Of course one of the problems with a blog is that people read it, and can use it to try to embarrass you.
So there I was, at a Labour fundraiser in Dulwich last night, and local MP Tessa Jowell introduced me by reading my blog of Wednesday in which I admitted I sometimes found these events a chore.
Quite clever reverse psychology really because it meant I suddenly felt extra pressure to look like I was enjoying it, and to put more into the speech, the q and a and then – bane of the life of a Labour after dinner guest speaker – the auction. To remind you, the reason I was writing about the chore of some was because of the special enjoyment of the one I did in Thurrock with Elvis aka Mark Wright on Tuesday.
But Tessa can be assured last night’s was also in the ‘better than most’ category. And the reason was not Elvis, alas absent, but the combination of the changed political mood (a trend developing here) a passionate question from the floor about ‘why didn’t we do more to talk up the record?’ and, psychologically related to that, the fact that the top earners in the auction were signed pieces of legislation, with four figures top price going to a framed copy of the Minimum Wage Act, signed by TB, JP and the current Cabinet. Good money too for the Belfast Agreement signed by TB and the Olympic Act 2006, which paved the way for London 2012, signed by TB, GB and Tessa.
Three great achievements of a Labour government being used to raise the money needed to fight Ashcroft’s millions and ensure further great achievements in the future.
There was definitely the feeling not only that some voters were coming back to Labour, but signs of activism were growing too.
With the Tories spending millions on a fairly traditional campaign – posters, emphasis on media management, direct mail in marginals (very New Labour ’97) – Labour need to rely far more on face to face campaigning, social networking, liberating and empowering activists to run their own campaigns. Four times as many people say they are influenced by friends and family in their choices as by advertising.
I emphasised that it was still going to be an incredibly tough fight to win a fourth term, and that the Tories still had a lot stacked in their favour.
However … was it Theodore Roosevelt who said ‘believe you can, and you’re half way there’ ?A few months back, it was not that easy to detect the belief that we could. Last night, it was there in plenty. The ‘half way there’ moment, at a time the Tories suddenly feel they are moving backwards not forward.
Ps, We also raised a few hundred quid from a copy of Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince,’ in which Peter M signed himself as ‘the REAL’ Prince. But how silly of Peter, so not Machiavellian at all, to sign a book that I was auctionining. Suffice to say I had the last word.
** whilst on books, buy The Blair Years here and raise money to help the Labour campaign http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.