On 20 Nov, after finally making e-mail contact with the local party, I received this e-mail:
Thanks for getting back. I'm interested in what you said about building up an on-line presence. Our election candidate has a website which has not been updated for about a year and I'd be very interested to hear your views on what we could do.
Here was my response, sent on the same day. Still awaiting a reply...
Dear Crouch End Labour Party,
Thanks for getting back to me.
I think what the local party has to do is look at what the Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone has managed to achieve in the five or so years she has been active in Crouch End. Now I know she has unlimited funds and a fantastic aptitude for self-publicity, but what she has aside from all that is passion, and belief in her cause.
My feeling is that Labour dropped off the radar in places like Crouch End because local voters and activists had the passion and belief knocked out of them by three key New Labour policies - hostility to public service workers and the unions, flirtatious courtship of the right-wing press, and the Iraq war. All these helped to overshadow the many achievements under Tony Blair.
When Gordon took over there was a groundswell of goodwill waiting to happen and rejuvenate the party - and we all know what happened next. Now the landscape has changed again.
I get a sense, and it may just be my own prejudices and instincts, that for all the problems everyone in the country is facing, there is a feeling that people are looking to Labour, and Gordon Brown, for solutions. In other words, the passion and belief is back.
So this brings me to our prospective candidate, and her lack of website. I can only speak for the area I live in, but there are so many things going on round here, so many things that could be addressed, things that should be natural Labour territory but which we are leaving to the Lib Dems to deal with. How is Crouch End going to deal with the recession? How many more local shops of value will have to close? How can we help the local traders? Can we at least join in on their local debates? Do we have any influence over landlords charging excessive rents? How green is Crouch End? Are we doing anything collectively to improve it? Are we happy with the community police?
And while we're at it, why don't we show Haringey a little support? Show off the Library, and Park Road Pools, and the new wing at Coleridge, all the good stuff that Haringey does that gets drowned under the bad publicity. It's all very well for Lynne Featherstone to sound off calling for heads to roll over baby P, we should be making sure the other side is heard, the huge support for the head of Haringey social services, the problems with reports and recommendations.
There are so many questions, issues that our candidate should be adressing even if she doesn't yet have an answer to any of them. We should be building up a massive e-mail address list, starting with members who pass their e-mails on to other local people, getting the local shops, schools etc involved.
Sorry to ramble on, hope it all makes sense