Polling day has come round with remarkable speed. Elections are perceived to be about the women and men in the media spotlight, the debates and column inches. But I am proud and humbled by the brilliant campaign our supporters have been running all over London, a campaign that’s been making all the difference.
I have never seen a London election campaign like this. We have recruited new activists to become champions of Labour’s cause. We’ve been to every borough in London, contacting twice as many voters from January to now than we did four years ago. We have had dozens of packed phone-banks. On more than one occasion we overloaded the phone system at Labour HQ. We have organised action days in all parts of London. We have directed our resources to contact voters never previously reached by Labour. We’ve had the first online volunteer community in British politics – YourKen.org – and a text channel that’s identified voters and mobilised supporters. We have covered hundreds of stations with Fare Deal leafleting – including on the wet, cold January 3rd mobilisation that pushed the Tories into a state of fear. We announced our key fares policy by text. We took the whole Shadow Cabinet to Bromley. We are preparing to run the most comprehensive get-out-the-vote operation London Labour has ever organised for a Mayoral election. It has been inspiring to be part of it. If you have helped, thank you.
Of course, we are the underdogs. The Tories were always going to benefit financially, in terms of media backing, and in terms of support from the most powerful. Though it doesn’t carry the imprint of the Tory party, London’s only daily paper has now become a true blue freesheet. It has claimed to speak for the dispossessed. You can’t do that and back the Tory party.
But our campaign is about winning with the grassroots, about real Londoners and the real changes we can make to the quality of life for the majority. Our manifesto is a Labour programme for social change – immediate steps the mayor can and should take, combined with a vision of a better London for the long-term.
In the two-party choice in this election, only Labour has talked about the experiences of real Londoners, their hopes and fears and the action that is urgently needed to improve living standards.
Now it is down to all of us who have been part of this in the months leading to polling day to gather our forces and head into the final push – the battle to get out our vote so that we can do something better for Londoners.
By spending just a few minutes at the polling station the average fare-payer can make themselves £1,000 better off. There are not many ways you can make £1,000 in less than half an hour. But that is what the average London fare-payer can do from 7am to 10pm today. Those who live in outer London can secure even bigger savings on the cost of travel.
Polling day poses the clearest possible choice – four years of Tory fare rises, or a Labour fares cut that will save the average fare-payer £1000. David Cameron’s eve-of-poll plea for voters to elect Boris Johnson shows how important it is for Labour voters to turnout and make sure the Tories don’t get away with it.
Tory recession, Tory fare rises, Tory police cuts: people are struggling. Only Labour will make protect Londoners’ interests and make people better off.