What does it take, in terms of practical effort on the ground, to win a Parliamentry election? From the tone of complaints by some of the Disappointed one is inclined to think they imagine you've simply to have your heart in the right place, pick your candidate, and wait for the tooth-fairy to deliver victory to your chosen camp.
Actually it takes a lot of careful plotting and planning, followed by many many grinding hours of footwork.
History corner: in the heady days of the SDP some good friends of mine whose idealism had inhibited them from joining any of the tarnished old political parties decided Woy Jenkins et al were Different. They joined up, found the whole thing jolly congenial - and volunteered to deliver 2,000 leaflets. This was Islington, so no long front-drives involved: but after a couple of evenings they discovered that 2,000 was quite a lot. Two months later, 1,500 of the expensively produced pamphlets remained in their cardboard boxes.
Back to 2015, and as discussed in CU's recent post, of course many people live in 'safe' seats that are most unlikely to change hands. But an insurgent party (such as UKIP) or a party wishing to regain power must set about actually winning in places where they don't have incumbency. And in marginal seats, absolutely everyone must knuckle down to covering the hard yards.
Personally, I have made a habit of living in marginals (see comments on that thread), with 2015 no exception. I won't bore you with the demographic details but suffice to say, Croydon Central was and is a very marginal seat, with the sitting Tory targetted strongly by Labour and a chunky UKIP vote in the 2014 council elections that could easily have dished him. So how was it defended?
By 400+ people pounding the pavements for 6 months, that's how. Operating under committed and intelligent leadership with a very good, carefully thought-out, bespoke and detailed plan.
You can read about it here. The headline is misleading because it suggests that incumbency is everything. It's important for sure, but there's a lot more besides, as the body of the text makes clear.
And that's what it takes to achieve a majority of just 165 votes in a difficult seat. Labour worked just as hard in Croydon Central, with much optimism in their hearts, and it must be a bitter result for them.
But how many front doors did disgruntled UKIP supporters knock on? Around our way, the only thing we noticed was some sour-faced leafleting outside a shopping parade on two occasions, and the one postal delivery that is available free to all candidates. As my tired feet slowly regain their normal state, you'll understand when I greet "s'not fair" with a chuckle.