Chairman Councillor Val Bowles and Vice Chairman Councillor Mike Jenkins offer their thoughts on the Bassetlaw campaign
Firstly, it didn’t happen overnight. We have elections every year in Bassetlaw and we went from 15 seats (out of 48) in 2002 up to 24 and NOC by 2004 before getting our majority this year (in 2005 we had a year off for the County elections). So, many people over a number of years have contributed to where we are now.
What made 2006 different and so successful was that we set out a strategy to win a number of identified target seats and focussed on them. As a target council we also had support from our Area office.
We were very fortunate to have had high calibre candidates who were very committed; they were well received and really worked themselves into the ground. The personal touch whilst out campaigning also made a lot of difference.
We really did target. Having targeted the seats we then targeted likely Conservative voters, likely Conservative areas and likely Conservative issues. We had the results from a voter survey paid for by HQ and distributed by Area office. This meant we could pinpoint key issues in different target wards and we produced candidates’ issue –based leaflets on that basis.
We had very limited canvass returns and too few people on the ground to do traditional canvassing during the campaign period. Therefore, using local knowledge and with the help of Voter Vault we identified the streets and estates with our highest support levels. Candidates leafleted them until they dropped.
We made good use of the Localiser campaign manual produced by CCA. However, we did have to simplify the recommendations dramatically because we didn’t have the time or people to produce multiple leaflets, nor to produce lots of photos and graphics.