Labour winning power, with the help of David Evans

Stephen Cowan

Watching the Conservative government floundering in the face of a crisis it is ideologically unable to tackle provides a reminder, if one were ever needed, that winning elections is the single most important thing the Labour Party can do. 

Whether locally, or nationally, Britain needs Labour in power to protect the poorest, tackle inequality, defend our public sector and transform society for the better. I have watched that transformation at local level, having led the opposition for eight long years in what was known as “Cameron’s favourite council”.

We were never meant to be win in what was viewed as a safe Tory flagship, where the Conservative Party’s small state, austerity programme seemed too well-established to ever shift. Even Labour Party HQ wrote off any chance of us ever winning, describing that hope as a “bridge too far”. But with the help of David Evans, Labour in Hammersmith and Fulham had our first landslide victory in 2014.

Britain needs a Labour landslide at the next general election. Appointing David Evans as the next general secretary of the Labour Party would be a huge step towards that outcome. The simple reason: David is a professional political campaigner – one of a small number of experts in the UK, and arguably the best in the country.

His respectful understanding of people’s concerns, what drives them and how that influences how they vote is scientific and thorough. That cerebral approach is combined with decades of long experience fighting Tories giving him an instinctive feel for what works.

Look around the world, and political campaigning has got tougher and more sophisticated with each election. Bad generals fight the last war. The best campaigners reinvent the rules – something David Evans has a long track record of doing.

The David Evans I know is non-factional, honest and consensus-building. He was arrested during the miners’ strike and began as an activist in the Thatcher years. But that was all a long time ago. 

The person I’ve known since 2013 has helped us in Hammersmith and Fulham Labour bring about a radical programme of change: from bringing services back in house; abolishing charges for adult home care; introducing universal free breakfast for school children; paying the London living wage; to saving Charing Cross Hospital and stopping the biggest hospital closure programme in London’s history.

In 2018, voters gave my colleagues and me our second landslide – slashing the number of Tories even more and delivering the biggest swing to Labour in any competitive area in Britain. David has been by our side and a passionate fighter for social justice in every battle. I can only believe that some of the people criticising him have never met the quietly spoken, thoughtful and decent person I’ve come to rely on.

The last general election was devastating for our party. We have a steep mountain to climb to get back into office. I simply couldn’t bear to lose another election. That would be our fifth in a row and give the Conservatives a free hand to reshape our country. We need to find the best people and get them to help us win. David Evans is the very best. I hope that he is shortlisted for the job and that the national executive committee hires him.

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