0.7 per cent.
Ask my friend Ally McGovern MP why this is an important figure.
Here is what she will say: first, it is one of our proud legacies from our time in government: Labour’s overseas aid promise to the poorest communities in the world now going through parliament and still opposed by Tory members of parliament.
Second, it is the margin by which she was returned as the Labour MP for Wirral South in the 2010 general election. A hard-fought victory to be proud of, the lessons of which are crucial for the next three months.
We suffered a historic defeat in the 2010 election that means we have to defy history to win in 2015. I believe we can win and seats such as Wirral South where we defied the odds show us how.
Progress highlighted that route map to victory in their Organising to Win pamphlet. And we should learn from them because they hold our ability to govern, to lead, to deliver change.
Change for the people we represent and progress for our country. I am proud to serve as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and to be the education spokesman for our great party. But I did not come into politics to be a spokesman.
I came into politics because I want to play my part in changing Britain. Before entering politics I was fortunate to enjoy a career in broadcasting and academia and as much as I enjoyed those years, I was frustrated by the inability to lead, unable to convert argument into action.
As an history lecturer, I met young people who had to overcome extraordinary odds to make it to university. And, while I was always impressed by their commitment and grit, it frustrated me to know that there were tens of thousands of others who would have relished the opportunity of higher education but were held back by poverty, poor expectations or an inadequate education.
I am in politics to change that.
To be in government is the opportunity to reform and to deliver. It is a well-used line, but no good day in opposition can come close to even a bad day in government.
And that is why I am incredibly energised by the upcoming campaign.
I stood to be an MP so that we could deliver greater access to universities for kids from working-class backgrounds and more high-quality apprenticeships for young people from all backgrounds; end the plight of low-skill, low wage, zero-hour employment and the insecurities that brings for individuals and families; and protect sure start services for young families that battle inequality in the early years.
But to deliver that in government, we need to win where it matters. So, what did we learn from those seats in 2010 that defied the odds to return a Labour MP?
In Wirral South the ingredients were a great and authentic local candidate, combined with a rigorous data-driven campaign. In Birmingham Edgbaston a pioneering volunteer recruitment strategy came into its own. But at the heart of these campaigns were the supporters and volunteers who will again determine the outcome of this election, seat by seat.
Because, while the national campaign is delivering a vision for Britain under a future Labour government, it is on the ground in the marginals that this campaign will be won and lost.
Now Progress is putting the theory into practice with the launch of Operation Flight this Saturday which is just one of the ways this organisation will be doing all it can to ensure a Labour victory in May.
The pollsters are pretty clear about one thing in this election: uniform swing is a thing of the past. Variations in our battleground seats will be the rule rather than the exception.
It is the contact rate returns, our army of dedicated organisers, the recruitment and training of volunteers, the effective use of data – these are the tried-and-tested components of the campaign. It will be the organisation at constituency level that matters the most in the weeks and months ahead. I have seen it for myself in places like Thurrock, Redcar and Warrington South, where Polly Billington, Anna Turley and Nick Bent are leading brilliant campaigns.
On Saturday I will be joining Dawn Butler and a team of campaigners from across the Labour movement to take to the doors in Brent Central as we build towards taking back the seat from the Liberal Democrats. It is part of Progress’s day of campaigning in nine seats across the country where the first-term incumbent MPs are standing down.
Each individual jumping ship will have his or her own reason for not contesting in the election in May. But it is the sign of a tired government and political party that so many – in particular the 2010 intake – are stepping down from the contest. It too is the sign of a political party that once in power, does not know what it wants to achieve.
To them we say ‘Stand aside. We are not here to make up the numbers. We are here to change our country for a better, progressive future.’ And as we begin the final furlong, it falls on all of us in the Labour movement to retain a laser-like focus on one thing: winning for Labour, delivering for Britain.
Join us in a seat near you. Find out more and join us on Operation Flight here
Tristram Hunt MP is shadow secretary of state for education
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