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Community campaigning, DM-style (aka not even knowing how your members vote)

In Mark Ferguson’s excellent expose of “community campaigning” in South Shields under David Miliband’s watch, he reveals that the voter contact rate (the percentage of people in the constituency for whom the party has a record of voting preference) in the constituency was as low as 0.2%. Based on the electorate in the by-election, that is 0.2% of 62,979 people, or just 126.

Last year, according to the published conference voting figures, South Shields had 392 members. Can it be that not even the party’s members were marked up on the register?

Who would believe that Movement for Change, the home of Community Organising in the Labour Movement, was started as part of David Miliband’s leadership election campaign? But for a shift of 0.65% of the electoral college the wrong way, DM might have been leader. What a lucky escape.

Now Mark also reports that the Labour Whips Office ahave sent out the following message to the Shadow Cabinet:

LabourList are conducting a survey on contact rates. As usual the advice is that it is not in the best interests of the Labour Party to respond to surveys.”

There are some comments on Labour List which suggest that Candidates Contracts could be used to address this issue. I’d  suggest an additional solution: mandatory reselection.

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