A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winning in the South

Stuart King has set up an excellent website - http://www.southernfront.org.uk/ - dedicated to Labour winning in the South of England.

I've written a piece for them looking at how Labour was able to hold onto some unlikely marginals in Kent in the 1950s even when we were out of power nationally: http://www.southernfront.org.uk/2011/01/southern-lessons-from-labours-history.html


Anonymous Alun said...

Wasn't the only unlikely seat Labour held in the fifties either; T.W. Jones gained Meirionnydd in 1951, Labour continued to hold agricultural constituencies in Norfolk, while Gloucester and Northampton were reliable Labour seats.
Of course at the same time both seats in Salford were marginals and Labour were repeatedly defeated in places as unlikely as Rutherglen, Kirkdale and Wythenshawe.

It's just a little frustrating that we didn't manage to hold onto the former over the longterm while eventually picking up the latter.

8:32 pm, January 24, 2011

Blogger Hughes Views said...

You're right about the desirability of "a full-time Organiser to run fundraising (paying for themselves)" in potentially winnable constituencies.

Without any full time local staff it's very hard for a party to have a strong presence. With no MPs and few local councillors in many counties across the south (and not even an MEP in the south west), we're in real danger of a spiral of decline in spite of new members (and maybe some voters) coming to us from the Lib Dems.

And it's drizzling, cold and still January...

12:14 pm, January 25, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very interesting article.

There was the agent in Enfield Southgate, I forget her name, but she was someone who was a great strategic thinker. She sensed that the seat could possibly change hands in 1997 and she was crucial to it happpening.

I bet a lot of people probably laughed when she suggested that it could change hands. If so, then she had the last laugh.

Her foresight had an enormous impact on politics in this country.

3:22 pm, January 25, 2011

Blogger Edward Carlsson Browne said...

It's worth noting that those North Kent seats were distinctly exceptional in the 1950s in staying Labour.

Otherwise our southern seats were limited to Falmouth and Camborne (presumably due to the mining connections), Plymouth and Southampton (presumably due to the docks), Bristol (the south's largest city bar London), generally industrial seats in the Thames Valley (notably Swindon and Oxford), a little bit of London over-spill, the East Anglian provincial cities of Ipswich and Norwich and some Norfolk seats where we were utterly dependent on the farm worker unions.

We didn't really expand outside that even in 1964 (bar a few marginal victories in Northamptonshire, which isn't technically South in this context). Even in 1966 gains in the south were sparser than further north.

We should learn the lessons of Faversham, but we shouldn't pretend a full-time organiser will help us expand beyond a few footholds in the south (or even stop us losing them - Cambridge had an organiser, a big membership and a first rate fundraising organisation in 2005, but that couldn't get close to saving it for us).

Most of the South has never been our territory, I'm afraid. I think the road is going to be a lot more difficult and long than anybody really wants to admit.

2:48 am, January 26, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

badger farm winchester

LD Brian Laming 894 (53.9%)
Conservative 604 (36.4%)
Labour 161 (9.8%)
Turnout 51.1%
LD hold.

significant increase for labour from 1%

12:12 am, January 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the early 1980s even under michael foot we held 2 out of 3 surrey cc seats in guildford

and by the end of the 80s 3 out of 3

a lot down to Councillor Bellamy and his wife has to be said

but also a good local party with active LPYS

Youth sections are vital a

12:14 am, January 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monmouth by election very rural and very few welsh

Huw Edwards excellent candidate and appealed to Libs ie PR

12:16 am, January 28, 2011

Blogger Merseymike said...

Looking at the list, a couple of very good (and popular) local MP's who lost their seats will not be able to restand because of all women shortlists.

I'm not convinced that will help us retake the seats

12:58 am, January 28, 2011

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


the Regional Parties consulted all affected defeated MPs.

We were told at NEC Organisation Committee that seats had only been designated AWS if the former (male) MP had indicated they did not want to re-stand there.


2:16 pm, January 28, 2011


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount