A good friend of mine has spent part of this week arguing, over the internet, with some of the more opinionated and right-wing students at his university, which is full of opinionated and/or right wing students. (Yeah, that one.) I’m not going to go into the details of the argument because it makes me upset and angry. It also made my friend upset and angry, and he spent a lot of time and energy being upset and angry. I spent a lot of time last night trying to instil a sense of perspective, and suggested this new rule: ‘every time you’re about to get into anything*, think about how many votes it will generate, either for Labour or against the BNP. If the answer is ‘none’, go and do some leafleting, or take a nap.’
I maintain it’s a good rule, but I’m breaking it right now. I doubt I’ve ever converted anyone to Labour with this blog, because the only people who read it are already Labour sympathisers or Tories dropping by to see what I’m up to.
Which is why I’ve been paying a bit more attention to my new project in the last weekandabit – I’ve set myself a challenge of single-handedly winning one vote back to Labour in time for next year’s general election, and getting into some good debate along the way on how to win back the rest.
It got off to a good start but is running into teething troubles – partly this is because I like writing 1500-word-long rants, and my Grandad doesn’t, I’m working on a format that will work better – but partly I think I need to take a different tack. Core voters like my Grandad aren’t going to be won over by endless agonising about open verses closed primaries and how this system of voting compares to that. They’re disgusted by greedy bastards but they’re motivated by policy – and though David Cameron seems to have been implying this week that voters disapprove of all public spending, he’s wrong. Public spending good. Greedy bastards bad. More of that to follow on the other blog.
But just in case you think I’ve abandoned the real world in favour of campaigning exclusively on t’internet, and abandoned all voters I’m not immediately related to – don’t worry, I’m still Labour irl.
I have, admittedly, not been as active as Rusholme’s Labour candidate Rabnawaz Akbar – in our branch meeting last week he updated us on his latest activities, and his feet rarely seem to have been touching the ground. Find him on Facebook if you haven’t already, he’s been faithfully updating it on his travels around Rusholme and Manchester. He also reminded me that I’d nicked my current Facebook profile photo from one of his photos of the Go Fourth rally, so here it is in its original glory:
That’s Rabnawaz on my left, and on my right is Rick, another Rusholme member who gave some good commentary on the Go Fourth event over on his blog. And while I’m adding links, I’d also like you to introduce you to [the blogs of] Wes Streeting, Kirsty Connell, Tom Miller and Kezia Dugdale. Enjoy.
On Thursday last week I took part in the Phone Bank for the European elections with Manchester Young Labour. Last week we made over 400 contacts in 2 hours, which is pretty impressive going – and yes, out of the 50 people I spoke to, I’d say about 47 wanted to talk about expenses. Lots of familiar disappointment.
At the weekend I’m afraid I took a break instead of taking part in Hope Not Hate campaigning…yeah, boo, I know, Kev Peel never takes a break. I’m a Labour lightweight. Instead I was entertaining two former Chairs of the University of York Labour Club, including Carl from Blackburn Labour. And speaking of Blackburn Labour, have you seen what Laurence Durnan has been up to in his obvious excess of spare time? The sad thing is I sort of wish I’d thought of it first…
And then last night it was the Phone Bank again: this week we were getting out the postal votes and the expenses issue hardly came up at all. I don’t think that means voters have forgotten about it, but I do think it means that, like a lot of the audience members on last night’s Question Time, they’re getting sick of talking about duck islands. Policy to the people! …please. More on that later on one blog or another. Now I must sleep.
*By ‘anything’ I mean political debate, obviously, not having sex or buying cropped trousers or making soup…