How to Fight Elections


The Story of Labour's Socialist Campaign in Wallasey, 1987

Pamphlet Cover "How to Fight Elections: The Story of Labour's Socialist Campaign in Wallasey, 1987" above a photo of Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) hushing the crowd at a canvassing session for Lol Duffy
various authors
Fourth Edition
28 pages

How to Fight Elections is the story of Labour's election campaign in Wallasey, Merseyside, in 1987, when sacked shipyard worker and Workers' Liberty supporter Lol Duffy came within 300 votes of unseating Tory minister Linda Chalker - despite a virulent campaign by the press and sabotage by the right wing of the Labour Party.

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How to Fight Elections is the story of a Constituency Labour Party’s socialist election campaign in Wallasey, near Liverpool, in 1987. Wallasey is now Angela Eagle’s constituency.

Wallasey had previously been a safe Tory seat, but the candidate in 1987, Lol Duffy (a supporter of the class-struggle socialist newspaper Socialist Organiser) came within 279 votes of unseating the Tory minister Linda Chalker. Despite the press and the right wing of the Labour Party trying to scupper the campaign, Labour’s vote went up 39 percent, as Wallasey Labour activists inspired and galvanised the local labour movement and wide sections of the constituency’s working class.

By the 1992 election, the Labour Party machine had clamped down on Wallasey CLP, suspending key activists and preventing the party from deciding its own candidate. Angela Eagle was imposed. But, as the Labour left rises again, the lessons of the 1987 campaign are very much relevant today.

Includes the story of the campaign, pictures and a roundtable discussion between key participants. Republished in August 2016 with a foreword by Jill Mountford, Momentum steering committee and a campaigner in Wallsey in 1987 (personal capacity).

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Battleground
  • Labour Sets Out its Stall
  • The Labour Campaign
  • The Anti-Labour Campaign
  • The Opinion Polls
  • The SDP-Liberal Alliance
  • June 11th
  • After the Poll
  • The Lessons of Wallasey
  • Looking Back at the Campaign
  • One: Campaign '87
  • Two: Getting Prepared
  • Three: Workplaces
  • Four: Tory Campaign '87
  • Five: Campaigning After the Election
  • Why we are standing?

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