Monday, March 12, 2007

Hearing You Loud and Clear

One good way of campaigning is to write back to everyone who has filled in a survey, to let them know what the main results are. This shows that you have read their answers and taken them on board, and that you are listening and in touch. The only small downside is that a few of the people that you send it to will have sent in completely different answers, and whinge about it.

I filled in Jon Cruddas' survey, a little while back, and got an e-mail entitled 'Hearing you loud and clear' back the other day. It explained that my opinions were already influencing Jon's campaign, that overwhelmingly people who responded felt local party activism was on the decline, and that there needed to be a full-time Deputy Leader.

Only thing is, my answers were that party activism had increased in my area (both where I used to live and where I live now), and that I didn't care about whether the Deputy Leader was also Deputy Prime Minister.

That said, I still like that his campaign have done the survey and followed it up, and Cruddas' campaign so far has been leagues ahead of the other deputy leader candidates, which have been surprisingly feeble and uninterested in appealing to activists.

I think that Hilary Benn, Alan Johnson and Jon Cruddas are all competent and have extremely similar political views, and any of them would be perfectly reasonable deputy leaders. I'll planning to vote for Cruddas because he has pitched his campaign as the leftie candidate who has sensible things to say about organising the Labour Party better, and the other candidates haven't. Even if he doesn't win (and the fact that the only people who have heard of him are people who write about politics on the internet means that he probably won't), he's probably done enough to be appointed Party Chair, which offers the same opportunity to be the voice of the grassroots and build up membership activism. And if he can get local members out canvassing all year round right across the country, all the better.

7 Comments:

At 2:20 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

I'm coming round to the opinion that the only function of Deputy Leader is to appeal to people that the incumbent Prime Minister won't appeal to in a general election. (This seems to be Harriet Harman's position, though I remain to be convinced that she is that person.) I can't see that the politics of whoever wins will affect policy, or organising strategies. Who do you think is most likely to fulfil that function? (An open question, I really am not sure)

 
At 2:33 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

I think that Hilary Benn is most likely to appeal to Lib/Lab lefties, Alan Johnson to people who have voted Labour since 1997 but think Gordon Brown is a bit weird and Scottish, and Harriet Harman or Hazel Blears to people who don't think that the top jobs in government should all be filled by men in their fifties. Which of those groups is most electorally significant, I don't really know. I can't particularly think of anyone who Peter Hain appeals to, and no one knows who Jon Cruddas is, so it is hard to know who he would appeal to, possibly trade union general secretaries, but they should probably be voting for us anyway.

A related role is stopping the Prime Minister from doing something stupid and unpopular, and/or persuading them to do the right thing. Alan Johnson has been quite good at this just recently over adoption and over lone parents.

 
At 2:43 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

actually, if what we've both just written is true, the ideal combination would probably be John McDonnell & Hazel Blears (with a worst possible option of Michael Meacher and Peter Hain! [if anyone's still counting Meacher as a leadership candidate])

 
At 2:46 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

I suspect that this means our analysis is flawed somewhere :)

 
At 5:36 pm , Anonymous james said...

"I'm coming round to the opinion that the only function of Deputy Leader is to appeal to people that the incumbent Prime Minister won't appeal to in a general election."

I find this a peculiar view. The public aren't going to give a stuff who the Deputy Leader of the party is. You may be able to have some kind of "balanced ticket" effect with the Deputy Prime Minister, but I'm slightly sceptical about even than, and it is anyway a separate job.

I think that the politics of whoever wins could easily effect either policy or organising strategies if they make specific points central to the platform on which they are elected.

Assuming Brown wins, he isn't going to want his first act in office to be trampling all over the democratically expressed will of the party.

 
At 10:21 am , Blogger Mike said...

I'm not sure that people don't care who the Deputy Leader is; lots of people care who John Prescott is, one way or the other. And I bet his punching that egg-throwing twat in Rhyl got Labour more votes than any amount of prattle about golden rules of fiscal prudence...;-)

 
At 4:34 pm , Anonymous James said...

Quite so, but that's because he's Deputy Prime Minister, not because he's Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Though I gotta agree about the punch! :-)

 

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