Swindon Labour was delighted and excited to welcome Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves and a host of national media and press to our town yesterday for the launch of the local elections campaign. It was a great event, with short and punchy speeches to introduce the key messages for the campaign and a real sense of excitement and hope in the air, as we fight to take control of the council here in Swindon for the first time in 20 years.
The big question for us here is, can we convert the impressive national poll leads into local votes as we look to win the six seats needed to wrestle back control of Swindon Borough Council? We are doing all we can to maximise the Labour vote, and well-managed, positive events like the launch really help. The national and regional teams worked together to sort some great local advertising in the Swindon Advertiser on the day, which worked brilliantly with the live blog that the paper ran of the launch event as it happened.
We have ramped up our campaigning activity this year, knocking on more doors and having more conservations with voters, helped by the really exciting selection of the hugely capable Heidi Alexander as the South Swindon parliamentary candidate. Heidi is well known in the town as a local girl and was also a great supporter of Swindon Labour whilst she was an MP in Lewisham. Having her come home as a candidate has given us a real lift, and she is working brilliantly with Will Stone, the young and enthusiastic local councillor who is the North Swindon candidate.
We have been massively helped by more professional and focused campaign support from head office, the Labour Local Government Association team and the Labour Campaigns Co-operative, coming together under the Project Victory branding, which has been invaluable in helping us develop a clear set of messages to take on the Tories locally, as well as a steady stream of high-profile visits from Labour MPs and our Co-operative Party colleagues, which has helped us to cut through in the town. It was also great to welcome Hammersmith and Fulham council leader, Steve Cowan, to a recent candidate session, during which he set out the inspirational story of the win he masterminded there against the odds.
We have tested our five pledges extensively and seem to be getting cut through on the doorstep and on social media, and Keir’s big policy announcement of the freeze in council tax really complemented our local messaging about wanting to keep council tax low and stop the wasteful spending of the local Tories who have racked up eye-watering debts with very little to show for it. We’re keen to use some great Labour and Co-operative Party policies and ideas from around the country to build a better Swindon and really turn around the years of decline under the Tories.
We’ll be out campaigning, leafletting, maximizing the postal vote and getting out the vote in Swindon until May 4th and would welcome any visits and support from the rest of the country in that time. Follow @LabourSwindon on Twitter and message us to find out how you can get involved. We’re really hoping that we can invite Keir, Angela and Rachel back to a Labour-controlled Swindon after delivering the victory that can show the country that Labour is winning in the bellwether seats that we need to deliver a Labour government.
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