On Thursday Britain will face one of the most definitive and important general elections for decades.
Voter turnout and mobilisation is crucial and could tip the balance in favour of either Labour or the Tories in countless marginal constituencies. On Friday, after a sleepless night of counts and commentary, we will either see Theresa May returning to Downing Street, or giving a concession speech on her way out.
Many seats have miniscule majorities (Gower with a majority of 27, Croydon Central of 165 and Derby North 41). Losing an election by just 27 votes hurts. But it can also motivate you. It can give you a motivation that carries you forward to the next battle. It forces you to work harder and encourage more people to get out on the doorstep.
June 8 will be when this motivation comes to a head. It will be the day when I and thousands of other Labour Party activists pledge to take the day off, get out the vote and stop this horrific Tory government in its tracks.
A day off work costs you something. But for me I couldn’t do anything else. I have seen the impact that the Tory government has had on my community and my family. I’ve sat in the A&E for hours, waiting to be seen. I’ve seen the critical underfunding of the police first hand. Where I live, I’ve seen the queues of people waiting to be fed at soup kitchens and food banks.
Turnout is expected to be high. But we cannot afford to be complacent. We cannot afford to risk the future of our families, our friends and our communities. We need to make sure that those voters who have pledged to vote Labour actually get out and cast their ballot.
In this election, it’s not just the long time Labour activists who are going out to vote and campaign. It’s also the young and enthused voters, it’s people who used to vote Tory but can’t bare to see how the last seven years of Tory-led government carry on, its people who need a Labour government.
Millions of young people have registered to vote since the election is called, with high profile figures such as Grime artist JME encouraging those who have never voted before, to vote. We have put our argument for the future of this country forward, and with young people, it has resonated highly. We now have a 57 point lead over the Tories in the 18-25 year old age group. We need to make sure these people are voting on Thursday. The opportunity to change this country cannot be missed.
Polling day will be a hard and extremely long day. Leafleting often begins at sunrise, with door knocking to get out the vote (GOTV) starting soon after.
With the advent of social media campaigning, many feel that knocking on doors, leafleting, and calling people up isn’t needed anymore. How they are wrong. Nothing is more effective than speaking face to face with voters, you can speak with passion and sincerity, and ensure that those who have pledged to vote Labour, go to the polling station and put an X in the Box next to “the Labour Party candidate”.
Every vote counts and activists will be working dawn till dusk knocking on door after door, visiting and revisiting, to ensure a Labour victory.
An extra activist knocking on doors all day could have won us tightly fought marginals such as Gower, Croydon Central, or Derby North in 2015. We can’t let that happen again. We need every activist out on the doorstep getting all the votes that we need.
It’s estimated that one activist can knock on 200 doors in a full day of GOTV campaigning. With thousands of activists planning to take the day off, a million doors could be knocked on. Potentially a million more Votes for Labour, and with every vote helping in this most important of elections, and we can hopefully deliver a government for the many not the few.
Cameron Ball is a Momentum activist and student.