Posted by: John | May 23, 2008

7 lessons from Crewe

Having read other comments ranging from it’s all getting better to let’s watch out my own view is Danger!

First, the 14% is neither here nor there – loads of our supporters voted Tory to give Brown a good kicking. Our vote held up due to a lot of new people coming on board.

For those who are in charge now of these campaigns i have to say a few things:

1. The campaign was old-fashioned. We need to get beyond the `business as usual` Focus leaflet politics and start being a lot smarter. Simply blitzing whole areas with five leaflets and three glossies all over such a diverse constituency is madness. I’d like to know what the ratio of delivery was to door-knocking. A major guru tried to explain what were in the minds of the campaign team`deliver everywhere as we don’t know where would be good for us`. Hello – a five year old could tell you the villages around Nantwich would hardly be great territory and that it would make sense to fight harder in the Labour areas. There’s only so much mileage you can get from Post Offices and 10p – we have to disagree with people and be controversial.

2. There is simply no point in continuing to campaign in high tory areas without saying at least what our narrative is. We need to take the fight to the Tories in these areas with the developing narrative of fair taxation for lower and middle income earners, remedying our ailing democracy with true devolution (getting the Government off the backs of local councils etc) by tearing down the edifice of the Laborocracy of vested interests that gets nothing done and halts change. What Nick said on Tue possibly pulled up another 2% (ie about 700 votes). That’s the Nick for whom I voted!

3. We need to press Labour hard in as many of their erstwhile areas as possible. They are down and out but there is a narrative we’re presenting that cuts through the left/right debate.

4. There is a definite need to scrutinise the Tories and state how we’d be different. When they don’t provide an answer we say so.

5. Isn’t it time we really tackled the media head on and their biased reporting – I’m talking about the crap way Lynne was treated on the by-election special show. Do we actually stand up for US with the BBC? Is there an officer in Cowley St that is solely responsible for shouting down the phone the way the other parties do? The same way we want to change the system we must fight to change the outdated media system. Let’s have fair reporting ALL the time not just at elections.

6. It’s time to be innovative and crisper with our literature – for example, a focus with a giant 10p the reverse would have in big letters Conservatives Voted Against – ask them why! Then we say what our SOLUTIONS are.

7. In short now is the time to be brave – brave policies, brave tackling of the media, brave literature. Let’s regain that fighting spirit and become the warriors we once were and, in some places, still are!



  1. I agree 100% about the lack of canvassing. Went to Romsey and was mightily surprised that in the five days I spent there I went conavassing just once and elivered the same street nearly three times !

    When I asked acout the canvass data and how it looked someone told me that we hadn’t done that much ????

    Surely by-elections are won on the canvassing and the targetted message. You are right, we need to campaign much smarter.

  2. I agree with all – except possibly point 5. I’m with Clegg there – these people are never going to like us. Literally, the prejudice is appalling. There’s just no telling them. We can only ovecome the national media problem by performing well in other communication media – and many of your suggestions are excellent for that. I can’t even imagine the shock that would be caused if we ran a national campaign of a level of sophistication similar to, say, an Apple ad (we’re basically the political equivalent of advanced tech – ooh, I feel a post coming on).

    As it happens, I have this week fired off a “the media are shit and I’m fed up with it” rant to Comment is Free. Which has yet to appear. Hm. I’ll let you know…

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