Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections

Labour’s Labour (NE)

Labour has an interesting webpage on its website indicating where it wants workers. It appears to work via a double lookup. From your postcode it determines your constituency and from that it indicates the constituency where they would like you to work – together with any events in that constituency and RSVP Buttons.

You live in XXXX

We’ve identified our battleground seats that are crucial to secure a Labour victory. Your nearest one is YYYY.

In 2010, we lost this seat by just nnn votes to the Tories.

Come along to an event and join the amazing volunteers helping to win back YYYY and elect a Labour government on 7 May.

Door knocking late afternoon – YYYY

23 April 2015

YYYY Campaign Office, …….  15:15 – 17:00

Please come support our YYYY campaign and help Labours PPC ZZZZZ elected.
You will need to arrive at the campaign office by 3:15am. When we will… (more)


This event is in a battleground seat.

The question is what does this tool say about Labour’s strategy?

Looking at the North of England Constituencies (by own region) shows some interesting directing:

Target Seat
Wants Workers from
Lib Dem by 5214
Bishop Auckland
Durham City
Durham North West
Houghton and Sunderland South
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Newcastle upon Tyne East
Newcastle upon Tyne North
Richmond (Yorks)
Scarborough and Whitby
Sunderland Central
Washington and Sunderland West
Conservative by 853
Berwick on Tweed
Blyth Valley
Penrith and the Borders
Morecambe and Lunesdale
Conservative by 866
Morecambe and Lunesdale.
Barrow and Furness
Westmorland and Lonsdale
Stockton South
Conservative by 332
Stockton South
Conservative by 332
Stockton South
Durham North
North Tyneside
South Shields
Stockton North
No Direction for workers in: Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
Conservative by 4194
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Points to note:

  1. They are not (publicly) directing workers into their marginals:
    • Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland they hold by 1677 votes from the Tories (26th most marginal, The Conservatives 21st target)
  2. Carlisle seems to be getting workers from Northumberland and Cumbria constituencies
  3. Stockton South and Redcar seem to be getting workers from Tyne and Wear, Durham and Cleveland constituencies with no discernible reason for choosing one or the other.
  4. They seem to be putting more workers into Lib Dem held Redcar (majority 5214) than they are into Conservative held Stockton South (majority 332). Given that they have to beat the Tories to form a government, this seems a bit strange. Is the emphasis on ejecting the Liberals (potential coalition partners?) from Redcar just bloody mindedness?

It is a shame (but logically and pragmatically sensible) that so few constituencies in the North of England are worth more than a minimal campaign. Most of the seats they hold are “safe seats” (rosettes on a donkey territory) and only half the seats they don’t hold have any attraction. That is the meaning of being “outside the marginals


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