This is the text of the talk that Cllr Mike Walker of Wakefield West ward gave at the 2008 Spring Forum in Gateshead. Last week he held his seat with a majority of 1,741.
This ward has 52% social housing, a very high deprivation index and is home to four Labour councillors. Labour controlled the ward with large majorities for 26 years.
We now fully control the ward and have done so for the last three elections - all with increasing four figure majorities. This will be repeated in six weeks' time.
We do not follow the normal approach of hordes of activists and floods of leaflets at election times. We are of the opinion that victories produced by such methods tend to be unsustainable and are significantly susceptible to national mood.
Large amounts of money and manpower are unnecessary. Our way of working is an ongoing and inclusive engagement with the electorate.
Our team is small – three full-time cllrs ensuring an almost daily presence on the streets backed up by 3-4 helpers to deliver the leaflet at election times. No election has cost more than £195.