National Campaign Day
I have read lots of stuff over the last couple of days by people saying that they can't imagine how anyone could go out and campaign for the Labour Party with all the bad news that there's been recently. By happy coincidence, tomorrow is the Labour Party's monthly 'National Campaign Day'.
Last year, when I was an election organiser, I used to go out canvassing just about every evening. While we had lots of brilliant activists who did a lot of work, frequently these canvassing sessions would involve just me and the candidate (e.g. a cold and rainy Tuesday evening in February).
It's important in election campaigns that candidates spend as much time as possible with people who might vote for them. So they knocked on the doors of people who were down as having supported Labour in the past, or who we hadn't contacted for a while.
But it's also important to try to contact all the other people. There's always a chance that someone who is 'Undecided' or is a supporter of another party might change their mind, or vote differently in local elections to general elections or have been recorded wrongly (and if you never talk to people who aren't supporters, then over time you get a smaller and smaller group of people to contact etc.) Since I wasn't a candidate, or one of those precious new activists who we wanted to make sure found campaigning a positive experience, I got to do this.
So over a period of six months, I talked to literally thousands of people, 95% of whom were extemely hostile to the Labour Party. I think I have heard every different reason why people don't choose to support the Labour Party. I went to talk to people while we were letting out foreign criminals, while John Prescott was having his affair, while we were making a mess of the NHS' finances, on the day when people got their council tax bills and all the rest of it.
And the thing is that it's never actually as bad as you might think it is going to be, some people are pleased to see you even if they don't agree, others are total idiots who we wouldn't want the support of anyway, and when you end up winning an election a few months later by 20 votes, it makes it all worthwhile.
So, that's why I am looking forward to National Campaign Day tomorrow. Anyone can go campaigning when we are massively ahead in the opinion polls and everything is going well. But when the news is bad and the opinion polls are rubbish, that's when it gets really fun.