Summer 2023 Roundup - a year in
Well, that year flew by in what felt like a heartbeat, didn’t it? This time last year, we were looking towards the selection of parliamentary candidate with a small core of a few activists turning up to a handful of campaign sessions, a few more occasionally attending Saturday lunchtime socials and a gaping hole in our slate of local election candidates.
Now a year later, we have passed through that selection and built a new team from scratch, massively ramping up our activist base, with new members coming on board every week. We filled our local election slate and we spoke to over a thousand people a week for the final few months of the campaign. We recently raised over a thousand pounds at what attendees told us was one of the best socials anyone in our region has conducted. We won a county council by-election and for the first time in twenty years, we took control of Erewash Borough Council.
After my selection, I set out a clear objective: to turn Erewash red. At the first meeting held after the selection I explained the three strategic pillars that would feed into that objective, and the tactics by which we would deliver those pillars. Pillar one was to win the Long Eaton County Council by-election, building our first red Derbyshire brick back into the wall. We got a great candidate, we worked hard, Liz Truss tanked the economy and we did it. Pillar two was to take control of the Borough Council, restoring a stack of red bricks that we’ve not had in place for two decades. We built a diverse team, full of ambition and drive, we worked our socks off and we did it. Our tactics were hard work, diversity, team building, bringing people along with us and working single points of failure out of our system. We made these tactics a part of everything we do and it paid off. There’s more to do, but we stuck by these principles and we’ve made huge strides forward in the past 12 months.
Pillar three, however, is the big one. Pillar three is the parliamentary seat. We’re on course and the ship is sailing well, but there may yet be storms and monsters ahead of which we aren’t yet aware. So what do we do next?
We double down.
We speak to more people, on doorsteps, in the streets and online. We activate mates, we bring people in and we build a welcoming and cohesive environment that ordinary people want to be part of. Now is the best time ever to get involved – our Erewash Labour family is growing and it is only by us growing as much as we can that we are going to be able to take this final pillar. Because make no mistake, this pillar is bigger than the others, stronger than the others, and we’ve got to take it down while walking the tightrope of expectation that is our country’s hope and our party’s poll lead.
No matter what happens, we treat this race like we’re close but not quite there yet – we’re almost over the line, but we’re still five points behind. Every single conversation, every single leaflet is going to make the difference. That family you dragged out to vote at 9:30 pm in Sawley? They won Harry Atkinson his seat and it might be the same for me. It’s that simple – our country has never needed a Labour government more than it does now, and only by the strength of our common endeavour can we deliver it. We are so much more together than we are alone, and we can do this.
This time next year, or next autumn, or in January 2025, you could be coming into my office for a cup of tea on a Friday afternoon, to talk to me as your new Labour MP. But we must do everything we can between now and then to make that happen. So come on out, the weather is fantastic.