Socialist Worker

Hope and worry among activists on the Labour Party’s campaign

Issue No. 2682

Campaigning for Labour in Cities of London and Westminster

Campaigning for Labour in Cities of London and Westminster (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Labour Party activists have held mass canvassing sessions in marginal seats across Britain as part of their campaign to win the general election.

Well over 100 people turned out to canvas in central London on Thursday of last week.

One canvasser, Georgia, told Socialist Worker, “We won’t get this opportunity again. That’s why I’m knocking on doors—to tell people that this election is our chance to use our voices and be heard.

“I never thought my vote would do anything. But when Corbyn won the Labour leadership, I registered to vote.

“I think he gives people confidence that change is coming. And because of that we have a chance of winning.”

Yet canvassers also report that right wing smears against Labour have had an effect on how some people view Jeremy Corbyn.

Ahead

And activists are worried that the Tories are still ahead in many polls. It is a real fact that there are many people whose lives have been made worse by a decade of Tory rule, yet who don’t see Labour as an alternative.

In Sheffield, community care worker Christine says things have “become a hell of a lot worse” because of austerity. “Care work didn’t used to be a bad place to work in,” she told Socialist Worker.

But she said she’s considering voting for racist Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and had voted to Leave the European Union to “put money where it’s needed and to get our industry back up and running”. Yet there is also widespread support for Labour in Sheffield too.

Hundreds of people turned out to see Corbyn outside BBC’s Question Time at Sheffield Students Union on Friday of last week—an event that turned into an impromptu rally.

An email from Labour left group Momentum said winning the battle meant canvassing “in our thousands”.

Yet it took more than canvassing to achieve that in 2017—and it will take more than that this time to cut through the right wing smears.

Labour’s campaign in 2017 defied the right largely thanks to the mass protest-style rallies that gave it a radical, insurgent feel. There have been very few of those this time.

Yet the rally in Sheffield, and a broad-based anti-Tory protest in Carmarthen, west Wales, shows there’s potential.

Labour’s campaign should become a much broader movement against the Tories and austerity.


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