When pinning your new calendar to the kitchen wall in the next couple of weeks be sure put a red circle around Thursday 22 May. The weeks and days will quickly countdown to European election polling day and important local elections. As the European election results are announced on the following Sunday evening, we will be less than a year to the 2015 General Election.
Momentum matters in politics and next May’s European elections have real significance. These are the first European elections we have contested whilst being in Westminster opposition since 1994. The patterns of previous results are clear in telling us what tends to happen to governing parties at European elections but we should be anything but complacent. We need to be working tirelessly to elect more Labour MEPs and to win in all parts of the country.
European results tend not to set the long-term political weather but next year’s will set the tone at a critical point in the domestic electoral cycle. The good set of results we need next May will give a real boost to the campaign towards 2015.
To win in 2014 we have to be ready to take on UKIP. A UKIP surge next year is good news for no one and a Nigel Farage victory lap around the country next summer will be to our peril as well as the Tories’.
Organisationally the party is in good shape going into the New Year. With a team of new organisers in the field we should be relishing the opportunity to boost contact rates in each and every constituency and rehearse our GOTV campaigns.
The European campaign will need to dovetail with local council and parliamentary campaigns, framed around our strong and decisive argument on the cost of living crisis.
We will set out our case for a better and reformed European Union that works for working people, that is focussed on jobs and growth and which responds to the challenges we face today.
Having recently seen the Government’s chaotic approach to EU immigration policy, we should not forget that Labour demanded action months ago to deal with the loopholes that lead to exploitation of migrant workers and the undercutting of local labour. We have to show that it’s Labour with the ideas for a better and fairer EU.
Next year’s elections come at an important time for Europe and for our domestic electoral cycle. With every vote counting in European elections our challenge is clear. As we see the cost of living crisis take hold across the country we will show that it is Ed Miliband’s Labour with the real solutions. We will set out a progressive argument for a better Europe; a Europe that works for working people.
We can secure a One Nation result next May, winning in all parts of the country; to do that we need to be straight out of the blocks at the turn of the year. Let’s get to it. 2014 matters for Europe, for the country and for Labour. See you on the doorsteps.
Rory Palmer is a Labour European candidate in the East Midlands. Find out who the European election candidates are here.