From time to time our members share their experiences and advice with us. If you’ve got something to say that will help other Labour women, let us know.
21 ways to get elected as a CLP officer
Dr Laura Nelson is a writer, political blogger and campaigner. Being a lifelong supporter of Labour, she joined the party after the 2010 election, recognising an opportunity to develop a credible opposition and increase public support for the Labour party in the face of reactionary and unfair policies of the Coalition. Becoming quickly active in Labour party politics at both a national and local level, Laura concluded that standing for officer posts would be one of the first steps in making a difference. In February 2012, Laura ran for posts of Vice Chair Membership and Conference Delegate for her constituency Labour party of Ealing North, as well as standing for Chair of her branch. The membership post was a closely fought race, and Laura won by a couple of votes. She shares the secrets her successful campaign here.
Quote: Strategy is key. What do I mean by strategy? It’s a combination of knowing why you are doing it, the steps that will help you to achieve it, and minimising risks along the way. The more knowledge the better, which is why the Labour party rulebook (or the rules which set out how your CLP handles voting) is a handy companion. There is no substitute for face-to-face contact, which is at the heart of building relationships and support. The time invested in sharing your ideas with others pays dividends. In the end, it’s common sense and an authentic vision that will do it, combined with hard work and people skills, good organisation and tact.
1. Know your vision, be confident in what you have to offer: why do you want to do it and what difference will you make?
2. Be honest, open and share your vision
3. Find supporters who share the same vision and stand alongside them if possible
4. Be upfront to people who you are standing against
5. Have a strategy: know who the voting delegates are, identify those who you think will support you and devise a plan to reach out to them (don’t forget union, Fabian and Coop delegates)
6. Organise one-to-ones, visit people’s houses, listen to people’s opinions, ask for feedback
7. Use opportunities such as conferences and dinners to talk about your pitch (if appropriate)
8. Find people who know people and can advocate on your behalf
9. Find out people’s objections and fears to your being elected. Address them
10. Know when branches meet and ask for nominations
11. Recruit new delegates. For example, persuade branch chairs to call AGMs, make use of the young member delegate allowance rule for branches. Meet new delegates and share your vision
12. The Labour party rule book is your bible
13. Have an alternative strategy: what will you do if you don’t get elected?
14. Don’t give up
15. Don’t take it too seriously
16. Be flexible; surprises happen
17. Be ethical
18. Be sensitive
19. Prepare for AGM night. Do delegates need lifts? Have you prepared your hustings speech?
20. Thank people for helping and supporting you
21. When in post, do what you’d said you’d do