Conventional semiconducting polymer synthesis typically involves transition metal-mediated coupling reactions that link aromatic units with single bonds along the backbone. Rotation around these bonds contributes to conformational and energetic disorder and therefore potentially limits charge delocalisation, whereas the use of transition metals presents difficulties for sustainability and application in biological environments. Here we show that a simple aldol condensation reaction can prepare polymers where double bonds lock-in a rigid backbone conformation, thus eliminating free rotation along the conjugated backbone. This polymerisation route requires neither organometallic monomers nor transition metal catalysts and offers a reliable design strategy to facilitate delocalisation of frontier molecular orbitals, elimination of energetic disorder arising from rotational torsion and allowing closer interchain electronic coupling. These characteristics are desirable for high charge carrier mobilities. Our polymers with a high electron affinity display long wavelength NIR absorption with air stable electron transport in solution processed organic thin film transistors.