My partner, Freya, and I joined Labour in 2015 following Jeremy Corbyn’s nomination for Leader. We were enthused by his passion for a Party where member participation was encouraged as central to the Party’s goals: winning Government and making Britain a better place for the many and not the few.


We anticipated local members in Torbay would take up this challenge and come together, using the strength of numbers, taking collective action to change Torbay politics and improve the well-being of Torbay residents; and, in particular, the poor and disenfranchised.


Each year I’ve begun with optimism, sharing ideas on how this collective power might be realised. Each year, I’ve been disappointed. Probably less than 40 of the 600 plus members have taken active roles in the Branches or the Constituency.


Will 2019 be different? Based on the past 3 years, my optimism is tested.


Let me explain again the power of numbers, of collective action. For example, if 500 members invested £5/month [£60 for the year] in a local Labour based “cooperative” then that “cooperative” could open two café/hubs [one in Paignton and one in Torquay]; known for the best ‘coffee and cakes’ in Torbay, a friendly and lively atmosphere, promoting Labour and Union ideals 7 days a week in a known location, promoting other groups like SOHS and FACT, providing a base for our ‘candidates’ to hear resident issues [and take collective action where it can help].


I believe that such a “cooperative” can be self-supporting with six months of opening; and can expand into other avenues supporting the Torbay community.


Why a “cooperative”? A. Managed by Labour members/supporters, but independent of Labour Party ‘organisation’ and associated rules. B. The Labour Party has a formal associate relationship with The Cooperative Party, who would help us. [Our Shadow Chancellor is a strong advocate of “cooperatives”; highlighting what we as members could achieve, even before winning Government].


Last October/November Labour Torquay Branch failed to get a quorum to elect new officers. The Torquay Branch Meeting on 16 January at 7pm in Endeavour House gives you another chance. I urge you to step forward, take control and as a team working with Paignton Branch, make 2019 the year when Labour makes its mark on Torbay.


Best wishes for 2019, John [Hough]

In France until March; but my hopes are with you.

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