Back to my roots

I moved back to North Kensington in May.

This is the area in west London where I grew up: where I first played football (in St Marks Park); where I learned to ride a bike (in Kensington Gardens) was taught how to swim (in the arctic Kensington New Pools); and where I went to school, first at Fox Primary and then at Holland Park Secondary; and where being called Crispin was no big deal.

Walking around the area brings up many memories. The Corner Shop in Cornwall Crescent, where we lived, is now closed. But I remember running there with the odd two pence piece to buy penny chews. I remember a neighbour buying me my first ‘Milky Way’ there too. The launderette is still there, and it was surrounded by the big washing machines that I had my first packet of ‘Quavers’. The library in Ladbroke Grove which, thankfully, is still open owing to the work of campaigners, was where I remember reading a very useful book about how to stop hiccups and where my mum used to take out French novels.

Aside from these trivial reflections, my abiding memory of childhood is of a community where diversity was championed and people from all over the borough mostly got along well. Some pupils in my class came from the big houses at the top of the hill by Ladbroke Grove; others came from tower blocks. Both my schools had more nationalities than any others in the country. I can say this with confidence because, not only did they contain a great mix of nationalities living in the borough, but also children of ambassadors in the dozens of embassies around Kensington.

Grenfell Tower fire

I was shaken out of this state of recollection of times past by the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June.

I heard helicopters circling above for most of that night but I assumed this was a police pursuit and drifted in and out of sleep. But then to wake up and see horrific pictures of the fire brought an immediate urge to help. My partner and I went to buy clothing and food from the supermarket but it was hard to find where to take it as, before long, each emergency centre was reporting it had no more room.

About mid-morning, we arrived at the Tabernacle Christian Centre to find dozens of people helping the relief effort, sifting through bin liners full of clothes and sorting these out into different piles. Every half minute another person would arrive with bags full of stuff. The spirit of community that I witnessed that morning and for the next few weeks reminded me of what makes humanity great – and it reminded me of the spirit of the area in the 1970s when people from all backgrounds would rally to support local causes.

Within a week of the fire, I realised that it would have a massive psychological effect on those who witnessed it. Having experienced the bus bomb in 2005, I was familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. I contacted the man who ran the 7 July Assistance Centre to ask if he could help. He came along to a small meeting in the Dalgarno Centre and said there would be no immediate call for a trauma centre as the feelings would take a while to process after the fire. He passed on information about best practice and how to run a trauma centre. It’s good to know that there is now a centre up and running that can offer survivors the psychological support they need.

One of the most moving experiences of my life came from attending the first Silent March for Grenfell. Hundreds of people, some angry and some sad, all remaining silent as they walked in rememberance of those who died. At one moment, a woman lost her child. This was the only time the silence was disrupted as people called out to find the girl. Eventually, mother and daughter were reunited and it was incredibly heartwarming.

Grenfell fundraiser e-flyer

Fundraiser on 14 December

In September, I was elected as a joint fundraising officer for Kensington Labour Party. I also put my name forward as a possible candidate for the council elections next May. It will be amazing if Labour could win against the asset-stripping Tories in Kensington & Chelsea. So I have been looking at ways to raise funds for the campaign. I tried to book the Tabernacle for a fundraiser in November but the local party felt that the hire fee was too expensive. Next I tried the WestBank gallery under the Westway. They could only offer me the 14th of December as a date.

I booked a great line up including ‘Grumpy Old Man’ Arthur Smith, comedian and commentator Ava Vidal and Punk Poet Attila the Stockbroker for the gig. However, I then realised that 14th December was the same night as the six-month anniversary of the fire. So I decided that the most appropriate thing to do was to change the evening to a fundraiser for ‘Christmas for Grenfell’, a local initiative which raises money for children traumatised by the fire. I asked the comedians not to perform stand-up but to tell stories or recite poetry instead which they all agreed to do.

The fundraiser has a powerful line up of speakers. Jon Snow from Channel 4 News, Moyra Samuels from Justice 4 Grenfell, Matt Wrack from the Fire Brigades Union, Piers Thompson from Save our Silchester, Abdurahman Sayed from Al Manaar Muslim
Cultural Centre, Reverend Steve Divall from St Helen’s Church and Michael Defoe Director of Harrow Club.

The event will start after people have returned from the Silent March and I have invited speakers from the community to say a few words about their experience, the strength they saw around them, the hope and the fight for justice. There will also be a screening of acclaimed short film that deals with the tragedy, BLINDSPOT.

Tickets for Fundraiser for Grenfell can be bought here.

The day after the fundraiser, I will be attending a Councillor selection meeting for the Labour Party and my hope is that I will be able to stand in Norland, the ward that I was raised in and that my Dad represented as a Councillor when I was an infant. If I do not get selected for that ward, I will try for Campden, where I went to school.

Either way, I will do my best to win the council back for Labour and for the area that means so much to me.

Five reasons to support Stand up for Labour’s Crowdfunder

The Stand up for Labour Crowdfunder will kickstart a comedy/variety tour of the country that will see 50 shows put on in towns across England, Scotland and Wales every year between now and the next General Election.

Here are five reasons why Labour Party supporters should support the Crowdfunder.

1. Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) are skint

In the past few years, CLPs have had to pay for local election campaigns, the EU Referendum campaign, the General Election as well as some Mayoral elections. The situation for CLPs got so bad that many were not able to afford to send delegates to conference and one CLP even had to use a camper van as accommodation for their representatives. Were there a General Election called in the next two years it will be very difficult for CLPs to be able to afford the basics in campaigning literature, let alone anything as beneficial as social media advertising.

Each Stand up for Labour event would be able to raise between £1,000 and £2,000 for CLPs involved – this would depend on how much support/sponsorship we can get from trade unions and other potential sponsors (this sponsorship would cover the costs of the performers/travel/accommodation/promotional material)

2. Many CLPs need support with events and fundraising

Although some CLPs have energetic teams of volunteers who are willing and hard working, most are ill-equipped to organise events that will pull a crowd.

Stand up for Labour has proven experience of putting on successful events all over the country. We literally have the equipment (PA, lights) as well as list of contacts (comedians, poets, singers, even a magician) who are willing to perform for the Labour Party. We also have experience in promoting events and can support CLPs with promotional material (both printed and online).

With the support of sponsors we can also arrange events that would not involve CLPs incurring any financial risk or putting forward any money.

Steve Gribbin 1

3. We offer performers an opportunity to perform political material

In the past five years, Stand up for Labour has booked over 100 performers in over 200 events. Stand up for Labour offers an alternative to ‘Hen’ and ‘Stag’ night crowds where material is often coarse and designed to shock. This has allowed performers to develop thoughtful, political material that has improved the culture of the comedy circuit.

The importance of culture on the political landscape cannot be underestimated. It is often artists and performers who lead the way in changing accepted thinking.

4. Labour needs events that bring supporters together and promote party unity

Stand up for Labour is not allied to any particular faction in the Labour Party. Our aim is party unity. We believe it is vital for the party to unite behind the leader if we are to win the General Election.

Because our events are affordable, we are more accessible than other fundraisers like Gala Dinners and we have succeeded in uniting CLPs in laughter and promoting camaraderie that is sadly often not apparent in business meetings.

Uniting the party

5. We need to keep our spirits up

Most of the country is under a cloud that is far more threatening than the odd Orange sky.

The level of debt is higher than ever, the shambolic reform of the welfare system through Universal Credit has led to more people dependent on foodbanks. And public services, such as schools, hospitals and the emergency services have been run down to the ground by the government’s economic policy.

As well as holding rallies and meetings that direct our anger at what is happening, we also need to lift our spirits.

Light-hearted, entertaining events that bring people together and promote a sense of community and solidarity help to prevent depression and a feeling of hopelessness.

If we have not got the spirit to fight, then we will never win.

Click here to support the Stand up for Labour Crowdfunder.

 

What good can we be if we don’t forgive?

Last week my nine-year-old daughter, Lily, asked me a tough question:

‘Why would someone let off a bomb that would kill them and other people?’

The best way that I could explain how someone could think – and act – in that way is that they cannot forgive. They have become so angry that their rage matters more than its consequences. I asked Lily to imagine the angriest boy in her class being given weapons like knives and bombs. Would they use them when they lost their temper? Possibly.

Online rage

Although it had a less violent effect than terrorism, I encountered another case of rage online yesterday.  An administrator of the facebook page, Nye Bevan News, raged against almost everyone around him. I tried to persuade him that his hard work on the page was appreciated and that it was no use attacking those who worked with him, but he couldn’t stop himself. And now he has dropped out of being an administrator and has hurt several people with aggressive posts. He was unable to forgive people around him for what he perceived as their failings and a lack of respect for him.

Interacting with the man from Nye Bevan News, I could see that I had also felt these feelings of anger towards people in the Labour Party. I never really acted on them except to write a fairly spiky blog or two about how I had been unfairly treated. But I certainly felt resentful towards some people who had seemed to block me from making Stand up for Labour a thriving success.

The conversation I had with my daughter and the experience of the man from Nye Bevan News made me realise that I have to forgive if I am to be of any use. I also believe this is key to Jeremy Corbyn’s success as a Labour leader: he has always been able to forgive people who may have worked against him in the past.

It is clear to me that there is a lot of simmering anger within some people in the Labour Party. There are people who have opposed each other for positions within the party that have not been able to let go of the rivalry and I believe there is still some fallout from the leadership elections in the past two years.

These resentments are doing nobody any good: not the person who holds the resentment (sleepless nights), their family and friends (constantly being bad tempered) or the party itself (no solidarity).

Time to unite

It is clear that the Tories will not let go of power easily so unlikely that there will be a General Election in the next two years.

Now is a good period for everyone in the party to make a concerted effort to forgive each other and move on. Resentments and anger are poisonous and take people away from the sunlight of the spirit – from which we can fight campaigns and win more voters over to our side.

We can get over resentments by stopping creating cartoon images of each other, labelling each other (‘Tories’, ‘Trots’) and by actually getting together for social events that don’t involve sniping.

Stand up for Labour is close to reaching its Crowdfunder target and to starting a tour of CLPs that will engage and unite members behind our common purpose: fighting for social justice and winning power. Our events will chip away at the resentments and bring people together in a way that will be very helpful to the party.

Over 125 people have donated £5 or more to the Crowdfunder. In return they will receive badges, t-shirts, mugs, tickets, signed posters and curry.

Click here to read about the Crowdfunder.

Are the Tories really ‘facing oblivion’?

On the eve of the Conservative Party Conference, John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, has revealed that membership of the Tory Party is set to plummet to 100,000 (and even lower than the Lib Dems). He says that in 300 constituencies, Conservative Party membership has dropped to 100 people or fewer.

‘The party is facing oblivion. If you take the fact only 10 per cent of the membership is likely to be very active they will not have enough people on the ground to fight an election – they won’t even have enough people to man polling stations on the day.’

This may make for pleasant reading for the Labour Party, but I feel Mr Strafford is over-egging this.

Behind the figures

The disparity between the Conservative Party and Labour Party membership figures has a lot to do with leadership elections.

These were certainly the driver behind Labour’s membership reaching over 350,000 in 2015 and nearly 600,000 last year (it’s actually not moved much since then), while Theresa May was elected unopposed last year. People joined the party to support a candidate (mostly one called Jeremy Corbyn).

Were the Conservatives to hold a leadership election before the next General Election, their membership will increase significantly as the candidates jockey for more votes.

Bricks and mortar

The Conservative Party has a far network of party offices that Labour does not have. In many constituencies the Labour Party does not have an office and only sets one up in a shop front during an election campaign.

Another advantage that the Conservative Party has on the ground is its collection of support through nearly 200 Conservative Associations, which offer communities a space for social functions and keep association members in touch with the local Conservative Party. The Labour Party equivalent of this (the National Union of Labour and Socialist Clubs) numbers under 50 in England, Scotland and Wales.

Camper van

The fact that many Constituency Labour Party (CLP) groups are cash starved does not make the situation better. The General Election left CLPs in a situation where many had to start crowdfunders to get delegates to Conference and I know of one CLP that had to sleep in a camper van.

The Labour Party centrally offers £2.50 per year per member to CLPs so this situation on the ground won’t change very much.

Labour’s higher membership offers an opportunity for a strong army of volunteers but it will need more than this if it is to see off the Tories election after election. We need to reach out to those members and keep them engaged. If we don’t have community resources like offices and clubs then we must look for alternatives.

Local parties also know best about the campaigns that matter and so would be best equipped to spend money on social media advertising and other campaigning materials. I spoke to a member of Aldershot CLP at Stand up for Labour’s conference event in Brighton and he said the Labour Party nearly doubled their vote through the use of social media focused on local people. If they had more cash to spend, it could have led to Labour winning an ‘unwinnable’ seat.

I set up Stand up for Labour to support CLPs. It is a way of bringing local members and supporters together in a social setting and creating a sense of community. It also raises valuable money for their campaigns. With other initiatives like this, Labour can transform its advantage in members into something significant and, potentially, wipe the Tories out.

  • Stand up for Labour has set up a Crowdfunder to support a tour of the country that will energise CLPs and raise valuable funds for them. In return for contributions, Stand up for Labour offers tickets for shows, t-shirts, mugs, signed posters or, even, curry!

Energise the CLPs that will win the election

Background

I began my journey in stand-up comedy after a therapist said it would help me get over the trauma from the Tavistock Square bomb on 7 July 2005, where I was 50 yards from the bus when it blew up.

I always enjoyed making people laugh and cheering people up. I took a comedy course and then performed at any comedy club in London that would have me until I was quite good and became a runner-up at the Hackney Empire New Acts competition. I also appeared on Paramount Comedy Channel performing my routine about eating five portions of fruit and vegetables.

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At about the same time as a possible comedy career was taking off, I became a father for the first time. Having a daughter made me suddenly feel more socially responsible. I stopped doing comedy gigs and got a nine to five job in sub-editing articles in magazines and  journals.

I joined the Labour Party the day after Michael Foot died. When I saw the news, it brought tears to my eyes when I reflected on how such a good man was treated with such jeering contempt by the media. It made me aware that Labour had an uphill struggle as party leaders would always be ridiculed by the papers and TV if they ever put forward policies that promoted socialism and peace.

I believed it was important that I make a stand and no longer see politics as something played out for me but as something I can shape myself.

I had a background in politics as my dad had been a Labour councillor in our ward in North Kensington in 1970. He also stood in the general election against David Owen in Plymouth in 1987. He was good friends with Tony Benn, who I used to see a lot in Notting Hill Gate, and my dad also fought for Labour to have a dedicated Arts Policy (something he campaigned for within a group called Arts for Labour).

Labour Party recruitment

When I got to my first Labour Party meetings, I was disappointed to see that there were not many people and also that there was no drive to encourage more recruitment.

I suggested to my local Labour Party branch that we put on a comedy night to raise money and raise our profile in the local community. One or two people said I should give it a try, but generally it was seen as an odd idea.

I booked comedians that I had worked with before, and I called the event ‘Let’s laugh at the Coalition’. We had an audience of about 100 people in a theatre in Brentford and managed to raise a few hundred pounds (it would have been more if I had realised the venue was far too expensive). I also managed to get at least 20 or so people to attend who were not Labour Party members and had never been to a Labour meeting before. Some of these people later joined the party.

Arthur Smith and me on stage

The first Stand up for Labour event came about in June 2012 in Chiswick. The headline act was Arthur Smith and the guest speaker was Ken Livingstone, who had just lost the Mayoral election. I put up posters and flyers all over west London and, because of this (and the line up), the turnout was incredible. We sold all 200 tickets in advance and the room was buzzing with excitement. It was nothing like any other Labour Party event I had ever been to.

The first Stand up for Labour was such a success that other constituencies stared to ask me to put on events. I set up a website and social media pages and this brought with it more and more requests for Stand up for Labour all over the country.

I took as many requests for Stand up for Labour events as I could manage: in total this came to over 200 between 2012 and now.

Putting on these shows involved a lot of work: liaising with constituencies about a date and venue, booking comedians, designing flyers, posters and printed tickets as well as promoting the event on social media, comedy listings and via the Stand up for Labour website.

I also had to buy a durable PA system and stage lighting that I could transport all over the country. I wanted these events to work in any room in any town. We’ve worked in pubs, community centres, night clubs, even a couple of converted churches.

I am proud that I have been able to book over 100 comedians and offer them not only employment but an opportunity to perform to politically savvy audiences. I’ve never asked anyone to perform for free.

However, I did Stand up for Labour as a volunteer.

Mugshot of me 2

How did I do it?

For each event I would cover my own travel expenses and the cost of promotional material through box office revenue. To pay my own bills and support my family, I was working nine to five in freelance sub-editing jobs. I had no job security but this worked for me considering the number of days I had to take off to do Stand up for Labour.

Sadly, I received little help from the Labour Party for these shows. In fact, when I asked if I could have a stand to promote Stand up for Labour at the Brighton Conference in 2013, I was told I would have to pay £1,800 to do so. And I did – with some help from a crowdfunder – because I thought it was important to let as many delegates from CLPs to know what Stand up for Labour could offer.

The way in which my attempts to re-energise the Labour Party were marginalised led me to stand for the Labour Party’s NEC, campaigning primarily for a concerted recruitment drive to take place. I believed then – as now – that Labour can only win with a large, energised membership. I wasn’t standing on an ideological or policy platform – the NEC should be about improving the way the machine is organised. However, I was not ‘on a slate’ so I had no chance of winning – but I certainly made my point.

Jeremy Corbyn leadership

My parents are both Quakers and I was brought up as a pacifist. I didn’t approve of bombing Iraq and I knew from Tavistock Square how traumatic violence is to those who experience it. For this reason, I supported Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to be Labour Party leader as soon as he was on the ballot paper. I organised the first big event of his campaign at the Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden and it was a huge success, with more people inside than was strictly legal. It showed me how much energy there was around his campaign and I had not seen anything like this in the Labour Party before.

People were excited about the idea we could change the way we do politics and that is why there was a massive increase in Labour Party membership.

The surge in membership gave me great hope but I knew that there would be attempts to topple Jeremy Corbyn and undermine this movement. So I thought up #JC4PM, a tour that got big names in comedy, poetry and music to perform in support of Jeremy Corbyn. I wanted to help inspire more people to get active politically.

JC4PM smiling shot

We won sponsorship from Unite the Union and the CWU and, working in a team, we set up gigs in big theatres in England, Scotland and Wales. Over the course of twelve shows, we had 1,200 people attend in Bristol, 900 in Sheffield, 800 in Swansea. These were massive events to organise and I managed to do these at the same time as organising CLP events in places like Banbury, Camberley, Gainsborough and Hertford too. The demand for Stand up for Labour had not stopped.

I followed up some of the #JC4PM shows with a tour during last year’s leadership election. #KeepCorbyn dates were set all over the country (also with some sponsorship from the TSSA and the FBU) but we encountered a problem with attendance as Labour were not promoting these events and the budget constraints on the ‘Jeremy for Labour’ campaign meant that Jeremy Corbyn could not be seen to promote them either. So we lost a lot of money in ticket revenue.

At around the same time as we took a hit from the #KeepCorbyn tour, my freelance jobs dried up, one in  part due to the time I was giving to guess what? Stand up for Labour!

Despite unsuccessful applications for Labour Party jobs in events and fundraising (which I thought I might have stood a chance at?), it hasn’t stopped me believing in the Labour Party and I continue to strive for it to change and improve.

On the phone

General Election campaign

When the 2017 General Election was called, I wanted to do as much as I could to support Labour’s (supposedly doomed) campaign. I drew up a list of constituencies that would be off the beaten track and not in Labour strongholds. Having taken pointers from some #JC4PM shows, we offered a more variety show bill with music and poetry alongside comedy. We also incorporated films from local Labour Party activists who were also filmmakers in a screening slot called Brit Rocks.

A team of us went from Cornwall to Cumbria with projector, projector screen, comedians, poets, singers and a van full of Jeremy Corbyn t-shirts. We filmed all these gigs and shared them widely on social media so people could see that Jeremy Corbyn’s message was popular all over the country – not just in Islington.

Stand up for Labour has improved a lot since 2012. I’ve learned from my mistakes: I learned I had to keep events short as audiences get tired and it’s now less of a comedy night and more of a variety show. The other thing I’ve noticed is that members of the party are often far more entertaining than any of the performers once they get warmed up. As I am the Compere, I have been able to extend the time I spend interacting with the audience.

What next?

I want to continue to energise Labour members and raise funds for CLPs all over the country but I am now overdrawn and am close to reaching my credit limit.

I also have monthly direct debit payments for Stand up for Labour that I am struggling to keep up with. These include: storage for the speakers, mic and other equipment £156.20pm; Adobe creative suite for flyers, tickets and memes £50.57pm, Mailchimp for emailing over 10,000 subscribers £117.29pm, accountancy services from Tax Assist Accountants £183pm and a Registered Office address £23.99.

Over 40 CLPs have written asking me to put on events but I simply cannot afford to do them. The revenue from ticket sales covers the costs of the show and the rest goes to the CLPs. But I have always kept ticket prices low so most people can afford to come. The acts I book would often cost a lot more to see in a comedy club. This model doesn’t leave any slack to pay me and, to be honest, I would feel guilty taking money when the CLPs need it so badly.

My plan therefore, is to raise the money to cover my wage and the costs of the gigs through sponsorship. That way, all of the revenue from tickets can go straight to the CLP. The only cost I am asking the CLP to cover is the venue hire and the reason I am doing this is so that fundraising teams in CLPs take some responsibility for making these shows happen. Often CLPs do not have fundraising skills and, if they are encouraged and guided in this they will push to get the best rate (or for free), pick a venue size they think they can fill and then push to fill it. On this model, the more people the CLP get down to the show, the more money they make.

In order to get this backing and sponsorship, I’ve spent the last month contacting trade unions and other potential donors and asking them to cover the costs of a tour. I am making some progress and have already got the performers’ costs sponsored for the Brighton conference gig. But this process takes time and I need to fill the gap or I risk going under.

People are now talking about two years until the next general election. If I can put on Stand up for Labour shows during that time, particularly in key marginals and previously labelled ‘unwinnable’ seats, I believe this will help win the next general election for Labour. By building membership, energising and boosting morale, helping Fundraising Officers to improve their entrepreneurial skills, raising money so that CLPs have the resources they need to fight the strongest battle they can, I see a role for Stand up for Labour in forging a victory for the Labour Party. But I need your help to do it.

Please contribute as much as you can so that I can reach my fundraising goal of £7,000 and, if you are unable to contribute, it would be really helpful if you could write a testimonial about your own experience of Stand up for Labour, or share the crowdfunder via social media.

The crowdfunding site is here:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/a-tour-for-stand-up-for-labour

Thank you.

Crispin Flintoff, 22 September 2017

 

 

Strengthening CLPs is key to future victory

The results from 8 June showed that a strong presence on the ground is the perfect counter to biased, pro-Conservative media. What I saw on the last day of the campaign was incredible numbers of activists out in west London, bringing with them amazing victories in Ealing Central & Acton and Brentford & Isleworth.

At the Curry for Corbyn discussion last week it was clear that London was very well served by activists. Kensington, Battersea, City of London, Croydon, Chipping Barnet – Labour members from all of these seats talked about the same numbers on the ground.

We have to replicate what happened in London in other areas of the country.

Stand up for Labour is asking Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) to get in touch (contact admin@standupforlabour.co.uk if interested) if they wish to put on a fundraiser. The General Election has depleted funds and there is a strong possibility that another election is on the way in the next year.

A comedy night with local films, poetry and music is also an ideal way to re-mobilise members and supporters. And it’s a great introduction for the thousands of people who have joined since the General Election.

One of the most uplifting aspects of the last General Election campaign was the return of party unity. Labour delivered a fantastic set of policies that we could all be proud of – and were very popular. It’s now time that we talk up party unity and the programme put forward in the manifesto and start to turn marginals into Labour gains. A good way to do this is to bring all members together for an affordable social that raises valuable funds.

1924 and all that

The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has Theresa May’s Tories on the ropes. It is unlikely she will be able to hold on to power for long as she tries to patch together a deal with the DUP while facing mounting criticism from the media and her own party. However, the Labour Party must not take the situation for granted.

The result of the 8 June General Election is very similar to what happened in December 1923 and the signs do not augur well if this comparison sticks.

In December 1923 – as now – the Conservatives were the largest party but unable to form a majority government. The Tory Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, managed to hang on for a month or so but eventually lost a vote of confidence that led to Ramsay MacDonald being asked to form a minority government in January 1924.

1924 Daily Herald

This was the first ever Labour government and – then as now – the media and their allies in the Tory party were quick to paint it as the beginning of the end.

At the time, Winston Churchill said: “The enthronement in office of a Socialist Government will be a serious national misfortune such as has usually befallen great states only on the morrow of defeat in war.”

Because Labour did not have a majority and was dependent on support from the Liberals, its time in government was very short – only 266 days. This meant that little of the Labour Party programme was able to be enacted. The government’s main achievement was the Housing Act, which allowed for more local authority housing, before the Liberals called an end to their deal and a new General Election was called in October 1924.

Before the October 1924 election, Labour was under intense scrutiny from the media and a forged letter (the ‘Zinoviev letter’) was ‘found’ that showed links between the Labour government and the Communist Party in Russia. This is the kind of dirty trick that we are so familiar with, however the main reason Labour lost the October 1924 election was it didn’t seem to be a competent government.

Labour’s competence in 1924 was not helped by such matters as Ramsay MacDonald being both Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, but the main part of the problem was that the government had its hands tied behind its back because of its minority government status.

Any government with no clear mandate and under intense scrutiny will struggle.

The lesson to learn from 1924 is that any Labour government – but especially a radical one – will struggle to get things done unless it forms a majority government.

While the successes of 8 June had a lot to do with Labour’s positive campaign: the manifesto, large public rallies and the popularity of our leader, it cannot be denied that the Conservatives were very poor.

Theresa May

It’s almost impossible to imagine the Conservatives will not improve in the next election so Labour must up its game.

The party machine, starting with Iain McNicol, must work to create an engine for a membership of one million people that will keep them energised, enthusiastic and active. Campaigning at a local level must be encouraged, the selection process for seats must be opened up and there must we must always be on election alert.

If the party apparatus is unable to bring this change then there must be a clear out.

It would be a tragedy if all the hard work put in by activists to support Jeremy Corbyn were to end up with a scenario like 1924 – we need a majority government that can put into practice the policies this country needs so badly.