Each year Progress organises a political weekend full of workshops, seminars and plenaries with Labour’s front bench and leading progressive thinkers. Held at the NUT’s Stoke Rochford Hall, the event has become a regular feature in the Labour political calendar. This year’s political weekend is coming up on 12 and 13 March. To apply for a bursary applicants were asked to write 500 words on:
‘Moderate and modernising members are leaving the Labour party, feeling they no longer belong. Write a letter to a friend in the Labour party who is considering leaving arguing why they should stay in the party we love.’
If you would like to donate towards a bursary to allow someone to attend who may not otherwise be able to please call us on 020 3435 9854 or email richard[at]progressonline.org.uk.
Tickets are still available on our website – book your place online now.
In response to your question, no I do not think that you should leave the party. I have to admit that I too have thought to leave at points myself, but I thought of it like this. We want the Labour party to be there and trust that it has always withstood changes and challenges so what difference will leaving make? But it has withstood past storms, both internal and external, because people have stayed. Think of it like a ship. The party is being bashed externally and to an extent internally. But the Labour party is just the framework – the boards of the ship as it where – the people are what keep it sailing, keep it from combusting, keep it from hitting that iceberg. You can get off, a life boat will be waiting. But do not take for granted leaving that ship. I beg of you, please do not take for granted that there will be a ship to come back to.
There will be a Labour party, if there are people on the inside repairing the broken boards, knocking on those doors, talking to the press and to the people, staying to fight the good fight. Of course this is for the good of the Labour party, but the good of the party is also for the good of people.
You do not need me to say that the Labour party has done so much good for so many people. You know about the Disability Act – that has enabled people to be safe from discrimination at work; free museum admission – enabling all of society to access the vibrant world of art and the important worlds past; and the focus to reduce child poverty when in government. We all need the Labour party, and we all need you in the Labour party.
I know it is hard. I know it feels as though the waves are too strong, and to top it all off there are some in the ship who would rather fix the coffee machine than focus on steering it to sensible waters, but leaving is not the answer. You have so many people who are with you and who will stand beside you when you feel like leaving. Call us, trust me you will have so many saying they know where you are coming from. You do belong, we all belong – we have always belonged. As have those who we may not agree with. They did not leave under past leaders and nor should we. We all love this party comrade (why else would we knock on doors in the cold and rain?) I hope you will stay and fight the good fight in the ship and not leave for the stability of the shore. Although, I understand why you would, I hope that you see why you shouldn’t. We need you.
Yours in solidarity,
Ellie Groves is a Progress member