Monday, July 03, 2006

Bromley and beyond

It was very enjoyable to spend a few days in Bromley.

We had a very strong candidate in Ben Abbotts and an exceptional Agent in Shaun Roberts who led a fantastic by-election team.

There has been a lot of talk by the sore losers of the campaign - the Tories (Yes - I know that, technically, they won - but it is clear to everyone that they were the losers on the night) - about a 'nasty' and 'vicious' Lib Dem campaign.

What rot! The Lib Dem campaign simply pointed out two undisputed facts: that Bob Neill lived in Towers Hamlets and that he was already a member of the GLA and would not give up that seat if elected MP.

Nothing 'nasty' or 'vicious' about that.

'Nasty and vicious' was the Conservative campaign in Cheadle where, amongst other things, they tried to link Lib Dem candidate Mark Hunter to a rape case.

The electorate are not stupid. They rightly reacted against the tories in Cheadle as a result of their silly campaign. They went with Ben Abbotts in Bromley because his campaign got it right, and because he was clearly a strong candidate.

The deficiencies of the Tory candidate were ably demonstrated in his awful losing speech on the night.

What does this say about politics? Well let's not be starry eyed, it doesn't mean that the Lib Dems can expect to win hundreds of Tory seats next time on a similar swing against the Tories.

It does however demonstrate that the 'Cameron effect', if it exists at all, is only skin deep.

If there was any real support for Cameron, or any real sense out there that people want a Tory Government, the Lib Dems would not have been able to get this sort of swing in a seat where they started third.

The Lib Dems will emerge from this by-election (and Dunfermline) more confident than ever that they know how to win elections against both the other main parties, and that three (or four in the other nations) party politics is here to stay.

1 comment:

Alan Muhammed said...

If there is a Cameron-effect, it's to our advantage as it seems to create a 'group-think' scenario amongst their parliamentary party. Consequently, it doesn't matter what their local party thinks.