The difference you can make
Ever wondered why the Labour Party puts such an emphasis on campaigning and community activism?
Scottish Labour is, and always will be, a party for equality, social justice and compassion. These shared values steer us on everything, from how we create policy to how we run our campaigns.
These are the values we want to share and put into action in every community. Speaking with voters is the best way to get a feel of what people care about, and what they want to see from us. That’s where you come in!
Every time you have a chat on a doorstep, make a call with Dialogue, or pop a leaflet through a letterbox, you’re representing Scottish Labour, and showing that we care about every community, and every voter.
By speaking with people, we can make sure that that their concerns are passed on to the local and national party. That means that sometimes we can act immediately – helping resolve someone’s issues with bin services, joining or starting a campaign to save a local bus route, or ensuring that wider concerns make it to the top of the agenda in Labour’s policy making processes.
And it’s by building those relationships and trust within communities all year round that we really make a difference when it comes to polling day. And in seats where as little as a few hundred votes could decide the outcome, your chat with Karen from down the road could be more important than you think!
So take the plunge; find out where your next event is, make a call with Dialogue or sign up to volunteer.
What is door knocking?
Door knocking – which is also often referred to as campaigning or canvassing – is talking with people about the issues that matter to them. Every day, teams of Labour members and volunteers are out representing our party, listening to people, and sharing our position on important issues. This means that when it comes to elections, we know what really matters to people, and people know where Labour stand and why they should vote for us.
What to expect
You’ll be out in a group – we never expect people to go out alone! There’ll be a meeting before you begin and if it’s your first time you’ll shadow an experienced campaigner until you feel more confident.
Typically conversations are quite short – they can be as simple as “Hi Mrs Smith, can I ask if you plan on voting for Labour at the next election?”. The key thing is to introduce yourself with a smile and record what people said so that we can answer peoples questions and address their concerns.
Some people will want to have a longer chat – especially if they haven’t decided who they’re voting for. Remember that you don’t need to be a policy expert and don’t worry if you don’t win over every undecided voter! The important thing is that you’ve started a conversation that someone else will be able to continue.
Also – it’s fun! Door knocking is a great way to meet your fellow members, and sessions are often followed by a trip to a cafe or pub. Many a friendship has blossomed over a confusing cul-de-sac or a post-canvassing coffee.
Why we canvass
Elections are won between polling days, because talking with voters all year-round builds relationships and makes people more likely to vote for us. It also tells us what people’s priorities are, so that when we write pledges, run campaigns and share leaflets, we’re speaking to people about the issues they care about.
And crucially, canvassing means we know which voters definitely support us so that on polling day we can ‘get out the vote’ effectively (GOTV). In marginal elections, where as little as a few hundred votes could decide the outcome, this can make all the difference.
Play your part in real change for the many
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