My first job after leaving student politics was to work for the All Party Parliamentary on combating Antisemitism. The inquiry commissioned by John Mann had a real impact and the then prime minister Tony Blair set up an inter-departmental committee to take forward its recommendations. Within months there was a new prime minister and Gordon Brown committed his government full-square behind the plan. He appointed first Parmjit Dhanda and then Sadiq Khan to be the minister responsible. Both had considerable strengths. The transition from one to another was a time of slight trepidation: Parmjit had been elected in 2001, was well known to those working around the APPG for his interfaith work; Sadiq on the other hand had only been elected in 2005, was – alongside Shahid Malik – was the first Muslim minister in Britain and was out of nowhere the minister for faith and combatting antisemitism. (more…)
Ahead of the Progress campaign tour to Scotland’s central belt, Richard Angell – director of Progress and founder of @Lab3seats – outlines why UK Labour are keen to rally round.
The result in Scotland in May 2015 was a blow for everyone in the Labour movement. No one predicted it would be a near total wipeout. In Scotland itself fellow members are left with nearly no parliamentary representation and were plunged into not one but two leadership elections. Now you are straight back in the firing line trying to make the case for Labour against a resilient and insurgent Scottish National party.
You have had to take the loss, feel the pain and do it all again. Doorstep by doorstep. And, if some accounts are true, the environment seems even more aggressive towards us than last May, which in turn was worse than the referendum before it. I hear your pain. (more…)
As the starting gun was fired on the general election campaign, the Progress team visited seven seats in Scotland to help some excellent Labour candidates – all standing for election or re-election for the first time – knock back the Scottish National party and knock out the Conservatives nationally.
Every Labour member of parliament returned to Westminster brings the Labour government that this country so desperately needs ever closer. More SNP MPs leaves only David Cameron rubbing his hands.
It was an exhilarating and exhausting two days as we stretched the three seat challenge (#Lab3seats) model to visit seven seats in 36 hours. It was fascinating for everyone on our tour. 1,078 contacts later, there are some lessons which I think are worth sharing. (more…)
Following the three seats challenge model, on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 April 2015, Progress continues the campaign tours in Scotland to help comrades up against the Scottish National party. In two days, in seven seats, the volunteers on Lab7Scots over 1,000 conversations were had.
The tour on video
Lab3Seats founder and director of Progress, Richard Angell, talks to each of the candidates as part of the #Lab7Scots tour. Watch them back today:
You can follow the Lab7Scots tour in the following ways:
Arriving in Kingswood on the outskirts of Bristol to be met by Labour’s candidate Jo McCarron, a clutch of local activists, croissants and hot coffee, was the sounding gun of a week-long tour. Our trusty battlebus, sadly not pink, toured 21 of Labour’s 106 target seats. Another team visited the south Wales marginals on Tuesday while we covered north Wales.
The most interesting but not surprising finding is that the polls are bang on. The election is wide open. There is everything to play for. Labour is out-working the Tories, the Tories are out-spending Labour. Nothing new here, but, considering the late stage of the parliament, huge swaths of voters who have traditionally decided elections are still unsure. Door after door, activists would return to the board-runner – the person who holds the clipboard containing the chosen voter information from Labour’s national ContactCreator system – with the code ‘D’. Normally noted to signify that the corresponding person in their most recent conversation is a ‘Don’t know’, this time ‘D’ is for disillusioned. (more…)
The first two days of the Labour three seats challenge have centred around the M5.
Ben Bradshaw represents Exeter, the start of the duel carriageway. Labour holds two of the Bristol members of parliament, but otherwise you have to get all the way to Birmingham to find your next Labour parliamentarian. Since 2010 there are no Labour MPs representing the people who currently live on its banks. It is, however, the home of the once symbolic Worcester woman – all important to winning the 1997 election and now hosts six target seats that will be key in determining whether Ed Miliband walks into No 10 this May.
The M5 is the only single digit motorway that does not originate in London. For this reason Labour MPs rarely pass through. This is not the case with marginals on the M1, A1 and M4 as they return to Labour’s heartlands in the north, Scotland and Wales. This can have an impact on how the party relates to these voters and best supports its candidates. (more…)
Lab3seats founder Richard Angell talks exclusively to Tessa Jowell MP at the end of her first #TessaTriple
As 2013 was coming to an end a group of friends and I were sitting discussing life and one mutual friend’s recent achievement. They had just completed the three peaks challenge, a slightly barmy activity where people climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. ‘Imagine if there was a Labour doorstep version’, we joked. The laughing soon stopped and in early 2014 we organised the first of what has become a regular occasion. Not only has #Lab3seats – as it has become known – become a regular part of the Progress calendar as we near the election, many others have taken up the idea. Both Young Labour and Dan Jarvis MP have done their own three-seat challenges.
One year on from the initial challenge and Tessa Jowell is following suit in what Twitter has dubbed a #TessaTriple. I talk to her about why she decided to take up the idea of the three seats challenge? ‘I think three seats is what you can do in a day while giving a good chunk of time to each constituency and it is a very good way of engaging people who perhaps have not got a close relationship with their own constituency; or perhaps living in a Tory constituency, [allowing them] to feel they can be part of the great tidal wave of optimism in the party’. She goes on, ‘it is our contribution to making Ed Miliband the prime minister of our country’. (more…)
Alex Baker and I are planning a little road trip to help three of our favourite candidates.
We are calling it the 3 seats challenge (#Lab3seats):
Saturday 4 January 2014
08.00: Meet Brixton tube for road trip (Music provided by Ben Dilks)
10.00: On the #LabourDoorstep for Peter Kyle (PPC for Hove and Portslade)
12.30: Hit the road (packed lunch provided by Hove CLP)
13.30: On the #LabourDoorstep for Chris Oxlade (PPC for Crawley)
16.00: Roadtrip back to London (arrive about 18.00)
Sunday 5 January 2014
11.00: Meet for #LabourDoorstep at Gants Hill tube (Central Line) to help Wes Streeting (PPC for Ilford North)
13.30: Sunday lunch at the Havester in Ilford (optional) (more…)