How Labour's Campaigns Attempted to Make the Political Personal
Publisher: Novara Media
Date Written: 11/02/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21976
The basic techniques of convincing people on the doorstep are not different to those of convincing friends or workmates. However, election canvassers have typically gone door-to-door telling voters what the party's policies are. The British Labour Party's new approach, developed by Momentum, emphasized listening to people and identifying their key issues.
"Door-knocking was slightly nerve-wracking," says Todd, "and seems a slightly weird thing to do." But alongside their training, the army of canvassers had a crucial tool in the form of the manifesto. The policies in it were inspiring and commanded widespread support, but the material was also easy to understand and become familiar with, and activists could cherry-pick the most useful areas to talk about and apply the manifesto more freely in their own campaigning.
Todd explains that the basic techniques of convincing people on the doorstep are not different to those of convincing friends or workmates. "People just got it," he says.
"There's an ideological component to it too," says Todd, elaborating that there is a transformative and democratising power in political persuasion being done on the ground -- "even by your mate down the pub" -- as opposed to solely via elite-owned newspapers, the television or impersonal literature.
Shenker-Osorio also believes the information age makes the personal touch ever more important, pointing out how even when selecting a restaurant, people are moving away from the bewildering array of online review options available and reverting to asking friends for their recommendations.
Of course this trust effect is heightened when the campaigner is a friend, acquaintance, colleague or family member; but the canvasser is far more likely to tap into this effect than an ad.