Posts Tagged ‘richard Angell’

Four women who could make the difference for any Labour leadership campaign

14/05/2015, 04:44:18 PM

by Richard Angell

The race for the Labour leadership is now under way. Much of it, as it has in recent days, will be fought out under the media spotlight. That is entirely right: the ability to perform well before the television cameras is crucial for any would-be leader of the opposition.

Moreover, especially now that the leadership contest will – for the first time – rightly provide an opportunity for those who support Labour, but are not members, to participate, it is vital that the public get to see the men and women who want to be the country’s prime minister in 2020.

But a winning leadership campaign is not just about having a smart media strategy. Organisation – the ability to put in place the infrastructure to engage with the members and supporters who will be choosing Labour’s next leader – is absolutely key.

Many party activists will, no doubt, be signing up in the days and weeks ahead to help elect the person they think best placed to lead Labour to victory in five years’ time. There are, however, four outstanding women who any leadership contender should want at the heart of their campaigns.

Caroline Badley’s role in organising the campaign that helped Gisela Stuart retain Birmingham Edgbaston – one of the Tories’ top target seats in 2010 – is now legendary. Last week, she helped Gisela do it again: doubling Labour’s majority in a seat which, until 1997, was the Conservatives’ Birmingham bastion. At the same time, Caroline was also running the effort to oust Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming from nearby Birmingham Yardley. Despite being up against a millionaire and facing vicious personal abuse, Jess Phillips took the seat on a swing of nearly 12 per cent. Caroline’s experience is, moreover, in no way confined to Birmingham: she’s worked with MPs, including Jon Cruddas in Dagenham and Yvette Cooper in Yorkshire, on their community outreach strategies.


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Four ways Labour can step up a gear

01/06/2012, 02:53:23 PM

by Richard Angell and Alex White

So now we know: the Labour party fightback is winning arguments and elections, and we have the hardest-working and most committed activists. A total of 824 councillors gained in last month’s local elections is the best of starts.

But there is still room for improvement. Ed Miliband’s speech to the Progress conference outlined a desire to change and a plan to get out and speak to voters. He should carry that through with other measures while the party is doing well – sitting back is not an option.

Next year we do it all over again for the county council elections, and Ed has the perfect opportunity to really strengthen his hand. Here are five ideas for aiding that step-change in those results and putting us on track for 2015.

1. Start campaigning early

First, we need to be clear about the battleground. The leader’s office has a clear role to play in setting this focus.  It should distribute a list of PPCS who have already been selected to all MPs (policy advisers, party affiliates and friendly groups might also be included). Our parliamentarians and shadow cabinet should then focus should on organising campaigning and policy visits, helping with fundraising and organise phonebanking and other acts of solidarity from their own area.

In the seat where we already have Labour candidates fighting in a sea of blue, they need all hands on deck. Second, a list of swing marginals should be drawn up so MPs can get deep into Tory territory and start winning these constituencies before we even have a candidate in place. Each seat should have a detailed plan for funding, campaign days and staff. Labour groups such as Progress, Movement for Change and the Fabians could be helpful additions to capacity on the ground.

2. Twin boroughs and sitting MPs with key southern and eastern seats

Second, considering all the support that was focused on London for the 2012 mayoralty, in 2013 – a fallow election year in London – those 32 London borough parties should be twinned with each of the 35 south-eastern, south-western and eastern seats we lost in 2010. All of this with the sole focus of winning back much-needed county council seats in marginals that will decide who is in government after 2015.


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