Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Campaign aftermath

There are many things that happen when an election campaign is over. When that campaign is the losing one, there’s a lot of angsty reading of entrails. I’m not going to do that. Too many others are, and it’s becoming mere noise.

Of course it’s important to understand why the loss this weekend happened, but that’s best done over time as more information becomes available, and not when emotions are still high and reasoning ability is low.

One of the worst things about all the grumpy finger pointing is that the hard work of volunteers is being swept aside. All across the country, Labour volunteers worked hard for victory: They had hundreds of thousands of interactions with voters, on the phone or in person. In fact, Labour volunteers contacted seven times as many people as were contacted in the 2011 campaign. They also delivered hundreds of thousands—probably millions—of pieces of campaign literature. Beyond all that, people were registered to vote and then helped to vote early. Then, on Election Day, we mobilised our voters (as best we could without illegal electioneering).

I know all this because I was part of the campaign, and we did all of that stuff right here in this electorate. We were part of what was probably the biggest ground effort that Labour has ever mounted.

There are those who will say, “Big Deal: You lost, so whatever you did wasn't enough and doesn’t matter.” They couldn’t be more wrong!

Every new volunteer on the campaign learned skills that will be needed in the next campaign. So, we’ll start with experienced volunteers to which we can add new volunteers. That’s an important thing.

Mostly, though, I think that with all the blaming going on, the folks who did their best—the volunteers—are being shoved aside. There ought to be some credit for the efforts of those dedicated volunteers who can’t be blamed for what the larger campaign did or didn’t do.

The photo above is of the pile of staples from the signs I removed from fences last Friday—another kind of campaign aftermath. The consensus among us volunteers was that Richard may have become a bit carried away with the staple gun. The staples will be recycled, though, so it’s all good. Actually, the signs I took down will be, too.

And that’s all I’m going to say about this campaign for now. In the weeks and months ahead, when the data becomes complete and our understanding of it is clear, I’ll almost certainly have more to say. Right now, though, I don’t want to contribute to the noise, because that’s one campaign aftermath that I can certainly do without.

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