Five Million Conversations

Five Million Conversations


How Labour Lost an Election and Rediscovered its Roots

Iain Watson

ISBN: 9781910745267

Binding: paperback

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Back cover text:

We have had five million conversations. This will go to the wire. ED MILIBAND

Iain Watson was the BBC Political Correspondent assigned to follow the Labour campaign. He shares the gaffes and glories of the 2015 general election culminating in the notorious ‘Edstone’ and humiliating defeat. He offers a colourful account of the intimate day-to-day moments not captured on camera and reveals the divisions, doubts and delusions of Miliband’s core campaign team. 

As self-proclaimed winners of the ‘ground war’, how could Labour have got it so wrong? 

How could Labour’s activists talk to a record number of voters – and end up with fewer seats than at the previous election?

What was the nature of those conversations?

How will the party’s next leader avoid the same mistakes?

This huge democratic exercise … all across this country showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society.  JEREMY CORBYN


A gripping, well-crafted insight into Labour's failures.  Mark Aitken, Sunday Mail

Table of contents:



The Accidental Leader
There may be Trouble Ahead – The Election in Microcosm
Deal or No Deal
The Battle for Downing Street
From Builder to Soldier: Britain Succeeds When Working People Succeed
Funny Business
Zero Sum Game
We’re all Labour Here
Happy Warrior
Chips off the Old Block
A bit of Politics
A Taxing Issue
Education, Education… Fratricide
One Nation, No Vision?
Unions and the Union
Worry Points
A Flock of Starlings
13,000 Conversations
In Good Health?
Hold the Front Page
Missing a Trick?
Invitation Only
Campaign Stop
Not a Big Enough Difference
Put to the Test
Immigration and Exploitation
Marriage of Convenience
A Day at the Races
The Most Unlikely Cult of the 21st Century
Blood on His Hands, Blood on the Carpet
New Town Blues
Generation Rent
Marred by the SNP Myth
A Trip to the Theatre
Building Non-Traditional Support
Labour’s Brand Problem
Dangerous Territory
No Question of Deals
A Question of Credibility
Mayday, Mayday… Scottish Labour’s Existential Threat
Facebook v Foot-Weary: Right People, Wrong Conversations
Luvvies for Labour
Message, Not Mileage
Five Million Conversations
The Strange Disappearance of Arnie Graf
A Little Less Conversation: Food, Drink and Fun
Breakfast in Doncaster
The Loser Always Wins?
Moment of Truth
Nuneaton is the New Basildon
A Question of Leadership


Appendix 1: Clause 4 – Aims and Values
Appendix 2: Labour Party Leaders
Appendix 3: Selected quotes
Appendix 4: Labour Votes at General Elections
Appendix 5: Campaign Chronology
Appendix 6: Labour Party Leadership results announced 12 September 2015
Appendix 7: Miliband and Corbyn buzzwords