Campaigning to Win
I don’t like to lose! It’s not something that sits easily with me but the General Election was a bitter sweet moment. First and foremost, “sweet” that we had our candidate, Liz Kendall, elected as the MP for Leicester West and “bitter” because 13 years of Labour Government had ended. The longest continuous period of power that the Labour Party had ever held. In the last century, it’s only the Labour Party that has been able to break the grip of the Tory Party’s grip on power. You see, the British Conservatives don’t mess around when it comes to taking power. Look at the swiftness with which Thatcher was dispatched and having to swallow every bit of hate/resentment/ridicule they have ever had for the Libdems to form the current Coalition Government.
I’ve certainly not become an expert in campaigning to win politically. I still think, perhaps naively, that if you care about the people who elected you they will reward you when it comes to election time. I know that it’s not as simple as that.
What this post is really about is Gisela Stuart MP, who won a remarkable victory in Edgbaston during the 2010 General Election, against all the odds. Edgbaston was won in the 1997 Labour landslide and only a 2% swing was needed for the Tories to take it back this time. Edgbaston was among a handful of seats which bucked the national trend.
In the latest Fabian Review (Summer 2010) edition she sets out some key principles which formed her winning strategy :
- The party and the candidate both have to offer something distinct to the voters
- The future is more important than the past
- Run the best campaign possible rather than focus on winning
- The candidate should only do what only the candidate can do
- Quick response and flexibility
- People make the difference
It seems so simple but the fundamental key is about “people”, having them as part of your team and empowering them to make decisions, trusting them to deliver for you and motivating them.
If you’re not a member of the Fabians then you can join here and get the great written material that they produce and read the full Gisela Stuart article!