Posts Tagged ‘campaigning’

The campaign to keep Britain in the EU is predictable, condescending and by-the-numbers

10/02/2016, 03:27:13 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Those hoping that Britain remains a member of the European Union following June’s expected referendum unquestionably now have a fight on their hands. The polls are jittery, with most showing the country is finely balanced over the question of whether or not to quit the EU. It’s all to play for.

Unfortunately, the campaign to galvanise the country behind the simple proposition that our best bet for a stable and prosperous future is to remain a member of the EU hardly seems equal to the challenge.

Or, to be more specific, the official ‘remain’ campaign, Britain Stronger In Europe, is a predictable, condescending, by-the-numbers, flat-pack, top-down, Westminster-standard, one-size-fits-all affair that risks ushering Britain out of the EU due to its all-purpose dreariness.

I enter into evidence its chairman, Lord Stuart Rose. The Tory peer and former CEO of Marks and Spencer was caught out the other week, unable to correctly remember the name of the campaign group he’s supposed to be leading.

All rather embarrassing but hardly surprising given ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ is the kind of instantly forgettable blandishment we have come to expect from the pro-European aisle in British politics.

He may be business class royalty, but Lord Rose has little feel for political campaigning, grandly claiming he is set to win “by a substantial margin” while describing the EU as “maddening…bureaucratic…and sluggish.”

With such a ringing endorsement it’s a good job he used to sell knickers and not holidays.

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Eagle promises to learn from “heart-breaking” election defeat as she launches bid for deputy leader

18/05/2015, 01:54:24 PM

Angela Eagle has become the fifth Labour MP to launch a bid for the party’s deputy leadership.

The Wallasey MP and former chair of the party’s National Policy Forum, said Labour had suffered “a heart-breaking election defeat.”

It was all the more painful because “the scale of it had not been anticipated.” Labour had, she said, “endured a total political and strategic failure.”

Eagle, a former pensions minister under Gordon Brown and shadow Leader of the House under Ed Miliband, launched her campaign in a video, featuring party members endorsing her candidacy.

She joins Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw in her bid to succeed Harriet Harman.  One candidate fewer (so far) than the last deputy leadership contest in 2007.

Promising to be a “campaigning deputy” and “brutally honest about what went wrong,” Ms. Eagle said Labour needed to hear the views both of ordinary party members, but also those who did not support the party.

“I will also ensure we have a no holds barred debate about the way forward for our Party both politically and organisationally. This must be followed by robust action to learn the hard lessons and ensure that we are fit to win the many battles which lie ahead” she said.

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Oi journalists! Stop complaining about MPs tweeting campaign pics. It’s called democracy and it’s great

20/01/2015, 05:11:28 PM

by Ian McKenzie

There is currently a deep and widening fracture between the British people and their political parties, apparently. The chasm is so big that the political party as a concept is in terminal decline. The main two parties are in particular danger because their joint share of the national vote has fallen dramatically in the last 6 decades: it’s all over now, baby blue and baby red.

These assertions have become truths all but universally acknowledged; it’s all a bit boring really.

People do not join parties in large numbers any more. The electorate has slammed its doors on the main parties after saying “you are all the same”. People feel alienated and disenfranchised, believing that politicians are only in it for themselves and only come round at election times when they want votes and are nowhere to be seen during the rest of the electoral cycle. Yada yada yada.

I know all this because I’ve read it, and endlessly repeated variations of it, in newspapers and on Twitter.

It’s pervasive: explicit in opinion columns and covert in the news. The articles are written by political journalists and others and then tweeted and re-tweeted by them and their colleagues. These reports of widespread disconnection from the political process usually include expressions of regret; the demise of the parties is often celebrated. The theme is usually the same “you politicians had it coming, you’ve taken the electorate for granted for decades, the system’s broken and it’s your fault, you feckless, lazy reprobates.”

But the last couple of years have seen a little twist: Twitter has gone mainstream and not just in Westminster either. Hundreds of MPs and thousands of activists, in most constituencies, have continued doing what they have been doing for decades, knocking on doors and staying in touch with electors, only now they are doing it on Twitter.

In fact, Twitter has helped motivate and mobilise activism. Any Labour organiser will tell you there’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure and leading by manifest example to get people off their sofas and onto doorsteps. These days, hundreds of MPs, even those who once swore they would never stoop so low, and their campaign teams post thousands of tweets from, say, Acacia Avenue. We know it’s Acacia Avenue because the team is usually snapped in front of the road sign.

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Revealed: Party bosses open way for big money to dominate parliamentary selections with unlimited candidate mailings

22/07/2013, 07:33:22 AM

by Atul Hatwal

New guidance from party bosses has transformed the basis of Labour’s parliamentary candidate selections. Previously, candidates and their campaign teams had operated on the basis of a strict limit of three mailings to party members during a selection contest.

Now, it seems there is no limit on the number of times a candidate can mail members, as long as the mailings are supplied by endorsers. These endorsers could be unions, businesses, voluntary groups or individuals.

The Labour party’s rules governing parliamentary candidate selection were apparently water tight,

“2.4 Each candidate may produce for general distribution

  • one printed leaflet or letter no larger than A4, delivered plain or in an envelope
  • two items, each no larger than a double sided A3 page. If any item is delivered in an envelope it may consist of (at a maximum) 2 A4 sheets of paper rather than a single A3 sheet.”
  • Third party endorsers were allowed to supply mailings to the candidate for distribution to members, but these were previously thought to count as one of the three candidate mailings.

    However, a clarification from Alan Olive, regional director for the London Labour party reveals that the strict limit on mailings is not so strict after all.

    Queries were raised by candidates in a recent selection on the numbers of mailings allowed, following one candidate sending four mailings.

    Uncut has seen e-mail correspondence with the London Labour regional director which makes clear that the number of mailings is unlimited, as long as they are from an endorser. The key part of Alan Olive’s e-mail states,

    “That’s correct. A third party may produce whatever they like although they don’t have the membership details to enable delivery. Candidates cannot pass membership data on but of course a third party could give you their mailing including stamps, for you to attach membership labels and post.”

    The revelation that candidates can have de facto unlimited mailings would seem to contradict the intent of Ed Miliband’s recent speech on one nation politics. As well as announcing a reform of Labour’s relationship with the unions, Miliband dealt with fairness in the parliamentary candidate selection process, stating,

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    We can topple Clegg in Sheffield Hallam

    01/07/2013, 12:57:18 PM

    by Oliver Coppard

    Last Monday I was selected as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam. As you may know, our current MP is the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, who holds the seat with a 19,000 vote margin over Labour. The Labour party has never won in Sheffield Hallam and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me I’m crazy for believing we can win here. The question I was most frequently asked in the round of interviews that followed on Tuesday was ‘but can you really win it? But, really?’.

    As I write this we have 677 days to overcome that 19,000 vote deficit, but I wouldn’t have taken the challenge on if I didn’t think it could be done.

    Nick Clegg has been a disaster for Sheffield. He doesn’t live here or even spend very much time here. He broadcasts his weekly radio show on LBC in London. His government has cut the city’s budget by £50 million just this year, and last week they have announced yet more real terms cuts to the pay of public sector workers who make up 20% of the city’s workforce. Nick Clegg is an absentee landlord who has done nothing for the people who live in this constituency or this city.

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    On the frontline for Obama: fear and campaigning in Las Vegas

    02/11/2012, 07:00:26 AM

    by Fran O’Leary

    The first thing that struck me when I walked into the Obama office on East Charleston Boulevard was the friendliness, warmth and inclusiveness, amid the frenetic campaign activity.  It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what generates this buzz, but it’s there in each smile and each wave as grassroots activists congratulate each other on the numbers of doors they’ve knocked on.

    It’s there as people trade campaign stories from the streets and volunteers share pizza.  It’s there as activists and their kids sign their names, and write positive messages of support, on the paper that covers the entrance wall.

    In stark contrast to Vegas’ lavish casinos, where every element of the experience – from scented air conditioning to security – is tightly controlled, there is a real sense that this place belongs to the grassroots. Everyone here has an important role to play.

    The people in this neighbourhood – Clark county state senate district 8 – face a serious threat if Obama loses the election.  This battle is theirs and the stakes are high.  Unemployment stands at around 12% in Clark county as a whole, which is Democrat leaning overall, and the median income in Las Vegas is around $39k.

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    Another country, another campaign room: lessons from the US mid terms?

    29/10/2010, 09:00:46 AM

    by Dave Roberts

    I spent the spring working on Jim Knight’s valiant but ultimately doomed campaign to hold Dorset South for Labour. Then summer saw me on the Ed Balls leadership campaign. Equally valiant. Equally doomed. Now, with the US mid term elections only a few days away, I’ve taken flight from grey and damp Britain for the campaign trail in sunny South Florida. I am working in the area stretching along Florida’s south east coast from Fort Lauderdale northwards, where the incumbent Democratic Congressman, Ron Klein, is facing a huge challenge from former army Colonel and Tea Party favourite, Allen West.

    I want to understand how the Democrats organise on the ground, and to see if there is anything that Labour could learn. Many in the UK have written about the Obama election. Yet few have looked at how the more humdrum mid-term elections are organised. In many ways, though, it is these elections – especially at a congressional district level – that have more in common with a British general election. These elections are numerous, local and personal. They are often contested against a backdrop of national issues and questions over the national leadership, for which the candidate has little or no responsibility, but will be held accountable. (more…)

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    David Prescott on a crowdsourced “shadow communications agency” for the new age

    25/09/2010, 10:30:40 AM

    So we’re more than £20 million in debt. £16m in the red with a further £11m in loan repayments.

    Short money of £4.5m a year will help the shadow cabinet and their spads with their transition from government to opposition, but we won’t be able to touch a penny of it for party campaigning or reducing the debt.

    So Labour’s going to have to think smarter and, well, cheaper if it’s going have any impact against the Tory-Lib Dem government.

    But here’s the good news – campaigning isn’t expensive as it used to be.

    Take our Go Fourth campaigns against RBS, that private members bill against the minimum wage and abolishing NHS Direct. (more…)

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    Monday News Review

    02/08/2010, 08:09:57 AM

    Labour likes an idealist; but it hates being in opposition even more

    And David Miliband, the man in pole position? He looks relaxed in an open-necked blue shirt. But he is sombre, statesmanlike, low-risk. There are no sound-bites, promises or grand gestures. Instead he warns the party that it could be out of power for ‘a long time’, and needs to pick a credible alternative prime minister to take the fight to the Tories. The coded message is simple: this is no time for an idealist. We’ve been here before, and we don’t want to make the same mistakes. Follow your head and not necessarily your heart. It is a tough, pragmatic argument. But it is one that just might work. Labour likes an idealist; but it hates being in opposition even more. – Manchester Evening News

    Text campaigning first

    Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband said tonight he had recruited 1,300 potential campaign volunteers in 24 hours in an Obama-style two-way text message drive. His campaign team claimed the mobile marketing exercise was a first for British politics. Miliband’s team sent thousands of text messages to Labour party members through data supplied to all candidates by the party and instead of just sending a message, asked for a response. About half of the recipients replied, of whom 45% said they were supporting the former energy secretary. – The Guardian

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    Nick Palmer on how to mobilise the army of the unaffiliated

    25/05/2010, 08:41:07 AM

    This is a really good time to be recruiting new members – indeed, people seem to be recruiting themselves. In Broxtowe alone, we’ve had a couple of dozen newcomers who signed up entirely spontaneously after the election. People who left us a while back are putting Iraq behind them, dismayed by the change of government and seeing us as the only anti-Tory game in town.

    That’s great – a core of party activists is absolutely essential. But we also need a strategy for involving people who don’t, for whatever reason, want to join. Being a member of a political party is unfashionable, seen by many as rather like joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses: it doesn’t make you a bad person, but many people think it’s not very cool. We can deplore that but we need to recognise it. And it’s not just us – Tory membership has been falling, even in the year up to the election that they expected to win.

    I was MP for Broxtowe from 1997 until three weeks ago. Broxtowe, a mixture of towns and villages west of Nottingham, is traditional Tory territory and the demographics are changing against us, with more and more prosperous commuter housing. In 1992, the last close-run General Election, they won it by a 14% (10,000 votes) margin. This year, they won it by just 0.7% (389 votes), with a swing since 2005 of 2.6%, one of the lowest in England. We lost, but seemingly we’ve still been doing something right. (more…)

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