Whether as part of national campaigns, or grassroots constituency-level activism, Bristol is seeing a surge of activity towards creating ‘progressive alliances’ to keep the Conservatives out.
If you’ve received a door knock during this election period, it may not necessarily have been from your typical staunch party member: In Bristol, under the rallying cry of ‘stop the Tories’ and backed by local or national tactical voting campaigns, many people have been canvassing for the first time, whether or not they’re affiliated with any particular party.
Despite no official alliance building between the ‘progressive’ parties – Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems – on a national level, grassroots and non-aligned movements to support the Conservative’s strongest progressive challenger in any given constituency have gone from strength to strength.
Here, two campaigners talk about what motivated them to hit the streets of Bristol.
“60% of people signing up to take part in canvassing events have never done anything like this before.”
My first thought, when the election was called back in April was “Oh No, not another election!” My second thought – how can we stop the Tories?
Inspired by the leadership of Caroline Lucas (Green), Clive Lewis (Labour) and Paul Chandler (Lib Dems), who have been so supportive of progressive alliances, I decided that for this election, I would put party politics aside, roll up my selves and get involved.
In order to stop the Tories, we have to vote for and campaign with any progressive party that could challenge them. This has been the hallmark of this election: tactical voting, alliance building and campaigning together.
I live in Bristol West and have the luxury of choosing between progressive parties – as a long time supporter of the Green Party, I will vote with my heart on June 8th. The majority of people across the UK don’t find themselves in the same position.
Because of our broken voting system, most votes for progressive parties won’t count. Bristol East and Bristol South are being targeted by the Tories who want to take both seats from Labour and Bristol North is currently held by Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie.
In order to mount a challenge, we not only have to vote Labour in these three Bristol seats to keep the Tories out, we have to get out on the doorstep and have conversations in our communities. In Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy only won by 3980 votes in 2015. UKIP got 7000 votes last time and they aren’t standing a candidate!
That’s why I got involved in Campaign Together. We are recruiting, training and organising thousands of people over the UK to get out into the streets to stop the Tories.
Here in Bristol we have had dozens of first time canvassers get involved coming out on the doorstep, organising meet ups and supporting each other. 60% of people signing up to take part in canvassing events have never done anything like this before.
To date there has been 32 Campaign Together canvassing events in 25 marginal seats across the UK. The sheer numbers of people getting involved is giving me hope that this time, we will make a difference to the outcome of the general election.
We have been finding out the times of canvassing in Bristol East and Bristol South, inviting people to come along half an hour beforehand to a nearby café to talk about what to expect on the doorstep, then meeting up with the local party and speaking to people about how they plan on voting on 8th June. The energy has been amazing – with people coming back again and again to have as many conversations as we can before election day.
With less than a week until polling day, we need even more of us to get involved. To stop the Tories, now’s the time to show up, talk to people and campaign together!
Originally posted on https://thebristolcable.org/2017/06/voices-keeping-tories-tactical-voting/