Hundreds of Labour activists descended on Uxbridge in west London last Sunday to kick off the bid to boot out its MP, Tory Boris Johnson.
A hall in Uxbridge civic centre was crammed beyond capacity as Labour Party members travelled from all across London, inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s message.
The day had a flavour of the mass meetings that formed the spine of Corbyn’s insurgent general election campaign.
Labour is targeting 100 marginal Tory seats over the summer to lay the ground for another general election campaign.
Meanwhile, the Tories are likely to go to ground to lick their wounds after the bruising civil war which erupted after their disastrous general election result.
Anne, an advice worker from Chelsea and Fulham, spoke to Socialist Worker about Corbyn’s chances at the next election.
“His campaign woke up a new generation of people who are interested in politics,” she said. “I joined the Labour Party after he won the leadership election.
“People are enthusiastic and hopeful. I can’t see the momentum dropping off, especially with an election on the cards soon.”
Shadow minister for Brexit Keir Starmer told the crowds, “We’ve got to be united as a party. We have the ability to fall out about almost anything.”
On the surface there’s broad public agreement in Labour that hostilities should be suspended to get the Tories out.
But the tensions within the Labour Party haven’t gone away after the election.
Unlike a lot of local campaigns during the election, Jeremy Corbyn featured prominently on the materials being handed out on Sunday.
“Talking to people now you get less of a sense that a Labour vote is a wasted vote,” student Gabriella told Socialist Worker.
Some activists are now turning their thoughts to the reality of what a Corbyn-led government could do—and the opposition it would face.
“Victory will ruffle feathers if we win the next election,” said Anne. “I don’t see how they can disregard the results though.”
Newly-elected Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova underlined the urgency of the task at hand for the whole of the left.
“We’ve got a Tory coalition with the DUP that’s not going to last, nor should it,” she said. “They’re homophobic, they’re against pro-choice.
“These people should not have the right to govern this country. We need to boot these people out.”
Mobilisations like the one on Sunday are very welcome. They need to lay the foundation for the action outside parliament that will be needed if Labour wins.
A row in Scotland, but with limits
Labour left group Campaign for Socialism (CfS) has taken a swipe at the Scottish leadership’s “Better Together mind-set” in last month’s general election.
CfS vice-chair Lesley Brennan argued that Scottish Labour “avoided robustly challenging the Tories on their record in government at Westminster”.
Labour gained just 550 votes on average in Scottish seats. In England and Wales the average rise was over ten times greater.
Brennan put this down to focusing on being anti-independence. This “almost silenced” Jeremy Corbyn’s “for the many” message.
Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale has led her party to third place behind the Tories in three successive elections.
She even said that in some areas other parties were “better placed” to beat the Scottish National Party. This encouraged votes for the Tories.
Yet Brennan argued the solution is “more about changing emphasis than leadership”.