I've been asked a number of times if Labour can win in Southport. I personally believe, having been talking to people on the doorstep about this election for six months now, that the 2015 election in Southport will be much closer than any previous contest. I'm going to set out a number of reasons why I believe that Labour can win in Southport.
In November, Lord Ashcroft commissioned a poll of 1001 people in Southport. In answer to the question, If there was a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for? The results were:
Con – 207
UKIP – 173
Lab – 165
Lib Dem – 129
You can see that without any tactical voting Labour outscores the Lib Dems and that overall Southport could be a very close contest.
You can view the poll here: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Southport-poll-tables-Nov-14.pdf
I was told the other week by the national party that individual constituency polls have never been done to the extent that Lord Ashcroft is attempting and that the jury is still out on how effective they actually are. For example, there was a By-Election in Middleton and Heywood in October and the poll by Lord Ashcroft predicted a clear cut win for Labour, http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2014/10/labour-set-clear-win-heywood-middleton/
However the result of that by-election was far from a clear win for Labour, the result was tight. So should we ignore the Lord Ashcroft poll? Who knows but looking at the raw data and having had hundreds of doorstep conversations in Southport I would predict that all four parties will come within 1000 – 2000 votes of each other. In my view it will be close in Southport, which is why I strongly believe that if you support the Labour Party the way to make your vote count in Southport is to vote Labour.
Politics in this country has moved on a great deal since 2010 with the emergence of UKIP. Traditional voting patterns and swings make this year's election unpredictable and due to the media's increased attention to UKIP previous graphs are not relevant in this election. We all start with zero votes! This is the first General Election since the Lib Dems went into government with the Tories.We believe that a huge number of 2010 Lib Dem voters are Labour supporters and have previously "voted tactically to keep the Tories out" but are now ready to turn to us.
This year, Labour is running a vigorous campaign with a serious candidate. I'm a candidate with both political and life experience. I'm a Mum, I've worked in a call centre, trained to be a teacher and run my own business as well as having served on two councils. I'm also a member of the Labour Party’s Regional Board. You can read more about me here: http://www.southportlabour.org.uk/meet_liz
Labour supporters have told us that if they heard from us more and saw a more active campaign from us then they would no longer vote tactically. This time we're out and about knocking on doors talking to residents virtually every day. Labour now have more members than the Lib Dems in Southport which increases our capability to get volunteers out talking to people on the doorstep and delivering leaflets.
We are taking this campaign very seriously and taking positive steps to increase our profile. You may have noticed that I have been seen regularly in the local press ever since I was selected and that it is usually me that is responding to articles that the press want an opinion on rather than the UKIP or Tory candidate. Rest assured if you vote for me it's not wasted.
The demographics of Southport are changing significantly at each election. As Southport is a retirement town for many people, many of the people who move here are Labour supporters from areas such as Liverpool or Wigan which are traditionally Labour.
This is the one election where I'm certain that Labour truly have a chance of winning Southport, that's why I'm dedicating so much to this election campaign. As a local party we’ve invested a lot of effort into the Southport election campaign and you can see the evidence right here on our new look website.
I am the only Southport candidate that can say this: I'd vote for a fuel bill cap and to abolish the bedroom tax. I'd never vote for a millionaires tax cut. I'd vote to repeal the Health and Social Care Act. I'd let the public sector bid for rail franchises, I'd vote for a bankers bonus tax. The list goes on and on. In Southport, bitter experience shows us that you can only guarantee your MP will support and vote for Labour policies if you vote Labour.
The Liberal Democrats have also stated that they would agree to a coalition based not on number of seats but total number of votes for the party. That means wherever you are if you want a Labour government, then it's important to vote Labour.