The Badman issue could make the difference between a sitting MP losing or retaining his/her seat at the next election. I believe we need to tell them so.
1. Do you live in a marginal constituency?
a) The marginal Labour constituencies, with majorities of less than 1000 are:
Oxford East; Chester, City of; Finchley & Golders Green; South Thanet ; Islington South & Finsbury; Dartford; High Peak, Stourbridge; Hove; Selby ; Stroud; Gillingham; Medway ; Warwick & Leamington; Battersea; Harlow; Sittingbourne & Sheppey; Crawley.
The further along the list you go, the more vulnerable the MP (the MP for Crawley has a majority of only 37!!!)
I can post a list of marginal lib dem and conservative MPs if wanted, but I personally think the labour ones near the end of the list above are the ones to focus on for now.
I have a word document with full details of the majorities. Post a comment if you want me to send it to you.
b) I have made a petition document. I will post it in a minute, and you can leave a comment if you want me to email you the Word document. If you like my wording go straight ahead and use it. If not, change at will, of course. NB note that noone is being asked to reveal what they voted in 2005, just whether they’ve voted labour in the past. Also that noone is signing up to vote in a particular way next time, just signalling their intentions at this point.
c) Are you prepared to coordinate the local petition? If not, please think of an efficient type who might be able to!
2. What the petition organiser could do:
a) Add your address at the bottom of the petition as the place to send signed copies to.
b) send the petition around the local HE lists and get copies of it to all the local HE meet ups in the next week or so.
c) get as many HEers as possible not only to sign it but also to take copies, or get you to forward the Word document by email so that they can ask friends, family and colleagues in the constituency to sign it. If you have a big number to aim at, then get them to take the petition along to all their clubs, societies, and other regular places they go, to get as many people to sign as possible – mums and dads, Akela, the vicar, the man at the Sainsbury’s checkout – everyone.
d) email the national lists to ask if anyone has friends or relations in these marginal constituencies. Get them to print off a copy of the petition and force said friends and relations to sign it and return to you.
e) here comes the maths part. If the signatory has not voted before, then a guaranteed vote away from the sitting MP is – 1 from their majority. If the signatory has voted before and has voted Labour before, then a vote away counts – 2 from their majority (minus one for them and plus one for the person in second place last time, who you may well be planning to vote for if they make the right supportive noises). If someone has voted before but has never voted labour then their signature will be nice and supportive, but won’t make any difference to the sitting MP and won’t scare them. If it’s manageable (I’d say Gillingham onwards in the list above), try to get enough signatures that the petition sheets themselves say “if you do not support us in this, you are going to guarantee to lose 155 votes in the next election. Your current majority is 154”. You don’t need to rub it in. They’ll do the maths themselves.
f) once you have the majority-killing signatures, or as many as you think you can get, photocopy all the petition sheets. Keep the originals. Send the copies to: the MP, the local constituency office of whoever was 2nd last time, the DCSF, and maybe the local and national papers. When you get near to that stage, I am happy to help draft a press release and a covering letter. I’m happy to do it and then you can alter it, if the idea of writing it from scratch is scary. Just post a comment somewhere on my blog to ask for help.
Oh, and please spread the word about this plan! Linkage much appreciated.