Canary Candidates report from on the ground

  • Post last modified:July 6, 2024
  • Reading time:3 mins read

In Banbury in Oxfordshire, the 2024 general election saw the Labour Party take the seat from the Tories. As in other places, Tory collapse and some tactical voting from Lib Dems probably helped Labour to get in. Canary Candidate Cassi Bellingham stood in the constituency as an independent, and reacted to the exit poll and results by saying:

There was a bark of laughter at seeing that Tory wipeout, followed by a sigh at the large red majority of Starmer’s Labour Party.

It feels like a victory but a very uncertain one. Here in Banbury we spent the evening reflecting on the very lackluster local candidate likely to be our MP in the morning and wondering how much of Starmer’s promises will survive the week. I really, really want to be hopeful but his recent performances don’t inspire much confidence for the structural change we so desperately need. I would be delighted to be proved wrong on this.

Some truly hopeful moments that cheered me up as I rushed for my 6.30 train this morning were:
– The greens smashing that exit poll and gaining 4 seats!
– The excellent Zarah Sultana, Apsana Begum, Diane Abbott and of course Jeremy Corbyn being returned to Parliament.

In a video for the Canary on election day, she said:

One of the most inspiring things for me this time has been… the emphasis on climate.

She insisted that, “while, obviously, Labour’s position is a little disappointing at the minute”, the fact that many people were speaking up about the climate crisis during the election campaign shows:

there’s enough [people] to keep that pressure on when it comes to industrial just transition, the green new deal, some of these really important climate policies.

Post-election “the game has changed”

Speaking to the Canary previously, Bellingham said Keir Starmer has turned the party into a “lobbyist’s wet dream” and has shown real “moral weakness” on Gaza in particular. And she stressed that:

One of the things we’ve seen very clearly through the Corbyn project is that the current system will not allow a left-wing government. But an organised voting block willing to play the game could actually get some real progressive gains. So I think the game has changed and I think people are getting savvy to that, and there’s opportunities within it.

Featured image via YouTube – screengrab

Source link