Operation Flight landing card

Progress volunteers started 4,526 conversations for Labour  candidates in the nine seats coalition MPs are giving up on

A message from your captain

I was perhaps the only person that day making the journey from Barrow in Cumbria to Cradley Heath in the Black Country. Four trains and one car ride later I arrived to see over 20 canvassers from as far away in the opposite direction as London ready to go out in the cold and knock on doors for our excellent candidate for Dudley South, Natasha Millward. One highlight of the day was canvassing a voter dressed as Superman, as well as a lunchtime trip to the historic Ma Pardoe’s pub, and views of the countryside from the hills of Netherton. Local members were extremely welcoming – and voters were most unimpressed at the Tory member of parliament’s decision to quit after just one term. We will all be rooting for Natasha on 7 May and hoping that our 350 contacts  made one frosty January day will have made the difference this crucial seat needs.

John Woodcock MP, chair of Progress

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Why Knowsley needs North Warwickshire

For those in my home seat of Knowsley, who have endured the worst excesses of this government, it has never been so crucial for Labour to win voters of North Warwickshire.

Just 54 votes were the difference in 2010 as the seat switched to the Conservatives from Labour for the first time since 1992. The 202 conversations we had on Operation Flight could prove crucial in overturning this slim deficit.

While the election will be won and lost in key seats, it is a battle for our most deprived communities. This time around, those 54 people could be the difference between a Labour government and consigning our poorest communities to a generation of Conservative rule they can ill-afford.

Sian Penny is membership and stakeholders officer at Progress

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Hove into view

I never imagined that when Operation Flight landed in Hove it would turn out to be a double-decker super-jumbo!

You know that feeling when you throw a party and an hour before it starts you’re wondering if anyone will turn up? Or, worse, there’ll be two of you there to enjoy a five-hour playlist and 85 cans of larger. That’s what it was like standing in the campaign office alongside my superb organisers at 10.30am on Operation Flight morning.

But then activists came piling through the door – over 70 of them! Many locals from Hove and Portslade, some fantastic new and eager faces from Labour Students and LGBT Labour, and some hardbitten veterans of the campaign trail, like Steve Reed MP. What a team.

Quick as a flash people were grouped and dispatched in waiting cars to every ward in the constituency, bouncing back at lunchtime full of laughs and insights from the doorsteps to be shared along with the 65 pizzas on hand to fuel our hungry team.

By the time we made it to the pub that evening (thanks, Lord Alli, for getting the drinks in!), we’d logged 1,000 conversations with local residents.

The contribution to my campaign to bring fairness back to Hove and Portslade was immense. It also gave us the chance to test our organisation and systems to the max so we treated it as our first election-day rehearsal.

In a race this close every person who helps in Hove and Portslade will be the person who wins the seat back for Labour, so you can imagine how grateful I am to everyone who came to Hove under Progress’ inclusive banner.

Peter Kyle is parliamentary candidate for Hove

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“None of us wants to wake up on 8 May and wish we had done more.”

Johanna Baxter, Labour’s NEC, who campaigned in Erewash

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One thing you can do for Labour

Ed Miliband has said he wants to have four million conversations by 7 May 2015. On Operation Flight over 50 volunteers knocked on doors in Cardiff North, talking to them about how they plan to vote in May. If there is one thing you do to help Labour win, try joining a doorknocking team. If you like talking to people you’ll enjoy it. Positive, productive and powerful.

Mari Williams is parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North

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Progressive centre-ground Labour politics does not come for free.

It takes time, commitment and money to build a fight against the forces of conservatism. If you value the work Progress does, please support us by becoming a member, subscriber or donating.

Our work depends on you.

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