There were lots of volunteers today in Barking and Dagenham to deliver leaflets for 'Hope not Hate'. Labour Party activists were out in force too, delivering direct mail for Jon Cruddas MP in the Dagenham constituency. I know. I was out with them all day.
Next Tuesday, I hope to be able to persuade my colleagues on the Labour Party National Executive Committee to compare the capacity of the 'Party on the Ground' in Stoke-on-Trent with that of B&D. There is a history of interventions by the Party heirarchy in both locations, protracted in S-o-T. It has got to stop. People don't join the Labour Party to be told what to think by hired hands, whether they are in the employment of the Labour Party itself, or one of its affiliated organisations.
There has to be discipline, yes. But, in any event, that does not extend to threatening disciplinary action against members who mobilised public opinion to oppose policies imposed by former Labour leader Tony Blair. I am assured by colleagues on the Org Sub that there is no-one on that body (that is 'managing' S-o-T) that supports the 'elected mayoral' model for local government. That's very encouraging. So why are Labour Party stalwarts that organised the successful community-based referendum campaign to get rid of the elected mayor in Stoke in 2008 (Democracy4Stoke) being hounded by the Labour Party NEC today in 2010?
There is a time and a place for everything. It is said. Now is not the time for shooting ourselves in the foot. Listening to BNP newspaper deliverers in Blake Avenue, Barking was a stark reminder of how much prominence Labour must give to home building and job creation in its next Manifesto. As important is the task of rebuilding the Labour Party on the ground. That challenge was not helped last week by a regional Labour Party officer wrongly instructing CLPs not to hold AGMs this side of the election. If there is a suspicion that 'outsiders' are rigging outcomes in the Labour Party, why would anyone want to join, if only to campaign?
That's the real nature of the challenge facing Labour in the General Election, not David Cameron.