Looking forward to looking back

In eight days’ time is polling day, and in nine days’ time starts the analysis on how it went. Each party will be looking at how well, or badly, they have done and examining their respective campaigns (as well as, perhaps, looking at what their opponents did). Some will see this as the commencement of recriminations, a chance to blame poor results on whoever is the particular hate-figure of the moment. Some will seek acclaim for successes. Others, and I hope I am one of the, will attempt a dispassionate appraisal of performance, policies, and the polling.

Looking back on the campaign so far for Labour in Southend-on-Sea I can say I am reasonably pleased with how things have gone. I do not have the benefit of foresight in making this judgement, and sometimes the quality of the campaign does not match up with the reality of the actual results. You can only do your best. We hope for gains next Thursday but ultimately the electorate decides.

I am not about to claim a perfect campaign, but given the resources available it is difficult to imagine it going much better. Of course I would have liked more resources – money and people – and the political environment we are operating in is beyond our control. Oh for a less biased media and better polling.

Let’s have a look at different strands of the campaign.

Message: Since we are the only local party that produces a manifesto then it goes without saying that we claim to have the best promise for the town. The jumble that constitutes what the other parties are promising is neither clear nor coherent.

Candidates: We have the youngest team, and we have one of just three full slates for the borough. I think are blessed with high morale, lots of energy, and set a high benchmark in terms of calibre of candidate. A minor criticism would be that I would have preferred more females, and we had no disabled or minority ethnic candidates. None of Labour’s candidates (Margaret Borton aside) are jumping the gun and describing themselves as councillors, and the four former borough councillors are seeking election and not re-election; our candidates to not practise deception.

Leaflets: We broke no rules – which set us apart from the Tories and Independents. I think ours had the clearest messages, and we did not pretend to be something we were not. You always wonder whether you could have delivered more, and this is a fine judgement in the days of increasing exasperation from residents as to the amount of unsolicited material popping through their letterboxes.

Web presence: The Lib Dem presence is weak, the Independents worse, the Tories poor. I am sure some will find this arrogant but I sincerely believe we are streets ahead of the opposition here.

Posters: Gone are the days when the town was a forest of garden boards. To be honest it is a mixed and somewhat indifferent picture. It looks like Labour just edges the Independents in terms of numbers. The Lib Dems have a few out, as do UKIP. Hands up if you have seen a Conservative poster …

On the doorstep: The most difficult to judge. The three main parties are certainly out and about, whereas UKIP are almost invisible. This election will be a test of how successful you can be without doing very much as far as the anti-EU party is concerned.

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4 Responses to Looking forward to looking back

  1. James says:

    I doubt any candidate has knocked on more doors than myself. I doubt anyone has worked harder or had a much better campaign team. The challenge of busy fools versus strategic and targeted may be said come next Friday. We shall see. The UKIP result will not give the answer to a result based on no campaigning.

  2. James: I reckon I can claim to have knocked on more doors. I also wonder what you mean by ‘busy fools’ – are you suggesting it is wrong to try to speak to everyone?

  3. James says:

    NO, I would encourage you to visit the East of the town as often as you can and speak to as many people as you can. It would be very helpful.

  4. If you had not noticed I represent a ward in the east of the town (from a Parliamentary perspective anyway). I already speak to as many as I can.

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