Peter Kellner

Turnout tests

First published in Progress magazine

Is the notion that boosted turnout will turn Labour’s fortunes around simply outlandish? Richard Angell examines its chances

We had a problem of mobilising people’, said leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn – with little chance of getting on the ballot, let alone winning – as he explained why Labour lost when Progress sat down with him on 11 June 2015. A lot has changed since that interview, not least the reluctant nominee receiving a stonking 59 per cent of the first preference vote on 12 September. (more…)

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Nice to feel wanted

First published in Progress magazine

English marginals need real attention

During the course of a campaign that ran at full speed for longer than can reasonably be expected, Better Together mobilised members of both the frontbench and the backbenches of Labour’s Westminster and Holyrood teams in the effort to save the union. Both the official ‘No’ campaign and the Labour party pulled in resources to combat the nationalists. In the last few months organisers were moved from southern English target seats as far away as Plymouth, key campaigners were moved from English and Welsh marginals and in the last week of the campaign regional offices across the country upped sticks and were out knocking doors for our Scottish cousins. Indeed, from Hogmanay onwards I was the lucky recipient of increasingly panicked texts and emails about venturing north to help the Better Together campaign.

This was no doubt the right thing to do but it does prompt several avenues of questioning. (more…)

Don’t forget about Kent

First published on ProgressOnline

Last night I was with the Labour club at Kent University, a great group of people keen to win back their local council for Labour and fighting to keep us on the southern political landscape. What struck me on my fifth visit to Kent since we lost the general election, is how few others have made the same journey.

Those seats Labour lost in the Midlands and the M4 corridor have scores of Labour MPs travelling through them as they return to our heartlands. If Swindon, Burton or Sherwood are holding a CLP meeting, fundraiser or campaign day, numerous shadow cabinet members let alone backbench colleagues will be travelling through or very near twice a week as they visit their constituencies in Scotland, Wales and northern England. The challenge we face in many of the seats that we must win back at the next election, places like Crawley, Brighton, Hove, and all those in Kent (from Medway to Dover), Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, is compounded by the fact that they have no Labour MP who travels past (or even near) on a regular basis. (more…)