Sunday, 8 May 2011

Labour regain Ipswich

After what seemed weeks of non stop campaigning, election day was upon us and 14 hours of non stop delivering and door knocking paid off as Friday at the count, Ipswich Labour made 5 gains including Tracey Grant joining me as a councillor in Rushmere Ward.

When I was elected as a councilor it was a very proud moment, but Friday was also a special moment as I will now be part of the administration in Ipswich as we try and protect the residents of Ipswich from the coalition cuts.

The result on Friday was a reward for a year of hard work by the Labour Party in Ipswich, we were down last May but there was no in-fighting or bickering, we just increased our campaigning work and got on with the job of supporting the people of Ipswich. This feeling of unity has been evident from day one, and it was great to have Chris Mole our former MP, helping in Rushmere all day and then being at the count. Dan Poulter the North Ipswich Tory MP was at the count, he eventually was joined by Ben Gummer but once he was briefed on the possible outcome Gummer soon disappeared.

So why did we win? As the Tory Cllr Paul West said, it is hard to work our what exactly had a positive or negative impact on each party's vote, but no doubt the unpopularity of the coalition Government did hit the Lib Dems hard, but though the Tory vote held up in most wards, the strange decisions by the Tory run Suffolk County Council and Ms Hill did help get the Labour vote out.

Then there is hard work and a well planned campaign, without giving away too much! we worked hard in 12 of the 16 wards and even in the other four we still delivered leaflets and newspapers, and of course we increased our work on polling day in our 5 target wards.

But just hard work will not win an election, we worked hard last year but could not hold onto the parliamentary seat in the town. But we made even more effort this year to talk to everyone, not just labour voters - we knocked on almost every door and spoke to as many residents as we could. this worked. Compare that to the Tories and the Lib Dems, a resident in Rushmere informed that he a approached a Tory canvass team, and they refused to speak to him as he was not on their 'list'. A Tory supporting blog, said ‘probably because he was a socialist intent on wasting their time’. He actually is a leading member of the local community, one who is well known to the Tory Cllr for the Ward. That sort of attitude is not going to win you votes. The Lib Dems also seemed to only knock on a few doors in their two main wards and made no effort in the rest of the wards less a couple of leaflets in two other wards.

Some may say the Tories were very complacent, putting all their effort into Rushmere, and making little effort in the two other wards they lost, did they think they were safe? A leading Tory Gavin McClure even seems to admit that tactical decisions were wrongly made.

How about the Lib Dems, a national collapse was expected but I am sure in Ipswich they still thought it would be closer in Alexandra ward than it was and they were then in total shock when they lost St Margaret's to the Tories (remember the Tories put little effort into st Margaret's and none into Alexandra). A needless recount being called in St Margaret's by the Lib Dems, showed how desperate they got.

There has been a noticeable lack of campaigning in Ipswich by the Lib Dems over the last few years, and no real noticeable increase in this years campaign - that would have hurt them as much as the low opinion their national party and leader are held in.

I often wondered how they sat in coalition in Ipswich when it was obvious that most Tories had little time for them, the resignation speech of leading Tory Wells should have left them in no doubt. Even this weekend they have come under attack from a Tory blog in Ipswich and a leading Suffolk Tory
They may have been fooled by the way the Ipswich Tories did not campaign in the three Lib Dem wards and they even had Ben Gummer write a Pro Lib Dem Mayor Chambers column in the local paper (not that it worked). some Lib Dems may be happy they lost power, they always seem to be happier in opposition - never their fault then.

So where do we go now? Back on the streets campaigning, we will look at the results, learn, target and go again - I am sure the Tories at least will come back strong at us, but a tip for both opposition groups - talk to residents - it works!

1 comment:

John Gray said...

Great result Alasdair. Well done to Ipswich team Labour.