Ed Miliband interviewed in today's Observer newspaper just might be starting to ask pertinent questions about the Labour Party on the ground. According to the paper's political editor, Toby Helm:
At the top of a list of questions he will want to answer is why Labour's canvassing, on the eve of polling, was still showing the party way ahead. "Even by late Wednesday our canvass returns were suggesting that we would win."
The failure to gauge what was happening is part of a wider challenge Miliband wants to address – how to ensure Labour engages better with local people and supporters.
I should point out that I am not the Labour Party's leading expert on canvassing. But I have done my fair share in the last 40 years. Local organisational capacity was my starting point in the Twittersphere as soon as it became evident an upset was in prospect on Thursday night/Friday morning of last week. I asked Fabian Society deputy general secretary @marcusaroberts who was minded to cross his fingers for a Labour retain:
Done CLP audit / electoral ward, membership / campaigning / fundraising capacity? No point crossing fingers.#bradfordwest
This provoked a twitterslapdown from Labour First campaigning guru Luke Akehurst:
@PeterKenyon the Bradford West CLP is extremely active and large so problem not organisational