Labour’s performance in the recent general election of 2017 is notable for the big progress that Labour made across Devon. Although, much of the increase in the vote was predicted by pollsters like Yougov, it was still difficult to get the message across to voters in a credible way. Both Liberal Democrats and those on the right of the Labour Party found it difficult to credit that Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal to Lib Dem and Green voters made it highly likely that Labour’s vote share would surpass that of the Lib Dems in Devon.
The Lib Dems once again made a big play of the need to tactically vote for them to remove the Tories in almost all seats being contest outside of those in Plymouth and Exeter. The result shows that only in North Devon is there an argument for tactical voting, everywhere else including Torbay were Lib Dems still managed second place, the tactical voting argument has been removed, or in some places reversed between the parties.
However, this does not mean that we on the left of the Party can rest on our laurels and expect both the Lib Dems and critics on the right of the Party to accept this change as the new reality. Indeed, it is incumbent on us to consolidate this outcome by continuing to develop and improve our campaigning across Devon. This has not been a traditional Labour area, and campaigning outside the main cities has never been done effectively by Labour.
So it is Red Labour’s task to empower the membership and grow the public support for socialist ideas so that we can not just secure our status of second place across Devon, but improve upon it and win more seats at the next election.