What you do now is…

You were as upset by what happened in Manchester. You’ve been all keyed up trying to do your best for a fast and furious election campaign, and now you feel sad and sorry and worried sick. The campaign’s been halted. And while you sit there trying to work out the rules, (Tory) government ministers are on TV and radio, telling listeners how they’ll keep us all safe, and the media billionaires and their right-wing supporters run riot all over the news stands and social media.

You can’t go out there and remind everyone it was Theresa May as past Home Secretary, and Amber Rudd as present Home Secretary, who sold the police and the army short, or that they are ‘keeping us safe’ by deploying police and soldiers around vulnerable places like Buck House and Westminster… because that would be campaigning.

The postal votes will be arriving now… You don’t trust the postal vote system. You start to panic – you start sharing stuff on Facebook, you feel bad about it so you stop, and start chewing the wallpaper. Then you start actually thinking.

The Tories have always won elections by doing manipulative things, and they’ve always won them with a minority of the votes. It’s how they are. But sometimes, we win anyway. How do we do that…? We are the many. We do it when we think and talk effectively together. So while we’re waiting for the campaign to start again, let’s calm down and do some thinking and talking. Things to think about:

Do now:

People in and around Manchester are doing good work that deserves support: looking after each other, planning ‘Boycott the S*n’ and communities together initiatives, and seeing off racists and troublemakers. We can help by sharing and adding to anything that brings people together, diffuses hate and fear, and promotes healing and sociable behavaour.

Plan now, do later:

If you’re going to do online campaigning next week, it’ll need to be really fast-acting, so get some *really* good advice about how to do it effectively, make sure you understand the details and collect and/or make some materials you can post, come the time. I like this advice…

Labour’s Digital Army

If you’re going to work out and about, contact your local campaign office and make sure you know what they need most next week – canvassers, phone bankers, leafleteers, stall-minders – whatever. Choose a job, make sure you understand the best time and place to do it, and prepare.

Look at the state of the likely vote in your constituency. Make sure you understand the best way to get the Tories out of *your* town, and find out who else is working towards the same goal. Even if they aren’t your usual allies, see if you can talk to them. Where I live, last time around was a close run between Labour and Tory. the Greens have stood down now, so the other parties with candidates don’t matter much. With the Greens and some non-party aligned groups, we’ve been concentrating on persuading people to register and pledge to vote. Now, we will have a week to talk up Labour. What are we going to say?

We’ll be talking a lot about pensioners – about how a Labour vote will protect pensions and winter fuel allowance, about how the Tories are dangerously changeable in their commitment to social care and the NHS.

We’ll be talking about doctors, nurses, teachers, the police and the fire service, all of whom have had a really hard time under the Tory government, all of whom are recognised by Labour as important people, who must be provided for properly.

We’ll be talking about the crises in transport, the environment, and everywhere else that the Tories have been putting business interest above our safety and our future.

We’ll be talking about people who are vulnerable through disability, low pay or other reasons, and how Labour offer a world where those people won’t be routinely bullied by ‘welfare agencies’.

And we’ll be talking to people who have been persuaded to doubt Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. We’ll be looking for opportunities to point out that all the people who have spread slander and doubts about these two have something in common – they are very, very rich, and they don’t like paying tax. Whether they be newspaper owners or millionaire politicians, they are protecting themselves, not us. They just can’t accept that the rich have to pay a bit more tax so that the poor can survive. We’ll be asking people to set personal prejudices aside for now, and look at policies. If they want a health service, secure housing, care for their elderly relatives and a future for their kids, whatever they think of Corbyn and McDonnell, they can be assured that there are half a million people in the Labour Party who want a government that provides the things we all need. Half a million people are hard to ignore. Tell them they need to turn out the Tories, and look to the party with half a million people standing by to defend the manifesto for the many, not the few.

So – Pause… Breathe… Think… Talk… It’ll soon be the weekend, then we’ll be READY!

***Update: Thursday – local campaign ON! Friday national campaign ON!***


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