In the June 8th General Election, our Parliamentary candidate Fiona Colley significantly raised the Labour share of the vote in Woking, from 16% to 23.8%. We would like to thank her for her consistent and cheerful leadership during the campaign and for her clarity of contributions and ready responses at the hustings on June 1st at the HG Wells Conference Centre.
The count also took place at the HG Wells, and while we fortified ourselves at the bar swapping news about the exit polls the boxes began to arrive from the polling stations at 10.15pm. The exit polls were showing Labour much higher than expected against the Tories and turned out later to be uncannily accurate.
The Conservative Jonathan Lord came in with 29,903 (29,199 in 2015), Fiona second with 13,179 (the Labour share was just 8,389 in ’15), Lib Dem’s Will Forster 9,711 (6,047), Ukip 1,161 (5,873), and the others far behind. The turnout was 72%, with young voter turnout massively greater than before. If more young voters understood how their votes can influence the policy-makers on issues affecting them they would make sure they got registered and voted. The count finished at around 4am, more like the old days when the count always took place on the same day as the vote, and finished in the wee small hours with the sky getting light and the birds waking up.
In spite of the short notice given of the election we managed to have canvassing on several Saturday mornings and afternoons, on Sunday afternoons and, in the last two weeks, nightly canvassing from 6.30 until the light was fading. Our Newsflashes and social media produced a higher level of new support than in previous years, and new and old supporters also offered to help with leaflet deliveries. Four members also went over last Friday to canvass in Slough and three to Brentford and Isleworth for the Get-Out-The-Vote on polling day as both were marginals. Both were won comfortably by Labour.
Looking ahead to the 2018 borough elections next May, this result gives Labour a good platform for raising our vote. Jeremy Corbyn has confounded the critics and much of the uncertainty we met on the doorstep will have gone. We found a great deal of support for Labour values and the Labour manifesto and if more of the Labour parliamentary party can support Corbyn now, the vote should rise even further in Woking. We need our members and supporters to give more help with canvassing, delivering, street stalls and demos around the local issues we are working on.
Join in with the debates at our meetings every month (except August). Street stalls will be running on Saturdays from 11–2 in the town centre and we need your help. Canvassing will be stepped up from September onwards and is the best way to win votes. It is enjoyable and not difficult at all so long as you like people! Don’t stop now. Let this election be the template from now on and keep the momentum going. All dates and details will be on the Newsflashes, website and social media – so just turn up.