2023 has been a busy year for us at Compass HQ. We’ve continued to lead the charge fighting for a politics that’s more equal, democratic and sustainable – and you can read all about it in the press.
From shouting about local triumphs to spending time in the national spotlight, we’ve won a lot of media attention on issues important to us throughout the year. In this blog, we’re taking a look back over Compass’ appearances in the media throughout 2023.
We began the year by highlighting the activities of our local groups across the country. North Yorkshire petitioned the incoming North Yorkshire County Council to back proportional representation, while activists in Stratford called on progressives to unite and oust ‘absentee MP’ Nadhim Zahawi following controversy in the media over his tax affairs and held a street stall to raise awareness of new Voter ID requirements.
To coincide with the three-year anniversary of the UK leaving the EU on January 31st, Compass contributor Jon Bloomfield appeared in Social Europe and Byline Times to promote his Compass publication, Europe After Ukraine. Our Director, Neal Lawson, also commemorated this anniversary with a piece in the Guardian calling on Labour to abandon its ‘sticking plaster’ approach on Brexit.
In March, we hosted a webinar with Martin Forde KC to discuss his report on factionalism in the Labour Party – and the lack of ostensible action on its recommendations. “I don’t think the party’s going to progress as a credible political force unless the infighting can be diminished,” Mr Forde told attendees at our event. This received coverage in the Guardian, Labourlist and the BBC.
Ahead of the local elections, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran came out in support of our local group in Oxfordshire and urged people to vote tactically to remove the Conservatives from Cherwell District Council. We followed this with the launch of our national campaign exclusively in the Mirror, which revealed the scale of the democratic deficit in the councils up for election. Of those that were controlled by Conservatives, 75% were held without a majority of the vote. Our campaign also featured in the Independent, the i, The New Statesman and the Express. Our focus on local politics continued after May 4, as we monitored the status of cross-party coalitions and reflected on the growing desire for a more pluralistic politics. This featured in Byline Times, Labourlist, the Times, The Observer and The Guardian.
Our first themed campaign for Win As One explored the links between democratic justice and economic justice and launched in May. This featured in a column from Polly Toynbee in the Guardian and in an op-ed in the Byline Times penned by Compass board member Baroness Ruth Lister.
The most significant media moment of the year for Compass, however, came in June when we received the news that Neal was facing expulsion from the Labour Party. Neal’s emotional piece in the Guardian gained considerable traction on social media and was followed by a flurry of news coverage and several appearances on broadcast media, including on Newsnight and LBC. We also took this moment in the spotlight to further highlight the need for pluralism within the Labour Party and ran events with Open Labour, Jon Cruddas, and the Independent Labour Party to highlight the danger of Labour turning its back on this history and tradition ahead of the next election. This received coverage in Labourlist and elsewhere.
We were also active in the media around several of this year’s by-elections, particularly in Mid Bedfordshire, to call for a progressive alliance to unite against the Conservatives. This featured on the BBC and in the Guardian, the Independent, and Left Foot Forward.
Ahead of party conference season, we relaunched the Only Stand to Win research in the Mirror. Only Stand to Win was a Compass campaign for a small Labour Party rule change to allow local parties to decide whether to stand a candidate or not. It revealed how Labour standing aside or campaigning more appropriately in 14 ‘unwinnable’ seats could help oust the Tories. Our events at the party conferences also featured in the Telegraph, Sky, Left Foot Forward and Labourlist.
In November, to coincide with the start of the COP28 climate conference, we launched our second themed campaign for Win As One, which explored the links between climate justice and democratic justice. Coverage of this campaign featured in the Byline Times and Politics.co.uk.
As we enter election year, we hope to build on all of these successes and continue to make the case for a politics that’s more equal, democratic and sustainable. You can support our work by becoming a member.