Labour’s mission over the final few days? Defend the ‘Red Wall’

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We have now entered the final few days of the general election campaign. What does Boris Johnson reckon will clinch the deal for him? Anti-migrant rhetoric, of course. He went full ‘Vote Leave’ in his Ridge on Sunday appearance: while claiming as usual that he is “not hostile to immigration”, he complained that EU citizens had been “able to treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country”.

Tellingly, the Prime Minister referred to “a large number of people coming in from the whole of the EU, 580 million population” – both inflating the actual EU population figure, which is really 513 million, and reaching for the biggest number to make it seem as if every EU citizen was already here or packing their bags to come over. It helped Johnson that the follow-up question did not call him out on any of this, but instead asked: “So can you guarantee that numbers will come down?”. The Tories obviously think this approach will attract those crucial Labour Leave seats that do look perilously under threat of going blue on Thursday.

Preferring still to spend the last week of the campaign promoting a positive vision for the country, John McDonnell will deliver a speech this morning that sets out the priorities of a Labour government in the first 100 days. The first top one is Labour’s first budget to end austerity in social security and public services. The second is investment – ensuring it goes to neglected communities as part of Labour’s ‘green industrial revolution’ plan, via the ‘national transformation unit’ of the Treasury that would be set up in the North before Christmas. The third is bringing key utilities into public ownership.

McDonnell is also expected to reiterate the promise to “get Brexit sorted” by kicking off negotiations and preparations for another referendum straight away. Labour appears to be quietly dropping “it’s time for real change” as a key line, in favour of “save our NHS”, “Labour puts money in your pocket” and, of course, “get Brexit sorted”. It sounds a lot like the Tory slogan, which seems to have been highly effective in seats such as Bolsover, Stoke-on-Trent North, Stroud, the Coventry constituencies, Workington and Peterborough.

The party hopes you have all taken the week off work to campaign for Labour in the run-up to polling day and to help get out the vote on the day itself. If you’re wondering where to go, where possible, don’t pick the nearest or most glamorous seat. Have a read of Paul Hilder’s piece for LabourList on the 65 battleground seats that will decide the election result for Labour – and I would particularly recommend choosing from the 28 ‘Red Wall’ seats identified by Datapraxis. If you’re nervous about door-knocking, you may find our list of campaigning resources helpful.

I must also note that LabourList has been under DDoS attack since last night. It appears similar to the attack that the Labour Party itself experienced earlier in the campaign. We are protecting the site, which means initial access to it may be slow – but users won’t be affected otherwise. As a kind tweet suggested, it only proves that we’re making waves!

It’s going to be a long week. Keep fighting.

Sienna @siennamarla

  • John McDonnell speech in London (11am)
  • Jeremy Corbyn rally in Bristol (2pm)
  • Corbyn makes campaign stops in Stroud, Worcester, Wolverhampton (afternoon)
  • Digital tool: Create your own personalised Labour manifesto

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