Stephen Lloyd’s regular monthly column in The Volunteer carries this message to volunteers from all political parties: Without volunteers democracy would fold!
Without volunteers democracy would fold!
Now my heading seems a pretty strong statement and may surprise some of your readers but actually it’s a statement of fact. Locally in Eastbourne all the political parties rely heavily on their network of supporters across our town. And that’s true across the uk and across the democratic societies of the globe.
So what part do the volunteers play. Well speaking from my own perspective, they play a vital role across the whole structure. From folk coming in to stuff 70,000 envelopes for the election freepost you all receive, my missives are stuffed by hand and if you think about it – that’s an awful lot of people stuffing an awful lot of envelopes! Likewise the newsletters we deliver to your door. The vast majority of mine are hand-delivered by the 400 or so volunteers, old and young, from across Eastbourne and Willingdon. Then our canvassers. People who get out on the doorstep day after day spreading my message and those from the other candidates. All volunteers. All doing it because they want such and such a candidate to be their mp.
And not forgetting the folk who put up the poster boards, make the telephone calls, serve the hungry people who come in to help every day – all volunteers.
Even on the finances – I don’t have the benefit of multi-millionaire donors cascading vast sums down from a London HQ or even from the big Trade Unions; our money comes overwhelmingly from local people voluntarily stumping up money so that we can run a full-on election campaign. And it does take money believe you me. Locally over 700 people have supported my campaign this time. With their hard cash, which is quite astonishing. Both humbling and heartwarming, frankly.
As I said in my heading – Without volunteers democracy would fold – so without these fantastic people, across the political party’s, we’d all be the poorer because democracy would fail. And surely that’s something none of us would want.
In short, Volunteers are the foot-soldiers of our democracy. I’d even go so far as to say they are the activists who protect our freedoms, and without them tyranny beckons.
So a big thanks to all of you, whichever party or politician you support; I salute you.
Stephen Lloyd – MP for Eastbourne
The Volunteer – June edition