Less than 3 months to go.


This weekend I attended some Labour campaign training. The best bit about it was hearing a comrade who works in the party’s Election Strategy Unit link our local efforts to the bigger picture.

Apparently the last few months have seen a sudden increase in the number of people not only joining the party but also going out knocking on doors for Labour up and down the country. This fella then highlighted all the quantitative evidence demonstrating that people are much more likely to vote for the party whose activists make face-to-face contact with them in the months before an election.

This is especially true amongst working-class voters, and Mr Election Strategy did not hesitate in saying that a lot of the party’s energy is going to have to be focused on motivating these people and making sure they get to the polls on May 6th.

He sounded very confident in declaring that the Conservatives are not going to break above 40%; that voter turnout is going to increase in this election; that Lord Ashcroft’s money isn’t a substitute for having enthused and committed activists going out canvassing; and that setting clear dividing lines between Labour and the Tory policy will rally more people to the red flag, so to speak (not his words but my interpretation!).

It all sounded very determined and it made me think that even if the prospects of Labour victory still seem very remote at least the party can put up a good fight and minimise any Tory majority in the Commons – if they’re lucky enough to get one at all!

However, I’m still concerned that:

a) This Election Strategy bloke working at Labour HQ had to admit that it was only an assumption that the general election would be held on May 6th. The Prime Minister could still make the slightly *CRAZY* decision to hold it on another date. Gordon’s decision-making has not always been great.

b) It seems that whilst election strategists working for Labour may recognise the importance of having some clear red water between us and the Tories, certain members of the Cabinet do not do a very good job of emphasising great distinctions between the parties. I’m thinking of people who are apparently horrified by the mooted ‘Labour investment versus Tory cuts’ strategy. Policy fudges and surrendering too much ground to the Tories on deficit reduction will make it difficult to present a clear message to our supporters.


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