Iain Watson

Five Million Conversations

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On the eve of the general election, Ed Miliband declared that Labour had won the ‘ground war’. He proclaimed that his activists had been in touch with many more voters than his opponents: ‘We have had five million conversations. This will go to the wire.’ Yet the Conservatives went on to win a majority for the first time in more than two decades – while Labour lost seats in England, and were all but wiped out in Scotland. How could they get it so wrong? Iain Watson followed the Labour campaign around Britain, and now he examines what its senior politicians are now calling the party’s ‘political and organisational failures.’ He exposes the high-level divisions over when to rule out a deal with the SNP, the gulf between perception and reality over Labour’s level of support, and looks at the more successful campaigns of the Conservatives and Scottish Nationalists. He sets out the challenges for the next Labour leader, having had his own conversations with voters, activists and senior party figures, and discovers there is no easy solution to the party’s problems.
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410 printed pages
Original publication
2015

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