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  • Writer's pictureLauren Dingsdale

It’s time to really listen

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

I have many theories about why we lost in Hartlepool. But they are just that - theories. Because quite simply - this time round - I wasn’t able to knock on any doors.


And I don’t know Hartlepool very well. My childhood boyfriend was from Hartlepool. We went out there occasionally. But that is the extent of my Hartlepool experience. And contrary to the popular rhetoric - the North is not a monolithic whole. Neither is the North East. Nor is Teesside.


If we want to know what really happened in Hartlepool - we shouldn’t ask the media - we shouldn’t ask the leadership - we should ask the activists. In Keir’s position - I would ask Paul Williams who his top ten doorknockers were. And I would talk to them. I would also get my team to interview every losing candidate in every key seat, whether parliamentary, council, mayoralty or PCC, and find out what the public were thinking across the country.



As many of will you know - if you are reading this blog - I was the parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland for nearly 2 years. I knocked on a LOT of doors. My team and I believed strongly in listening - in making that personal connection. But after I lost in December 2019, nobody from the Party asked me why the people in Brotton, Skelton and Carlin How had turned away from us. And nobody asked my fellow target seat candidates either. There were c.80 of us across the country - in position for 1-2 years - and nobody asked us what we learnt in our respective patches. Asked us why we thought we lost and what issues kept coming up on the doorstep.

The Labour Party cannot make policy in a closed room in London. It’s time to really listen. For our activists to listen to voters. And for our leadership to listen to our activists. The next election could be our last chance.

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8 comentários


teddyrogers60
10 de mai. de 2021

Unfortunately the Labour party in certain parts, if not most parts of the North East is just so divided that activists out door knocking are 'encouraged' to record only the reasons that suit their particular tribal rhetoric, i.e. not all comments the general public give are recorded or at best are skewed.

For example, if you are a Jeremy Corbyn supporting activist, none or mostly no negative comments about Jeremy are recorded, or if you are not a Jeremy Corbyn supporting activist most favourable comments made about Jeremy Corbyn are not recorded. The Labour party in the North East is toxic, riddled with careerist candidates, parachuted in by either the Unions or the current leadership team. The general public can…

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teddyrogers60
10 de mai. de 2021
Respondendo a

Absolutely in no way aimed at Lauren, I attended her organising/canvassing meeting for new activists, she seemed genuinely passionate and caring. Sadly that is a rarity in North East Labour candidates and from what I saw, apart from Andy McDonald from Middlesbrough, most other MPs in NE Labour did not sadly support her campaign

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David Otterson
David Otterson
08 de mai. de 2021

I've thought about this for a while. I worked for 5 years in Hartlepool and got to know it quite well, but that was getting on for 50 years ago when a large portion of working people were employed in the local heavy industries of iron & steel, shipbuilding and chemicals. Union loyalty was strong and the town, which was fairly isolated due to its geographical location but had a great community spirit. Times have changed. Most heavy industry has gone and the motor car has helped people find employment in other towns such as Washington and on Teesside. The collapse of the Labour vote, given the now weak loyalty ties is not surprising. More than a decade of Tory austeri…

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AnotherUnrepresentedVoice
08 de mai. de 2021

Jo Maughm is saying something rather similar


https://twitter.com/JolyonMaugham/status/1390969174286127105?s=19

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lindacwhite17
08 de mai. de 2021

We listened with you Lauren but you are right no one wanted to listen to us.

Our communities felt and still feel a betrayed because we did not support the majority vote for Brexit.

If we believe in democracy we should except and acknowledge the views of the people who voted .

We may not agree with the outcome but that’s not the point is it.!! We wallowed in the situation and just became a party that was seen not to want to accept that the majority of the community we live in has a different view to us . I am afraid Jermery was a victim of this and as our leader the venom was injected and he was hung…

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AnotherUnrepresentedVoice
08 de mai. de 2021

Absolutely on the nail, Lauren. The message that Labour seem to focus on is constantly "same old nasty Tories, we're better by default" - and it's clearly not holding water.


I suspect a lot of people are desperate for change - any change - particularly in places like Hartlepool/Redcar/Middlesbrough with the higher than average rates of unemployment and poverty. With Labour largely in control there since the seventies, it's been too easy for the Tories to point out that things have got worse, not better - despite a lot of the issues stemming from central government policy. Austerity has been particularly cruel in the area... But look! An airport! Brexit! Look what we've got done! What can Labour point…


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