learn and reflect on labours core values, doctrines and principles and grow as competent and effective labour activists, then Martyn should hold himself responsible for the evey smaller nominal size of his local party under his tenure.

      Thankyou for your hard work. But more please.

      Hard work is not necessarily clever work and the work in social and political activism never ever ends. Martyn should know that, he seems to have enough years to have come to realise that.


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