Friday, September 22, 2006

Labour hold on in Oxford

Labour held on to their seat in Lye Valley ward in Oxford last night. If the feedback I heard is correct then this was in large part down to the Labour candidate being very popular in his local patch and his track record in the community.

Congratulations Bob!

I managed to miss an article on Antonia's Blog about a leaflet we put out during the last by-election in Oxford which was in Hinksey Park Ward in July. (I was off on my hols by the time Antonia posted it.)

Now she is entitled to her view and clearly felt very strongly that it is wrong for a party to raise national or international issues during a local by-election campaign. (Not that it ever stopped Labour when it was winning them votes!)

What I do find surprising is that she thinks that this leaflet is worthy of such criticism while the substantive issues - Blair's mishandling or Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Middle East in general - barely rates a mention.

I can remember a time when Labour activists attacked the Lib Dems because we only ever fought on local issues and didn't have anything clear to say on national issues.

I always used to take great delight when various Tory County Councillors waved my leaflets around in the Council chamber before going on to lose Oxford West & Abingdon in 1997. I am delighted to see Antonia joining in and hope it bodes equally well for our success in Oxford East next time.


Jock Coats said...

I do think it was close, friendly relations with HART that won that part of the old Cowley Marsh ward for both Phil and Bob over the years. Phil worked at it for years remember too before being the first Lib Dem to win it.

Though I have to say the number of Chelsea Tractors in the Rupert/Ridley/Cranmer Rd area where I was out on eve of poll did make me a little squiffy...:)

I feel quite disappointed for the Greens actually. Maybe it was pure coincidence that they were about on the few occasions I was about (or maybe they're just stalking me!) and I do know Larry didn't expect to come close but I got the impression that the work they did do was worth more than sixty votes.

Liberal Neil said...

I don't think it's natural territory for the Greens really.

Particularly once it became clear that we were clearly the challengers to Labour.

If votes were won purely on hard work we would have a fair few more seats!

Antonia said...

You've misunderstood the thrust of my post about the leaflet, Neil.

My criticism of the leaflet is not that it mentions national or international issues. My criticism is of your tactical choice that in the midst of a war in the middle east, the Lib Dem message to the voters of Hinksey Park was pretty much "vote for us in this local council by-election because that will stop people being killed in Lebanon." You're welcome to disagree with the line of the Prime Minister - I often do myself - but I was disgusted by the message that we make electoral capital out of dead bodies and claim ways to influence processes over which we have no control.

Thanks for the congratulations, by the way. I like Nathan immensely, and think you guys should stand him somewhere in North Oxford.

Liberal Neil said...

I don't really think that was the message of the leaflet - it was 'if you don't like what Blair is doing you can send him a message by not voting for his party'.

And even if the message was as you interpret it - my point is that actually being responsible for the mess is a whole lot more of an issue than what we put in our leaflets anyway.

As for Nathan - yes he is very good - but he likes a challenge - and there's not as much of that in standing for the Lib Dems in North Oxford!