34 More Mondays and the Need for Knee-jerk Incompetence

I think we need to offer a strong congratulations to Max Nelson @maxnelson120 for the great campaign he waged for the Old Dean by-election. Having seen it from up-close and personal for every day of the last 3 weeks of the campaign, we did everything we could do to win.  By the end, every street had been canvassed 3 times, every phone number we had was called 3 times, and we had as good a set of data as you can have in this short a time period.  We also got a great deal of help from the guys at Conservative Support in London.  We employed the very latest technology in data collection and data analysis, and I am confident that there was not one more thing we could have done to win under the circumstances we were given.  So here are the actual results with the actual differences from 3 years ago:

Lab 290 44%
Con 196 30%
Ukip 171 26%
Total 657

Lab 553 54%
Con 337 33%
Ukip 130 13%
Total 1020

So, we can see:
1.       The voter turnout was very low vs. 3 years ago, which was not high then
2.       We lost 3% share from 3 years ago, working very hard to get what we got.  So, as hard as we worked, we still lost 3% share
3.       Ukip gained 13% share by doing absolutely nothing. We never once saw Eddie on the campaign trail, didn’t see a Ukip leaflet, nothing…
4.       Labour lost 10% share from 3 years ago using every known Labour tactic, they worked just as hard if not harder than us…

What we can see from this is that Ukip’s gain, in strict mathematical terms; came 3% directly from us and 10% directly from Labour, and really nothing from the composite whole.  As a little local by-election, comparison to the rest of Surrey Heath and the national scene that we are going into is dubious at best.  However, there are some strands of truth here that we need to pay very close attention to:

1.       Because we had such strong effort from everyone involved, we can take some conclusion as to the effort that is available in each ward in the election coming up.  That is, we could not possibly muster this much effort in any one ward in the next election, so we have to understand just how much work is in front of us here over the next 8 months
2.       Ukip is perceived as taking the most from the conservatives, but that is not true. Labour lost a lot more to them than we did.  A claim that a vote for Ukip is an absolute vote putting Ed Milliband into #10 Downing Street is probably not exactly correct. The veracity impact of the Ukip position was approximately 25% in this local election of what it will be in the national election.
3.       In the upcoming election, on the door canvassing is central to our position. The next most important activity is our social media reach out.  In the selection process, we can only afford candidates who are prepared to be part of a team to canvass every door in their respective wards over the next 8 months and reach out aggressively by social media.
4.       We need to take advantage of the latest technology to make our efforts pay off. We need to call on the right houses on the right roads and learn how to use the technology to nurture our base
5.       There is a big component to this whole strategy process that can only come from our leadership. We could say whatever we wanted on the doorstep, but Ukip grew in stature by doing absolutely nothing on the campaign trail, they didn’t even have someone telling…

The particular issue that we heard about over and over from the Ukip supporters was immigration.  I think that this is the reason why it affects the Labour strongholds of what is referred to as the “working class” the most.  We continuously heard of the jobs from the tradespeople that work on the Old Dean losing out to Poles and Eastern Europeans, who are part of the “New Europe”.  All the difficulties of that “New Europe” immigration were handed to us by Labour… These voters are the people most directly affected, and these are the people who are going to take that to the ballot box.  What we further heard, is that whilst they appreciate the hardening position we have on immigration, they do not trust any governmental administrative entity to make it work, because whilst we talk a lot, there has been no real change in immigration numbers from their perspective. It is pointless to tell people we have slowed immigration from 300K to 250k people…  Policy statements and small wins in this battle are meaningless to the man on the street, and don’t get them started on the ISIS people returning to the UK…

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