Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Will it be April this July?

The Norwich North by-election is the first in the south eastern part of England that I haven't been involved with for more than 15 years. Had I still been Deputy Director of Campaigns I would have spent much of the last few weeks in Norwich.

It feels a little odd to know that as I write this our excellent by-election team, ably supported by my successor Victoria Marsom, will now be into the feverish last 24 hours or so of campaigning.

I'm not in a position to know exactly how we are doing, but I do know that April Pond is a doughty candidate and that the Lib Dem team behind her campaign are highly experienced and skilled campaigners.

The literature I have seen certainly suggests that we have hit on some good issues and that April is on the right side of them.

I'm not surprised to hear that the Labour campaign has been weak. There is little in general to motivate Labour activists at present, and the particular circumstances that led to Dr Gibsons' resignation probably killed any residual local activity stone dead anyway.

I am surprised that the Greens do not appear to have done more. That's not to say they won't necessarily get a solid vote, there is still a strong 'anti-main parties' vote out there, but I can't understand why they didn't treat this as a serious opportunity to win thir first MP.

Some people have wrongly characterised the Lib Dem approach to by-elections as being just about delivering more leaflets than your opponents. Well we DO have to deliver a lot of leaflets but we also need a clear message that resonates and all the other elements of a well organised campaign too.

From what I have seen and heard our small team in Norwich have achieved a lot of this on a short timescale and with limited resources. Well done to them.

If you are in a position to get over and help this evening or tomorrow, please do so!

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