Thursday, 24 June 2021

Barnet Labour Party seeking election organiser for £33,000 a year for Barnet

 A press release on the Barnet Labour website caught my eye yesterday. Labour are seeking an election organiser for next years local council elections. The salary will be £33,000. A few things sprung to mind. I had been under the impression the Labour party was strapped for cash. As there are 32 London Boroughs, should each local party have a paid organiser, then that would be well over a million pounds. Of course, it is up to the Labour party how they spend their money, I'm not a member, but I was genuinely surprised. I then wondered if it was a new post, or it's just replacing someone who has been doing it for years. 

It seems that the brief of the role is to put the Labour party in a position where they could actually win in Barnet. I could tell the, for absolutely free what needs to be done. If Labour, The Lib Dems and The Greens were to agree a progressive alliance, then the maths supports the argument that all would gain seats and the Tories would lose control of the Council. 

This would simply take the form of the three parties agreeing to run less than three candidates in seats where the Conservatives are the incumbant party. So in Mill Hill, you could have one Labour, one, Lib Dem and one Green candidate. This would still give people the choice of voting for their preferred candidate. It would also give them the opportunity to vote tactically. In seats where Labour are close, they could run two candidates and the Lib Dems/Greens divvy the third seat between them. There are tens of thousands of Green voters with no representation in Barnet. Lib Dems only have two out of 63 councillors, which in no way reflects their vote. 

I get the feeling that Labour have analysed the polling from the Mayor of London elections and have concluded that Barnet is winnable. I am not quite sure whether they factored into their math that Labour put their best possible candidate up in Anne Clarke, whereas the Tories put their worst one with Roberto Weedon-Sanz. Anne has done a lot of work and has managed to reach out beyond the normal Labour support base. My gut feeling was that Robert just about managed to get the Tory faithful out. Council elections are a bit different. 

Labour look as if have decided to throw the kitchen sink at it. Whilst £33,000 seems like a lot of cash for the job, looking at the job spec, I am not sure it's really enough to get a top notch candidate with the skills they need. It seems that they want a social media expert, with a strong background in Graphic design. A quick search of Jobserve tells me that you'd probably have to pay £55-70K per annum to get a really effective person for the role, with the right skill set. It may sound like a lot of money, but unless you get someone who can really hit the ground running and has the experience to get to grips with the issues that have fuelled Labours election failure in Council elections since 1998, it is all money down the loo. Personally, I'd have a clear out of the party's local executive before I appointed anyone, as I think you will end up with a nodding donkey, who simply ensure's that the failure is better managed. The current exec have an awful track record of failure in Council elections since 1998. Each defeat has had its own unique set of excuses, none of which come down to the fact that the local Labour bigwigs have not engaged with the reality of Barnet politics or taken into account the local issues that might swing the 2-300 votes in needed to win the marginals. Prior to that, they had Alan Williams as Leader, who was the last Labour politician who really understood what you need to do to win locally and did it ruthlessly, winning 2 elections against all of the odds, mainly by doing side deals with the Lib Dems in key seats. The template is there, but no one has had the guts to use it since. In 2010, these 'side deals' imploded spectacularly, with Labour canvassing in Mill Hill and upsetting hundreds of Lib Dem voters, who had previously voted Labour in General elections. Andrew Dismore lost his seat by 105 votes. The Lib Dems lost in the Council and the Tories retained control. 

Barnet is a bit of a strange Borough and a bit of an outlier. As London has gone more to Labour, it has stayed Conservative, with the Tories massively increasing their number of Councillors at the last election. Of course having professional support will always improve a parties performance, I will be fascinated to see if there is a change of tack when the person is in post. From talking to local people, many of whom have voted Labour in the past, I am struck by the lack of enthusiasm for the party beyond committed believers. As the role is for a die hard Labour stalwart,according to the job spec, I do wonder if they will have the right mindset. If Labour locally simply do more of the same, then I can see no way that they will ever oust the Tories. 

If you are a Labour member with a strong history of organising campaigns and are looking for a job, this may well be the opportunity of a life time. I wish whoever gets the job the best of luck. I did wonder what I would do if someone told me the Lib Dems had £33,000 to try and win the election and it was up to me to decide how to spend it. I'd use the cash to support existing work by activists and to offer proper training to those who felt they could contribute more. I'd spend a bit on a more responsive website and a bit on better quality leaflets.  I'd probably employ a co-ordinator part time a day a week, just to ensure things get done. But hey ho, what do I know.

Here are the full details if you are interested.


Job Title: Borough Organiser
Working For: Barnet Labour Group
Location: Barnet, London
Salary: £33,000
Length of Contract: Fixed-term until 6 June 2022

Job Details:

Barnet Labour Group seeks a borough organiser to help with campaigning, communicating our message to Barnet’s citizens, and planning for an historic Labour victory in 2022’s borough election.

Barnet is on the front line in the battle between Labour and the Tories in London. The past two borough elections have been extremely close. This is an opportunity to play a leading role and make a real difference in a high-profile, fast paced and exciting campaign to win Barnet for Labour.

Barnet Labour is a fun, dynamic and committed group of elected councillors and local Party members who campaign all year round on innovative policies to reduce inequality, respond to the climate emergency, build more affordable housing and support Barnet’s vibrant communities.

Purpose of the post:

The post holder will run the Barnet Labour borough wide campaign, with the prime objective of gaining control of the council at the local elections in 2022.

Responsible to: London Regional Labour Party

Location: Barnet

The successful candidate will have experience of:

  • being employed or working as an election organiser for the Labour Party
  • organising campaign events and motivating volunteers
  • designing graphics and writing copy for campaign leaflets
  • using social media to run effective campaigns
  • managing and developing volunteers
  • working on their own initiative; able to take decisions themselves, seeking sign-off where appropriate.

Job Description

  • To work with the Labour Group to develop and run the Barnet Labour campaign to win the council at the 2022 local elections.
  • To work with CLPs, branches, the London Assembly Member, and London Region towards this aim.
  • To act as Barnet Labour election agent if required to, with responsibility for adhering to campaign budget limits.
  • To produce campaign literature, deliver digital and social media campaigning, assist with communications where necessary and keep the Barnet Labour website up to date with news articles.
  • To lead and organise campaigning activity, coordinating with the Labour Group, Barnet’s three CLPs and their campaign co-ordinators.
  • To attend meetings of the Labour Group, CLPs and Local Government Committee as required.
  • To help build closer links with local communities, including public engagement visits and events.
  • To provide training to members on election techniques, production of newsletters, voter i/d (doorstep and telephone), registration and postal votes.
  • To identify campaign leaders and provide training and support to campaign leaders and members on organising and campaigning.
  • To work with the Labour Group, candidates, elected representatives and local parties to identify, develop, motivate and organise members and supporters.
  • To help build up membership, membership capacity and activity in the Borough in line with the Party’s aims and objectives.
  • To work with the Labour Group and LGC to develop local fundraising and fundraising schemes.
  • Other duties: This is not intended as a fully comprehensive list of duties and the post-holder may be required to undertake any other duties as reasonably required in the context and level of responsibility outlined in the overall objectives for the post.

5 days (33.75 hrs) per week, including some evening/weekend work.

Closing Date: 7 July 2021

Interview/Start Dates

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held in Barnet (in person, though we can accommodate remote interviews if needed) week beginning 12th July 2021.

Ideal start date: 19th July 2021.

Application Details

Applications should consist of a CV with a covering letter explaining why you are suitable for the role. Please send this to

We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, particularly from those in traditionally under-represented groups, and do not discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristics.

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