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20 August 2015

After receiving 393 emails from the leadership candidates, I’m losing faith in the Labour Party

If there's anything that Labour could learn from this, it's that spamming us doesn't make us want to engage in party politics. It only turns us off. 

By June Eric-Udorie

If, like me, you were disappointed with the result of the May 2015 election, you might have joined the Labour Party. Doing AS Politics increased my interest in the subject and instead of boring my mates constantly about everything to do with politics, I decided I could channel my energy into doing some party politics. It seemed like a brilliant idea so I signed up to become a Labour Party member, excited at the possible prospects of what it would entail. A few months later and it remains the stupidest thing I’ve done all year. (OK, this might be an over-exaggeration, but it comes pretty close.)

The Labour Party have sent me 393 emails so far. That doesn’t include the many emails I’ve deleted from my inbox, or the ones I missed as I created a tally chart of all the emails I’ve received from the leader, deputy leader and London mayoral candidates. So far, they’ve been worse than my 9-year-old sister who has just discovered email and regularly updates me with her day-to-day activities. When I clicked the ‘unsubscribe’ button, opting only for the important emails, I got another email asking, yet again, “Will you join me?” It reminded me of a needy ex who can’t quite grasp with the fact that the relationship is over.

Perhaps the worst thing about the emails are the downright shitty subject lines they’re given. “Tessa is a star, she’s Labour’s Kylie”, reads one. “What a load of ballots”, reads the other. Stella Creasy asked me what would make me come to meetings more, “PowerPoint presentations or cookbooks?” Tessa Jowell wants to know what my “fondest childhood memory” is. Fiona Twycross reminds me in a non-patronising way that “Politics doesn’t always have to be serious”. And then there are the sort of pick-up lines you get at school dances or speed-dating. “Have you heard?” another candidate asks. “You may think you know me,” begins the subject line of what feels like the billionth email.

Then there’s the post. At first, I was excited because I got the most post at home. Now, I just feel like the only people who love me are the leadership candidates and it really sucks. I’m beginning to have nightmares and feel haunted by Tom Watson’s face. (He sends me the most post and it’s beginning to feel creepy). Everything is a bit creepy – and stalker-ish too. I check my emails, and it’s Yvette Cooper. My phone beeps, and it’s Jeremy Corbyn texting me. I listen to my voicemail, and it’s Tom Watson’s office. I’m out with friends but Stella Creasy’s office want to chat. Before I can do or say anything, my friend grabs the phone and hangs up.

Let’s be honest, we’re all a bit fed up with the Labour Party. Over the last few months, bits of my soul have died and I’m not sure I can make it to the end of the race. Labour have demanded my attention at every godforsaken hour of the day. I’m even convinced that newborns don’t demand this much attention or are so, you know, clingy. The only thing they have achieved is to turn me off Labour. I don’t want to engage with them, and neither do my friends, family or neighbours. 

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If there’s anything that Labour can learn, it’s this: stop spamming our lives. Constantly texting/calling/emailing me doesn’t make me want to support you or get involved in politics. That is not how you get people engaged with politics. All it makes me want to do is delete your email and rant about the problems with Labour over a glass of wine with a friend. (Sadly, being 17, this isn’t possible, so we rant over lemonade instead.) The Tories will be in power for at least 5 more years. What we need is a Labour Party that will stop acting like a machine and will act as a decent opposition. What we need is a Labour parrty that can win over the electorate so they can win an election and gain power.

What we have now is a party that has lost it with the emails. What we have now is a Labour Party that I have very little faith in. I know I’m not the only one.