Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentines Ward By-election

I’ve been “out and about” for a little while tonight helping Ilford South Labour Party with their by-election in Valentines ward. This is a Labour/Tory marginal. I rang the campaign contact number and Mike Gapes MP picked up the phone and gave me directions to the Committee room.

I posted the other day here on the “Galloway” respect candidate who used the traditional SWP trick of lying about a fictional meeting between Mike and the “Gorgeous One” to wind up and mislead voters.

It seems that the Tories have also been up to pretty dirty tricks – their Candidate has been writing completely sectarian and personalised letters asking electors not to split the “Muslim vote” by only voting for him?

Strangely, although I did see other non-Labour Party canvassers in the ward tonight. They had no political badges, clipboards or colours. I remember in past Tower Hamlets elections, talking to similar opposition canvassers who did know the name of their candidate but when you asked what political party they were supporting their faces went completely blank? Hopefully, nothing like this is going on (Yeah)

In the Committee room and a key part of the local “machine” was Gary Chick-Mackay, who is the UNISON branch secretary for Havering Local Government. The Committee room seemed pretty calm and organised. No “dramas” and I was quickly sent out on both occasions with the same team and was well briefed on the local issues, location of polling stations and exactly what they wanted me to do. Which is all you want as a volunteer from another CLP.

We were “knocking up” “Labour Promises” – that is voters who had previously been canvassed and had indicated that they would support Labour. Our aim is purely to “remind” them and encourage them to vote.

One problem is that the Tory street lighting in Redbridge is simply rubbish. You could barely make out the door numbers of properties never mind read the canvass sheets.

However, considering how cold and dark it was the reaction from our “Promises” was very good. We’re wait and see for the result of course.

A friend of mine is fond of quoting his old mum’s saying that a “Promise is a comfort to a fool”.

I didn’t meet the candidate Surinder Pahl who was in other “knocking up” teams.

There is another by-election in Stoke Newington which I meant to go and help out with but I didn’t, so apologies to my Hackney comrades and I hope it went ok?

At the end I asked an activist if the results will be posted on the internet anywhere after the count. He wisely predicated that if we win then the results will be posted on the Ilford South web site sometime tonight. If we lose then it will of course never be mentioned ever again. So either way I’ll click on the web site tomorrow and should quickly be able to find out.

Update - I checked the Ilford South site this morning, nothing, so I feared the worse. This is from Luke's blog - Valentines Ward, LB Redbridge. LD gain from Lab. LD 963 (36.9%, +20.1), Con 781 (29.9%, +10.4), Lab 756 (28.3%, -0.9), Respect 112 (4.3%, +4.3). Swing of 4.9% from Con to LD since 2006. Strange numbers are result of an independent coming second in 2006 but not running this time. Apparently the LDs made Gaza a big issue in the campaign in a heavily Muslim area. See next post.

Good news that in Hackney it was a strong Labour hold.


Anonymous said...

Reaction from our promises was very good....oh dear it has the Gray endorsement...its bound to mean a dreadful result. Last time Jonh made a prediction it was that Brown was about to announce a snap election! (I bet Gordon wishes he had now!). Got that one all wrong John eh!

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

Which part of a “Promise is a comfort to a fool” don’t you understand?