Bittersweet victory?

21 June 2017

L.A., from South London explains how members took their confidence into winning campaigns in marginal seats

EARLY ON in the election campaign, our local Labour Party branch officers held a meeting to discuss coordinating efforts from our ward.

We had invited members who wanted to come and there were about a dozen or more of us all told, about half-half members to officers. We were informed that since our constituency was safe, members were to campaign in a neighbouring constituency where a slim majority was under threat from the Lib Dems. The MP there had been openly critical of Jeremy Corbyn and would go on to distinguish “his brand of Labour” from Corbyn’s just days before the election.

It was then that one of the members mentioned a marginal, a little further afield, that looked winnable. New members were keen to fight for the winnable seat. Longer established officers, most of them Corbyn-sceptics, preferred us to defend our neighbour. Even while our Chair insisted that we stick with the campaign events our CLP had assigned to us, a sign-up sheet was passed around for those who wanted more information on campaigning in the marginal.

In the end that marginal was won handily, like a number of other constituencies around the country, by the activity of hundreds members on the left who believed in Corbyn, were committed to socialist policies and who had the ambition to persuade people in areas that the party machine were happy to forget.

We were proved right on 8 June and we will be proved right again, more emphatically, soon enough.

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