Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

A letter from John O’Farrell candidate Eastleigh by-election

Posted in John O'Farrell won't stand for election in 2015! by sheelanagigcomedienne on March 1, 2013


However he says he will not stand for election in 2015.

I think I can be more effective with the freedoms that not being a traditional politician provides.News for john o’farrell eastleigh

John used to be a member of Battersea Labour party and joined the Battersea Singers when we did gigs at conference when he would read an excerpt from Things can only get better.


Whilst Alf Dubs was our  MP John worked in his office and was a Labour activist in Battersea. O’Farrell described in his book (Things can only get better) the events leading up to Dubs’ shock defeat by the Tories at the 1987 election.

The excerpt John read was his election as Queenstown Ward Secretarty. He had been very flattered to have been asked to be Vice Chair. He said ‘Looking back I didn’t realise my self-confidence had been that low’….’It is not possible to go to a Labour party Annual general medeting and not agree to take on a job for the rest of the year’…..’When Battersea Labour Party had a new banner made I remember feeling faintly smug that the skyline dfeoicted landmarks tht were all in my little ward:the Power Station, the peace Pagoda and Dog’s Home. I even thought the trees must be from Battersea park!….When I became secretary of Queenstown we were the proud owners of two Labour Councillors, a Labour MP, a Labour GLC Councillor and a Labour ILEA Councillor. By the time I resigned four years later the the Tories had won these seats or abolished them.’

Battersea Banner with Tony





In the Guardian today 1st March John wrote: I did warn the Labour party that I generally lose elections. I wrote a whole book about it; losing elections is my unique selling point. But still there seemed to be some enthusiasm around the idea of me being the Labour candidate for the most important byelection since Birgitte Nyborg won Borgen South.

I also got this email from him which was nice.

Dear Jeanne,

Before I get into an analysis of the result in Eastleigh let me say thank you.  Your support has made this campaign a joyful experience for me from start to finish.  Through freezing cold weather and rain hundreds of activists joined me on the doorstep, where we spoke to over 20,000 voters.

Not bad for such a short campaign – so thank you to all of you for your hard work, generosity and commitment, and your support.

Now to the result.  I came fourth, but I wasn’t the biggest loser last night.  That honour isn’t held by the candidate from the ‘Elvis Loves Pets Party’ either.

This was one of David Cameron’s top target seats – a key part of the Tory plan to get an overall majority at the next election – so they threw the kitchen sink at it.  And they didn’t just lose, they came third behind UKIP.

For our part this was always going to be a tough seat – we’ve never won Eastleigh before, receiving only 9.6% of the vote in 2010.  Our share of the vote did increase, but ultimately it seems voters had one aim in mind: telling David Cameron’s Tories where to go.

But still, we’re making progress.  Winning Corby back in November showed this.  Success in 2015 for Labour will achieved by applying the energy, organisation and lessons learned from tough seats like Eastleigh in our 106 winnable ‘battleground seats’ (Eastleigh would come in at 258 on that list).

When I think about how much we built in just over 20 days, I feel confident about what we can do in the future, and how many people we can talk to over the next two years.

So, to members like you – who rang voters, travelled to Eastleigh, donated to the campaign, knocked on doors and the rest – thank you, and keep going.

John O’Farrell


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