Ahead of the 2014 European and local elections, the Labour Party hosted a study visit for representatives from South Eastern Europe.
The purpose of the visit was to share best practice in the Labour Party’s preparation for polling day, both from the perspective of party headquarters and from a local campaign.
Over a two day programme, the group learnt about the Labour Party’s national campaign strategy, the regional strategy in the South East of England, and the party’s relationship with its elected councillors. This was also an opportunity for the group to share their own experiences and to analyse their own party electoral campaign strategies vis-à-vis the public perception of their party.
The visit to Slough focused on the nuances of delivering a local campaign and how this complements the national message. Here, they learnt about the differences in organising two sets of elections with different electoral systems: a campaign for local elections (elected through first-past-the-post) and elections for the European Parliament (elected through proportional representation). In doing so, they met with candidates for the local elections in Slough and Euro-candidates for the South East region.
The visit will be followed by a second study programme around elections in Slovenia later in the year. This will help compare and contrast the organisation of election campaigns in two EU countries. Recommendations for this visit included the need to shadow the ground campaign and to visit electorally diverse constituencies.