Keir Starmer said last month that Labour headquarters is now election ready and prepared to fight a general election should the Prime Minister call one. But is your Constituency Labour Party (CLP) election-ready? I represent a marginal seat in Plymouth and being election ready means more than just having the fighting spirit to take our arguments to the people. It means logistics, logistics, logistics.
Here is my 12-point guide to make sure every marginal Labour seat is election ready. And the great thing is, every step will help you campaign harder, better and stronger every day whether an election is called or not.
- Money. A short campaign has a spending limit of around £12,000-13,000. Does your CLP have £13,000 ish in the bank to pay for a short campaign? If not, fundraise to meet the target spend your constituency had at the last election.
- Campaigning. Do you have a campaign team that’s election ready? Do you have a team of people able to organise, campaign, prepare materials? Do you have leaflet teams set up to get out more literature, faster? Are your doorstep teams trained in how to use the Doorstep App?
- Brilliant basics. Are your vitals in place? Is every road in a road group? Is your marked register entered? Do you have a plan to increase postal vote sign up? Are your list of polling stations up to date on Contact Creator? If not, now’s the time to get them ready.
- Online advertising. Is your social advertising ready? You can’t just post political adverts on Facebook and Instagram, you need to have applied for and got permission from Facebook to post political ads. Does your CLP have someone with permission from these sites to authorise political adverts? The approval process can take some time, so if not, work out who should and act now.
- Got a candidate? Could you be a brilliant MP? Get stuck in now – selections are happening and will come faster now the Tories are in a state of civil war.
- Agent. Do you have an agent ready who is familiar with election rules, and are they able and competent? They need to be.
- Shorter short campaign. The next general election won’t have a six-week short campaign – the Elections Act 2022 reduced that to four weeks. So you’re last snap election campaign plan needs to be revisited. That means having a plan to spend more, faster and deliver quicker. That changes most campaign models and so revisit your plan.
- New script. The Labour Party is just changing the canvass script from the Q1, Q2 style we all know and love. Has your CLP got a plan to train everyone in the new script? If not, now is the time to book a training session in.
- Trade union links. Has your CLP got links with your local union branches? Do you know which unions are affiliated to your CLP, and which ones could help in an election?
- Register to vote. Many of the voters you need to win won’t be registered to vote. Now’s the time to ready a voter registration drive. Also, now’s a good time to buy those voter registration, credit-card sized, reminder leaflets from the Labour shop before they sell out.
- Neighbours. Do you know the CLPs around you? Build links and ensure that they share the same campaign style and know how to integrate with your teams. Building a team is rewarding and worthwhile.
- Tell your story. What’s Labour’s record of success locally? What did your Conservative MP promise at the last election? Start getting your local attack lines in a row of what she or he hasn’t delivered, or quotes supporting the Prime Minister you can come back to. For example: ‘Where is that new hospital we were promised?’
With the Conservative Party in disarray, a snap general election could be just around the corner. Now, more than ever, it is vital your local party goes the extra mile to help Labour be election-ready and defeat the Tories.