Although not successful, I am very happy with the work that we did during this short election campaign. We ran a positive campaign, based on Labour’s values and hope for the future. I felt we kept the message simple by explaining how Meon Valley could benefit from a Labour member of parliament. We talked about how we wanted to improve local services, how we wanted to protect the environment, and how we wanted to work with everyone within Meon Valley.
I am comfortable that we did what we could to get this message across through the local press, through a constituency wide election address leaflet that I was personally very proud of, and through canvassing in high visibility areas and around some housing. We couldn’t get around the whole ward due to the time available and our limited resources, but I am confident that we used all the opportunities that we had as best as we could.
This campaign for us was always about building for the future, we feel it is important that the residents of Meon Valley have an option to vote for a good Labour candidate, and we recognise that the constituency has a changing demographic, and is expanding. We feel that it is important for there to continue to be a voice for those in Meon Valley that feel underrepresented, or feel that their values do align with their MP’s.
This has been a very exciting campaign to be involved in as a candidate, and I am extremely grateful for the support that the Meon Valley members have offered me throughout the process. I hope that this has helped Meon Valley Labour build their profile too, so that they can continue to help across the ward on local issues.
However, this was always going to be a very tough campaign for Labour. I was keen to make this election campaign about local issues in Meon Valley, and remain of the view that it is not just about Brexit as there is a lot more at stake. People are struggling in their daily lives, and we are at risk of writing off a whole generation of young people if we don’t take action on the environment, or invest in our housing services. We do not have the luxury to make it just about one single issue, and it would risk disenfranchising many others if we did.
Personally, I am not sure what the future will hold for me. I am looking forward to being able to focus more on my councillor work in Southampton with a slightly calmer national picture. I have not been disheartened by this amazing experience, and just need to work out what I want to do next on the political scene. I still think it is very important that we give hope to our young people, look after our environment more, and keep a good relationship with Europe, whatever the outcome of Brexit. I will be looking at how I might be able to contribute in these areas that I am most passionate about going forward, whether this is by another parliamentary run, or something else!
I will continue to look for ways to give my passion and experience to helping the next generation of people, and in trying to make the world a slightly better place.
If you are just getting involved with politics for the first time, please do not be disheartened with any result. Keep active, keep reading around the issues, keep voting, and keep trusting in the system, nothing is forever!
Matt Bunday – Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate – General Election 2019.