Can Jeremy Corbyn turn Chingford red?
The FT's Joshua Chaffin reports from Tory bastion of Chingford in outer London. Long a stronghold of the Conservatives - past MPs include Norman Tebbit and Winston Churchill - Jeremy Corbyn's Labour believe they could win the seat at the next election.
Filmed and produced by Josh de la Mare.
As Jeremy Corbyn plots a path to power, he is entertaining an idea that was once unimaginable for the Labour party - capturing Chingford. The suburban constituency on the outskirts of London is the land of the white van man and a Conservative bastion.
Labour getting a foothold up here is possible, but very unlikely, I would have thought. Because these people around here, they won't elect Labour.
Corbyn drew a surprisingly robust crowd when he spoke in Chingford after last year's general election. Look at you all here today. We're young. We're old. We're black. We're white. We're everything because we're united on the kind of world we want to live in.
Labour lost the Chingford and Woodford Green seat by less than 2,500 votes, but standing in its way is history. Chingford has been represented over the years by Winston Churchill, and later, Norman Tebbit, one of Margaret Thatcher's closest allies. And for the past 26 years, Iain Duncan Smith, or IDS, as he's better known. His hard line on Brexit and benefits have made him a bogeyman of the left, but beloved by William Tozer, a retired delivery driver.
IDS. He always comes over here and knocks on the door to make sure we haven't changed our vote. I think being a Tory is a person who you work hard, you buy what you want, and you don't go anywhere for anything. I've been a Conservative man all me life. And I wouldn't change for Corbyn. I don't think he'd make a good leader in any case. He's not my sort of man.
But Chingford is changing, according to Liz Baptiste, a child of Caribbean immigrants from the windrush generation who is now running for a council seat in May's local elections.
I've been living in Chingford now for 18 years. And when I first moved to Chingford - and I'm going to have to use this language, and do forgive me - it was spot the black. And I say black you could expand that even more to say spot the ethnic minority. But now from since then till now, it is just such a big difference. Chingford is diverse.
While Liz Baptiste is a Corbyn fan, she admits the proudly socialist leader is not everyone's taste.
It's like Marmitet. You either love it or you hate it. And I think that's the view for Jeremy Corbyn. But I always put it back to say, what about our labour values? So forget the man.
You said you usually vote Labour. Do you think they have any chance?
Yeah, he seems like a very nice, down-to-earth, more in touch with reality. Kind and compassionate and thinks of people more than the rest of them.
Gentrification is also shaking things up, particularly in the Highams Park neighbourhood. Young urbanites are moving in, bringing their politics with them. Wine bars and cafes have followed. The newcomers have been priced out of central London.
Tim Bell, who works in video production, moved six months ago from Hackney.
Couldn't afford a house there, so we've just had to move farther out. Here seemed like the most -- the best value for houses and schools.
He has his doubts about a Labour takeover anytime soon.
He's progressive, and wants to try and bring back some of the old style Labour principles, but I'm just not sure that he can thrive in this kind of ultra-capitalist society.
Labour put up a good fight last year, John Moss, chairman of the local Conservative party, concedes. But he still can't see them luring the white van man of Chingford.
There's a certain independence about them, a certain arsiness basically - making your own way in the world with your own van and your own tools. They work hard. They make their money. They buy their house. They want to see their kids set up.
And I think as long as Jeremy Corbyn is playing this fairly hard left, fairly controlling, fairly high tax kind of agenda, he's never going to get those votes. He's feared by a lot of people. They actually genuinely think that his economic policies will bring ruin to our country. Some people, particularly in the Jewish community, fear him for other reasons. So is Chingford about to go red? I don't think so.
Liz Baptiste disagrees. Cuts to education and other bread-and-butter issues are awakening dormant voters, even affluent, older voters. If you take, for example housing. It's very difficult for people to buy property, so you find people who were diehard Tories saying no, enough is enough. We want better for our children. We want our children nearby. Why should they have to move to Milton Keynes?
It's a lot to balance for Anouska Atherton who has always voted Tory, but who recently moved to Chingford for its better schools and ended up voting Labour.
People are stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Certainly, I would be very happy to vote Labour going forward. I'm not in the privileged position financially I was previously. But I just could not have Jeremy Corbyn as our prime minister.
But you voted Labour. I did, because I'm kind of torn. Because Iain Duncan Smith is my local MP, so I kind of voted tactically, not that it made a difference.
And what is it about Iain Duncan Smith?
My father was a miner in the strikes and that kind of thing. So I've got a lot of family history that go with that kind of personality.
So it's not easy to vote for an arch Tory?
Labour thinks Chingford is for the taking. But it will require more than changing demography to defeat the Conservatives here. Jeremy Corbyn will have to swing some voters in the middle and convince those who had given up on Labour that it is alive and well in Chingford after all.