(Campaigning in Croydon Central on Saturday 20 May)
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I’ve been surprised by the number of people bringing up dislike of Corbyn on the doorstep. It’s usually older white men, raising issues about “weak leadership”, stuff straight from the media. Organisers have encouraged us to focus on the popular local MP, distancing the leadership. That’s not convincing, you can’t separate voting Labour from Corbyn. I’ve found moving over to policies is best.
Sheffield Momentum have organised phone-banking to get our members involved, with a good response. Some were already key to the campaigning in their constituencies; however, a fair number not been active in the Labour Party but are now keen to get involved during the election.
The leaflets we were giving out in Leeds West like in many areas talk about local issues and the candidate rather any national policies. From the leaflets you wouldn’t know that Labour has any policies like the £10 minimum wage or ending zero hour contracts. It mentions securing “Jobs for Local People”. But dies not talk about labours policies to end Zero Hour contracts. Hopefully this will improve as the manifesto comes out.
This campaign feels very similar to 2015. Meanwhile the campaign in neighbouring Leeds North West, for Alex Sobel seems to have grasped how different this election is. There are public training sessions for activists inside or outside the party to become campaigners. A range of tactics like stalls, student registration drives, socials, etc. The materials features Labour policies in an eye-catching way. It will be difficult to win this Lib Dem seat, but it shows how a more positive, open, exciting campaign can be run that will leave a foundation whatever the result.
I have been out canvassing in Evelyn Ward in Lewisham Deptford constituency four times. It is a solid Labour area where the turnout is often low. We have met some hesitancy on the doorstep from traditional Labour voters who have been confused by the media coverage and the anti-Corbyn campaign in the party. However,when we discuss the programme – £10 minimum wage, one million council houses, private companies out of the NHS, reversal of the cuts in schools budgets, and so on – we have found we are normally able to convince them to vote Labour again.
Battersea CLP’s Marsha de Cordova is one of the few left candidates standing in south London. Labour is trying to overturn a nearly 8,000 strong Tory majority. Battersea was Labour between 1997-2010 but now the Tories are strengthening their position there.This is partly because the local demographic is changing, with “redevelopment” all contributing to richer people moving into the area who are squeezing out working-class voters.
Although huge resources are being poured into neighouring Tooting to save Rosena Allin Khan’s seat, Battersea is being left under-resourced. No doubt Marsha was selected as a sop to the left in a seat that the right didn’t think we could win. Let’s prove them wrong! Get in touch with @Marsha4Battersea on twitter or search “Marsha de Cordova for Battersea” on Facebook.