47 days to win… Let’s get to it!
I knocked my first door in 1995 as a slightly nervous but determined 16 year-old volunteer. It was Pilkington Park ward and considered a safe Conservative seat on Bury Council.
So started my 20 years campaigning for the Labour Party.
And the lesson I learnt in 1995 was as true then as it is today — we win by out-campaigning our opponents on the ground, street by street, doorstep by doorstep, conversation by conversation.
That’s why Ed Miliband has committed our movement to having 4 million conversations with voters across the country before 7 May.
Every week thousands of our brilliant volunteers from across our movement — CLP members, trade unionists, Labour Students, Young Labour as well as increasing numbers of friends and supporters — are out on the #labourdoorstep engaging in conversations about Labour’s better plan for the future.
In target constituencies our candidates are doing us all proud, working their socks off, going the extra mile day after day. All of them supported by our brilliant field organisers giving everything they’ve got to secure a Labour victory. But more help is needed.
Many of you have already joined with me on the #LabourExpress over the last seven months visiting target constituencies across the UK.
But if you haven’t been able to hop aboard so far — now’s the time to get stuck in.
Because with just 7 weekends left there is no time to lose. We’re up against a well-funded aggressive Tory machine with plenty of cash for glossy leaflets and expensive negative billboard posters.
And if you want to know what it’s like on the #LabourExpress, here’s a quick recap of just some of the places we’ve been to so far.
We kicked off in Brighton with Gloria De Piero
As it was the seaside we even had our own Labour sticks of rock
Then onto Waveney where an uninvited visitor joined us. We soon sussed him out though. He was no James Bond…
In Morecambe the terrific Amina Lone managed to persuade Eric to vote Labour
We lent a hand in Croydon Central currently held by a Tory MP caught out telling supporters not to mention David Cameron on leaflets. Our brilliant candidate Sarah Jones recently spent 24 hours campaigning non stop. Now that’s dedication!
Next stop was Vale of Glamorgan where after ice creams at Barry Island, Gloria De Piero and I hit the streets with Chris Elmore. We didn’t meet Gavin and Stacey but we met loads of Labour Voters.
In a cold December, over 100 of us piled into Loughborough with Liz Kendall joining us out on the streets finding people sorely let down by the Tories and switching to Labour, now voting for Matthew O Callaghan
In January Rachel Reeves and I arrived on the front in Cleethorpes to lend a hand to Peter Keith. Good fish n chips as well!
Next stop, Weaver Vale and Wirral West with Lucy Powell, Luciana Berger and Labour Students. It’s clear voters want to see Julia Tickridge and Margaret Greenwood elected.
We spent Valentine’s Day on the doorstep in Dudley. There was a lot of love for Labour!
We headed out from the Labour North Election Briefing on the Labour Express bus to Redcar where Anna Turley is leading an impressive campaign team. Everyday she is finding people appalled by the Lib Dems’ litany of broken promises
Talking of broken Lib Dem promises, over 100 Labour Students led by our brilliant candidate Oliver Coppard and my old mate Tom Watson were out knocking on doors in Sheffield Hallam.
Nick Clegg is certainly in trouble here, give Oliver a bit of support to help oust him
After our pledge launch in Birmingham two Labour Express buses hit the road with Labour Students — the first coach to Nuneaton with Yvette Cooper for local candidate Vicky Fowler, and the second coach to North Warwickshire with Hilary Benn and Rachel Reeves for Mike O’ Brien.
So this is it!
We have 47 days to win. We can only do it with your help on the ground.
So get involved in your local constituency or key seat. And join me on the Labour Express as we head out to the target seats across the country we absolutely must win.
This is the most important general election in a generation. Don’t sit it out — the outcome could be in your hands.
I’ll look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail. And don’t forget to tweet me your pictures and stories from your campaign days — I’ll retweet the best!
Oh, and in case you were wondering that council candidate I campaigned for 20 years ago won!