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Welcome to the inaugural Brian Devlin ‘knock up a friend’ (but not in that way) invitational trophy.

As we move into the last week, I’m going to focus this final blog on Election Day and the ways in which Labour members can get involved in the last big push. Moreover, I’m going to introduce a wild new idea this year for Election Day, the ingenuity of which may startle members of a more fragile disposition.

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First though, a special mention to the team in Gaisford; ably led by Joe Thornton, they achieved something spectacular this week. In one 55 minute blast, Joe, Paul Eustice and Paul Bunting gained 60 Labour promises IN ONE ROAD! I'm not normally big on tweeny acronyms, but OMG! I'm not sure if there is anything in the Guinness Book of Records for 'number of election promises in a Gaisford street' but I'm getting in touch with Norris McWhirter (even if it has to be via a medium). A huge well done to the Gaisford team.

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That's right, sixty promises in under an hour, wot?

In other news this week, Lee Cowen has built on his reputation for bringing big hitters to his ward- Jeremy Corbyn last year and now John Howarth MEP this week. Unconfirmed sources have suggested that Emmanuel Macron will be helping Lee with GOTV next week, in order to cement the special relationship between France and Mash Barn.

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Mash Barn's favourites.

It goes without saying, that we need people to help on Election Day. There is: knocking up (knocking on Labour voters' doors to make sure they have voted); there’s telling (standing at the entrance of the polling booth collecting the voting numbers of the people who have voted, so that we don’t go to houses who have already voted) and there is, of course, offering lifts. In East Worthing, Paul Eustice has offered to help with this role, although he has instituted a zero tolerance ‘no flatulence in his car prior to 10am’ rule. Questions will persist as to why it’s okay after 10am.

I'll help Get Out the Vote

With so many wards, and with us so close in terms of promises in many of these wards, this activity could mean the difference between a Labour or Tory councillor. So if you can skip work, or come before or after work, please do so.

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It's the Selden crew, they like caffeine and beating Tories. And they've already had a coffee.

But this year we have something different, something so devilishly clever and exciting that my plump digits are slipping off the keys of my keyboard in exhilaration as I type it. Named after the man who devised the plan, this year we have the ‘Brian Devlin Labour Party ‘knock up a friend’ (but not like that) Invitational Trophy for getting people you know to vote’. Okay, the title probably needs a bit of work, but you get the gist. This is a competition for EW&S Labour Party members to see who manages to get the most people to vote who might not have otherwise.

trophy.pngAnd this folks, is the trophy. 

Some may think that this trophy is just a picture that I randomly pulled off Google images in 2 seconds, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is the Brian Devlin Labour Party ‘knock up a friend’ (but not like that) Invitational Trophy.

It’s beautiful isn’t it? So, how do you get your hands on this little beauty?

First things first, we’d like to ask every Labour member to ask three people that they know to vote. This is a baseline ask, whether or not you wish to be considered for the trophy. If all 1200 members ask a minimum of three people then that’s an extra 3600 voters spread across the ward. These are the kinds of numbers that will have Tim Loughton and buddies scrabbling for the Imodium. That could really make the difference across our area (lots of people voting that is, not TL running to the loo) so set yourself a task folks. And make sure to remind them where and how to vote. Research says that this increases the chances of voting by 15%. Anyone who gets three or more people to vote is entered into the competition.

Alas, there are of course rules to this competition.

  1. You need to have got three people minimum to enter the competition.
  2. The people you get to vote have to either not have been intending to vote or were equivocal about whether they could be bothered as it’s ‘only the locals’. Shouting at someone on their way to the polling booth that they should vote doesn't count.
  3. The people you get to vote have to not be Tories. If you are unsure whether someone in your social circle is a Tory (because of course they’ll probably want to hide it!) ask them whether they think Grammar schools are a good idea. This should do it. If you are still unsure, follow up with ‘Is benefit spending out of bloody control?’ These two questions positively identify 98% of Conservative voters.
  4. Family members count so get them out on May 3rd. Family members who don’t vote Labour, but will after you’ve worked on them, count double. I’m starting on a total of two since my mum voted Labour for the first time in her 70 years this time around, although a visit from Mel Jenner helped (‘very impressive’) so maybe Mel can have one of the points.
  5. These people have to be in Adur or Worthing. Persuading your friend in The Hebrides to vote Labour isn’t going to get Tim Loughton and buddies scrabbling for the Imodium (ps. apologies for two mental images of Tim Loughton with bowel trouble).
  6. They can't be made-up people, so don’t be trying any Grant Schapps shenanigans. We need real voters.
  7. You can't count yourself, obviously. Unless you were planning on voting Tory, in which case well done for convincing yourself not to.
  8. Only members whose friends are visibly tired of them constantly telling them to vote Labour this week will be considered for the trophy. Documentary evidence of this is not required.

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The unbridled joy of the last day of canvassing.

WE ARE SO CLOSE. Indeed I want to emphasise this so much that this is the first time I've used capital letters (to the great frustration of the people who have been proofing these blogs) [What about IN ONE ROAD?!? - Ed][Oh do shut up Brian - Carl]. Not everyone can help on Election Day but, regardless of whether or not you are energised by our infantilising election game gimmick, if you set yourself a target of at least three people between now and Thursday it might just make the difference.

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Although true happiness is being in Broadwater.

So go on folks, give it a go and tell me how many voters you manage to get. I’ll tally the totals and announce the winner at the next CLP meeting after our astounding election campaign is finished.


When not holding Tory councillors to account or canvassing for your vote, Lee enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music and pointing at poo.

Now help us win!

I'll help Get Out the Vote

What can I do for Election Day?

Welcome to the inaugural Brian Devlin ‘knock up a friend’ (but not in that way) invitational trophy. As we move into the last week, I’m going to focus this final...

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A moment of clarification is necessary before I get to this week’s blog content. A Facebook canvassing conversation in our Labour group turned to the topic of ‘doing the board’ and I mentioned that being good at the board was really important as ‘Jon Roser proved last night’. An unfortunate autospell error on the part of my phone changed ‘proved’ to ‘probed’. So, in the interests of abating any impending legal action I’d like to state for the record that, to the best of my knowledge, at no time did Jon probe me or anyone else during canvassing. He was just very good on the board.

‘We’ll be doing GOTV next week so we need a good turnout’.

I saw this message on our WhatsApp group last year when we were helping Lee in Mash Barn. It was my first campaign helping in local elections. Being a little naive to the world of political acronyms, this honestly sounded to me like a breakfast television programme. As my mind flashed to scenes of Lee telling Holly Willoughby or Susanna Reid how the moribund Tory council had failed the people of Mash Barn, I remember noting that Lee must really know his stuff if he can get a national TV channel to take an interest in a Lancing by-election.

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With every promise comes the victory dance

I texted my mum ‘We might be on telly next week, keep an eye out’. I turned up on the Monday evening all smart and clean-shaved. Even splashed a bit of Brut on. Strangely, all I saw were people talking about ‘getting out the vote’. Yeah that’s great guys but where is GOTV? Where’s Lorraine Kelly? Seriously, I’ve got my best ‘Blue Steel’ ready. But nothing, not even Piers Morgan.

Then the penny dropped.

So folks, what is ‘Get Out The Vote?’ (see capitals for those a little slow on the uptake like myself). GOTV means using leaflets and visits to remind Labour voters about the upcoming polling day, make sure that they remember on the day itself, help them to be able to get to the polling booths and ensure that they have actually voted.

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Lee's hair is hard to tame in this windy weather

So folks, here are 5 things to consider about getting the vote out-

  1. First thing to note (auto correct gave me ‘thong’ there instead of ‘thing’, really must watch that (sorry again Jon’s solicitor)), it’s even nicer than canvassing. Canvassing is fun but like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. GOTV is like canvassing in a dream, because you go to the door of like-minded people who are happy to see you because you’re Labour too. And unlike with my dreams, it doesn’t suddenly end with two kids jumping on my stomach shouting “wake up Daddy!” (Note - if GOTV does end with kids jumping on you then something has gone badly wrong. Talk to your canvassing coordinator). So, if you’ve been a bit unsure up until now, GOTV is the nicest introduction to canvassing you can get.
  2. Does GOTV matter? Research tends to come from the US and so one must treat the results with caution. The US version of Get Out The Vote tends to be organised by the Russian Secret Service and includes mandatory stops at Drive-Thrus to gorge on super-size meal deals. Put that to one side however, and our results show that a well-organized effort can gain a candidate significant percentage points in campaigns. This certainly was the case with the recent by-election won by Beccy Cooper in Marine recently. In terms of mobilization, another study has found that door-to-door GOTV canvassing increases turnout among the contacted households by approximately 4.3 percentage points. Research in 2015 determined that GOTV efforts averaged one vote every 15 door knocks by volunteers. In close seats like Southlands and Selden (and now possibly others in our area) that translates to a couple of evenings’ work by a decent sized team. In short, it really matters so if you’ve not managed to help out so far, come join us.
  3. Research shows that when you encourage people to think through the logistical details of their plans for voting — such as when they intend to head to the polls, how they will get there — then it means that they are more than twice as likely to actually vote. Last year at Mash Barn I said “Hi, just letting people know that the election is on next week/tomorrow/today and asking if they know where it is they are voting”. That usually does this trick. (BTW that autocorrect just inserted ‘receding people’ instead of ‘letting people’ in that sentence. Autocorrect clearly doesn’t know how hard it is to win an election only targeting people with receding hair).
  4. Also, voters who live alone are less likely to have a plan to get to vote than people who live in groups or families, where discussing the next days' events are a natural part of life. Therefore the intervention has much more impact on those who live alone. Worth noting.
  5. Finally, GOTV happens at the same point at which negativity can creep into campaigns. Those who engage in negative politics do so because they know it reduces turnout in their favour as it confirms the public’s idea that "politics is inherently corrupt". This far we have seen wholly inaccurate claims about Labour. More will undoubtedly follow and they will likely intensify. By polling day I expect we’ll find a leaflet claiming that Labour will hike council tax by 200% to fund a policy of emptying bins on their lawns on a daily basis while bellowing ‘The Red flag’ at them. We need to respond with unfettered positivity. First, because it gets people to vote, second because it engages people in politics and lastly because we have an awful lot to be positive about in what we can offer our communities. Keep smiling folks.

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Youth will not spare you canvassing duties

Admittedly I am one of life’s perennial optimists but nonetheless I really do believe that we are on for some special results across Adur and Worthing this May. Having seen most of our candidates close up and seen how hard they are working and how good they are, it’s clear that Adur and Worthing would be an immeasurably better place with this lot in council. However, it’s going to need us to Get Out The Vote.

Let’s get out and do it.

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Is it over yet?

The science of getting the Labour vote out

A moment of clarification is necessary before I get to this week’s blog content. A Facebook canvassing conversation in our Labour group turned to the topic of ‘doing the board’...

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With Carl Walker selfishly taking some time off to 'have a holiday with his family', Pat Schan steps in to give us her news from the north (of East Worthing).

The troops were not in good form for the first day of canvassing due to a combination of old age, dodgy legs, asthma and a cold but being the troopers we are Margaret and I had been to town for the launch with the Worthing West Team – so efficient they kept reminding me of German footballers – and were reporting for duty.

All woes disappeared when members of the dream team were spotted on the corner of Broadwater St East- the triumphs of last summer came flooding back, the laughter and camaraderie you get from spending three solid months in the trenches and more time with them than with your own family.

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You do not mess with the Selden crew

Captain & Mrs Beaumont had us organised spit spot and off we went - soon all the old habits returned – telling Johnnie on the board every conversation in detail - describing pot plants and curtains but forgetting to ask how many voters in the house He’s actually given up telling me their names. I literally put my hand on the gate and instantly forget so revert to my habit of calling them all love or darling. This has not always worked out well and is not to be recommended. Being the peaceful socialist he is though he doesn’t get cross but has this look and occasionally shows a little testiness after a full street of incompetence, but it’s so worth it when you get a promise and he does his victory dance.

So with that we soon fall into our old routines – get in from work, shovel dinner down, grab walking shoes and head for the rendezvous – inevitably just as you get the “I’m running late” text. Before the enlightenment I can’t honestly say I had envisaged a time when I would hang around on street corners wearing a red rosette but this is now so part of my life I barely remember a time before.

I know many members feel anxious about door knocking but given my previously described memory of a gnat, let me assure you that I don’t know the manifesto off by heart or Kier Starmer’s six tests for Brexit (without doubt he uses products in his hair - Carl & I have debated this in the past).

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Oh my word they're everywhere!

I think our aim is to let people see that socialists are nice people and interested in them and their community – I think spending time chatting about everyday life is a good investment - always admire the dog, even if it’s going mental (same rule for kids), the lawn and also go for the sympathy vote. I tell them that I have worked for the NHS for 44 years, that I’m a WASPI woman (important to try and notice when they have glazed over). Humour is also good – I had a very grumpy lady telling me all about how much she disliked and distrusted JC – I told her that I was a little bit in love with him and she roared with laughter and took my leaflet to read. I am also pretty good at bailing out when all is lost and do not enter the ‘flogging a dead horse competition which has been known to be regularly entered by Cathy and Margaret.

Mind you the other day when still under the weather I came upon a very strange man who informed me that he didn’t vote ever, knew Jeremy's brother and went into a long spiel about a Marxist plot. I stood there blankly for a good while – none of my escape tactics were working so I went for “is the porch the original…?”

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David makes a good point

This week we revisited a road which during the GE campaign I disturbed a very cross kipper who was not up for any of my blarney and actually came down the road after us to hurl insults about JC. I was up for round 2 and maybe bit of peace and reconciliation but was outvoted. I just wanted to ring the bell and when he looked in his camera doorbell to see me waving “Hi - I’m back” …

This weekend our merry band set off (33% of us with hideous hangovers (not any of the girls let’s just say – look at the pictures) and we were suddenly confronted by people in other colour rosettes “What madness is this“? we cried.

Our sitting councillor saw us and fled but we were left with a rather stereotypical tory bloke waving his arms about in a military style telling us they “had it all covered – far as the eye can see” (slight exaggeration there) but he did say a 6 street radius. So JB drew himself up to full at least 7ft tall and said “We will do our afternoon boards“ (I’m thinking WHAT AFTERNOON BOARDS ????). So we went round the corner muttering “pants on fire” and just doubled back later. Oh how we laughed and amused ourselves for the rest of the morning imitating the arm waving. Another high spot was realising that pillar boxes are Labour red … It’s heavy political debate in these parts you know.

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But Broadwater's where it's at

We always take lots of selfies, sometimes in the middle of the road and Johnnie always makes a crazy face. Luckily the residents of Broadwater are very used to our antics and have stopped reporting us.

Join Team Broadwater for canvassing – have fun, get a political education and make amazing friends. Always remember the number one aim – Annoy Tim. Tim doesn’t like us and, when he goes on Twitter and Facebook late at night to say rude things about us, we know we are doing ok.

Go on then, sign me up!

So I’ll sign off my musings as the guest blogger and won’t be at all offended by the audible sigh of relief and chorus of “Is Carl back yet?”

Pat Schan, Socialist, Gooner, Midwife and Led Zeppelin fan

Meanwhile in Broadwater...

With Carl Walker selfishly taking some time off to 'have a holiday with his family', Pat Schan steps in to give us her news from the north (of East Worthing)....

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