Seeing somebody win feels great and being part of that victory feel even better. Taking the win for Sarah Jones here in Croydon by itself, I am over the moon.
The new and the old in terms of age and campaigning experience came together from the whole of London and the South East to get leaflets delivered, doors knocked and people from behind the door to the polling station. Activism here as well as up and down the country has been absolutely fantastic and this thanks nearly solely goes to Corbyn and Momentum for mobilising, engaging and being ready for the fight.
But we also found certain seats being ignored by interal groups deciding on funding and visits because many inside the party machine simply did not believe, in fact did not want to believe, anything close to a victory was possible. I was told by London Young Labour they had not been told to come campaign in 165-seat Tory majority Croydon but instead focus on seats we already held – all of which seen majorities hugely increase. Croydon South, our official twinned constitency, seemed to put personal spats ahead of the party by instead sending members to Brighton and Ilford (a few comrades realised the struggle closer to home and proudly stood alongside us). With massive organisation from Momentum we did it without them; hundreds of members flocking to Croydon on a weekend, bank holiday and the night before the election we were out in force. Green members and Lib Dems appeared after spotting a chance to see a seat stop being blue and to hope to banish the Torys for good. Without the grassroots, the believers from the start and the manifesto our victory would have been more tiring than the uphill trek to Park Hill Park.
Despite all the positivity and people exposing themselves as popularists rather than policyists there is the reality that not enough was done elsewhere. We put resources into too few pies that left us just short of enough to take away a tasty winning slice. We need to get out on those now marginal doorsteps this weekend and every weekend so we are ready for when the next election comes – it is coming just simply a case of how soon.
We need to go to colleges, talk in streets as shops close where a lot of young people work and get people registered to vote whether it is for local or national elections because if a national one hits we suddenly find ourselves with too little time to give it priority.
All the people that got involved in person and online need to carry on talking about Labour, the policies and impact on lives in school, the workplace, in the playground whilst waiting to pick the kids up, on social media and so much more. So many had and still do have hope in the manifesto that we cannot let that die; we cannot let the people that depend on us and our changes die. We need to keep the talk and political engagement going until we need it to happen again because we cannot let people feel used by us because it suits us in that moment.
Sure we haven’t carried Corbyn into No.10 YET but we need to be ready to fight the Torys, show public unhappiness, bash the DUP and most importantly fight the next battle. Get your batch cooking recipes and tupperware ready because it’s time to stay engaged, alert and ready.
Labour can do this. We can do this. You can do this.