Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

There is no better time than now to get campaigning

Before last year I had not really been involved with the Labour party. I had not knocked a single door, attended any events or engaged with other members. At the time, paying my membership fees and sharing the same values seemed enough. Yet now, in my second year at university, I look back at everything I missed out on with regret. In the last year I have not only come to see the importance of being an active member but also the huge need for younger people to play a part in building a better future and making their impact. With a general election just around the corner, there is no better time than now to get active.

I’ve gone from deleting emails and dodging calls to travelling across the country for campaign days – sometimes as many as three in a day as part of the 3 Seat Challenge. I have met new people, seen new places and witnessed the impact our movement has on people’s lives. Young people across the country and throughout our party, who share Labour values and that commitment to better future, have been waiting for a chance to join the fight. Progress’ upcoming Operation Flight is that chance. A chance for anyone who is yet to campaign to get out on the doorstep and be a part of this election campaign.

I was honestly surprised when I went to my first campaign event at how enjoyable it was – knocking doors and talking to voters turned out to be an engaging exercise with real impacts. It enabled me to meet genuine people and learn about the problems their families and communities faced. I encountered the same concerns in Loughborough, Glasgow and Brighton as I found in my hometown of Stevenage – the same blend of dissatisfaction with the current state of things and acute optimism for the future that led me to join the Labour Party. Campaigning has shown me that I am far from alone in my concerns; rather, they are shared throughout our movement and across the country by people of all ages.

That is why I will be out on the doorstep for Operation Flight on 10 of January. I hope you will join me and I hope to see many more young people out in the nine seats across the UK. If you have never been on the doorstep before don’t worry! Everyone has been there once and I guarantee that after you have tried it, you will be hooked. The people you meet, the places you see and the impact you have are fantastic. The truth is that young people do have a voice in politics, but if we do not start to speak up now, we will not be heard.

You can sign up to Operation Flight here.


Tom Maisey is a member of Progress. He tweets @TomMaisey

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Tom Maisey

is a member of Progress


  • Tom’s enthusiasm for getting Labour’s message across is commendable; should be encouraged. I’ve dropped leaflets off like TV shot of Ed Balls. A lot of the leaflet ‘copy’ was not up to date and in some cases old literature was used from previous ‘doorstep campaigns’ – unforgivable if they show a wrong candidate as,eg, next councillor. Dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s may be the order of the day. As for a face2face chat on the doorstep? Chancy and a bit hit-and-miss in my experiences [Stoke, Slough, Manchester, Gorbals etc over the years]. I found, like Postman Pat, that unchained ankle-biters gave me more cause for worry than any irate occupant – and have scars to prove it on my old boots.
    There is another downside for me and that is 99% of people I saw didn’t want uninvited door-knocking visitors [I kept accurate logs] especially if that visitor knocks on their door when they were busy cooking supper or in the shower, or whatever reason that disturbed their daily/early evening routines on an uninvited, unsolicited basis. Some were downright rude.” I’m watchin’ flippin’ Corrie! b…off with you!” … oops. What is the best time to call unannounced?

    Assuming Tom gets one new ‘convert’ out of a 100 door-knocks [generous estimate] that’s a 1% conversion rate, assuming the respondee didn’t vote Labour in the 1st place. Ed wants ‘us’ to knock on 4 million doors unannounced: extrapolated converts = 40,000.
    Was it a Redcar canvasser who recently left a message on here about “.. not bothering to drop leaflets off down there as they are staunch Tories?..” then binning hundreds leaflets?
    Getting the message out in this doorstep fashion is good, if only from the ‘every little bit helps’ angle. But I earnestly submit that these campaigns should be more controlled and planned.

    Might be an idea to pre-advise the whole community in the form of a pre-announced arrival card or leaflet which gives an exact date and approximate time of any Labour canvasser’s aeroplane’s ETA [Estimated Time of Arrival] – thereby allowing the householder to have a pre-arranged set of questions drawn up beforehand. “Will you vote for Labour this May?”, as I was asked once in Manchester from a Labour door-knocker evinced a flustered response from me: “Probably…yes” — I was trying to stop a bath towel from falling on to the floor from around my hips and constrain the JR mad-dog of my Aunt’s from tearing a strip from the man’s trews! at the time. I know the cost of a stamp is crazy these days but wasting time dropping leaflets off which in 99% of the cases is immediately binned is also a waste of Tom’s energies.

    Just saying, as we doorstep ‘canvassers’ could make a lot more productive ‘Air Miles’ [in converts terms] from Operation Flight’s Control Tower if some proper thought was put into these well-intentioned but badly-planned doorstep interviews. The Flight Controllers up at the Labour ATC should have Flight Paths pre-arranged to prevent air crashes on the runways. Door-knocking is a fine art form in Salesmanship and needs proper training – it is also the most difficult — ask any travelling Gypsey salesperson down the ages.

  • Cold-Calling over the ‘phone gets same reception as as a Cold-Call on the doorstep – it is seen in 99% of cases as unsolicited. If the canvasser was expected tht is no longer a cold-call or a shock to the system.
    The doorstep cold-caller will in any event get the cold-shoulder if s/he had not booked an appointment. Imagine strolling in to any of the 2 Ed’s offices and just asking for an interview, cold?
    It boils down to simple courtesy. I am looking here at gaining more success on the doorstep and making it easier for the brave Tom’s of this world who are actually on the Front Lines.

    The stat’s on cold-canvassing and leaflet-dropping flyers are less than 1% – ask any ad agency.
    Better using media advert in local ‘rag’ [£50quid] to pre-advise of canvassers imminent arrival.
    Also – why only do this ‘exercise’ once every 5 years a few months’ before the GE – this should be an ongoing, pre-planned campaign strategy.
    Chances are more voters will swing to the likes of a media-savvy ukipper or tory who spends their ad-£-dollars constructively. Not just sending out loyal ground troops as cannon fodder for show.

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