Monday, July 23, 2007

It's a bit wet here ...

I was going to blog about the excellent by-election results (for us anyway!) and the brilliant agents' training weekend we've just had.

But unfortunately we are flooded out, and I spent this morning moving more stuff upstairs, and we are now staying with friends waiting for the next Thames 'surge'.

Ho hum ...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This news Lit up my evening

Now this is funny.

No wonder Tom Watson was in such a strange mood earlier.

I can just imagine the state of panic in the Tory by-election HQ just now!

Be quick or be dead

Just noticed that they are showing the classic Doctor Who series 'The Deadly Assassin' on UK Drama at 4.25pm.

If you're not currently at a by-election and haven't seen it before I'd strongly recommend it.

Let's break the record folks

At the weekend before the Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election polling day I wrote to Lib Dem activists in London and the South East urging them to come and help in the last few days because we knew we could do it, but we needed enough people to turn up to deliver the (rather ambitious) campaign we had planned.

Hundreds did turn up, and the result was victory in Leicester South and a near miss in Birmingham Hodge Hill.

I think we are in a similar position in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield this weekend.

In Ealing the Tories are putting in a visible effort, just as they did in Leicester, but the Lib Dems are out-campaigning them on the ground. The Labour campaign is surprisingly lacklustre.

In Sedgefield the Tories are doing next to nothing on the ground, and it is pretty clear that the Lib Dems are the challengers. There is a degree of unhappiness that Blair walked away and a general sense that the area has been let down by Labour for many years.

In both by-elections, despite the short notice, the Lib Dems have put together very strong by-election teams, each led by veterans of the Bromley, Dunfermline, Hartlepool, Leicester, Birmingham and Brent East campaigns. Chris Rennard and Hilary Stephenson have been seen regularly at both campaigns along with oodles of MPs.

Both had well organised and busy HQs up and running within days of the elections being called.

Both have had massive support from Lib Dem activists from far and wide.

With just a few days until polling day lets break the record for the biggest turnout ever for our by-election campaigns!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The weekend - my top five

Haven't time to do a detailed posting about my 39th birthday weekend - but this is a truncated version in Top Five format:

5 A surprise birthday curry at Abingdon's finest Dil Raj restaurant on Friday evening.

4 Seeing the mighty Metallica at the new Wembley Stadium with my good friend Brian the Lion.

3 Enjoying some great live music and meeting both Paul Cornell and a Dalek with my younger two at the Faringdon Arts Festival.

2 The Key to Time DVD box set (well, a pre-order, it's not out yet) from Frankie (my eldest - knows her Whovian Dad well!).

1 A glorious bright pink birthday cake - mixed baked and decorated (in that way only an over-excited five year old could manage) by my beautiful youngest daughter, Emma.

And it wil be 39th birthdays for me from now on ...

Don't miss out ... only 8 days left ...

That's right, there are only eight more days in which you can make a difference in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield.

So far the turnout of helpers has been fantastic at both by-elections, but we need even bigger numbers to turn up over the weekend and every day through to polling day.

Hundreds of people will be looking back on these by-elections proudly because they were there.

Don't miss out on your chance to do the same.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Today I have mostly been sending emails to people who have offered to help at the Ealing and/or Sedgefield by-elections.

It has been a very positive experience, everyone from seasoned by-election helpers to new recruits are keen to help, and I know that the teams running both by-election HQs are delighted with the level of help they are getting.

So a big thank you from me to everyone who has been in touch.

If you can go to either by-election in person directions are available on the campaign websites for Ealing and Sedgefield.

You can just turn up - there will be plenty to do every day from now until polling day - and there will be a warm welcome too!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ealing Excitement

Much excitement here at the Ealing Southall HQ over the news that a senior local Conservative has joined the Lib Dems.

Mr Brij Mohan Gupta, Deputy Chair (Political) of Ealing Southall Conservatives and Vice-Chair of Southall Green and Southall Broadway Conservative ward parties, has joined the Liberal Democrats and backed the Liberal Democrat by-election candidate Nigel Bakhai.

He said:

"Under David Cameron the Conservatives have become a party of style over substance. I agree with everything that Quentin Davies said about Mr Cameron.

"This by-election reflects Mr Cameron's contempt for local Conservative members. His spin doctors ignored our wishes and forced the branch to accept someone whose commitment to the party is less than a week old. Almost all local Conservative party members feel like I do."

Lib Dems odds on to win Ealing Southall

Just a bit of fun:

Betfair have opened a market on the Ealing Southall by-election.

At present the Lib Dems are 8/13 on to win the seat.

Labour are current favourites at 1/5 on.

The Tories are languishing at 11/5 against.

(Note: I'm not encouraging anyone to bet - betting is generally a fools' game - it's always the bookies that win!)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thank you, whoever you are

Just a quick note to say thank you to the many people that have already responded to requests for help in the by-elections.

(And apologies for not being able to send personal replies to everyone individually so far today)

My team is currently working our way through the offers and responding appropriately.

The key message is JUST TURN UP!

Both HQs are open and busy. There is plenty to do at each.

Will their approach work?

It will be interesting to see whether the Tory approach to the Ealing Southall by-election comes through for them.

They have clearly tried to create the impression of a flying start by selecting a candidate very quickly, having Cameron turn up for an early visit, and set up their 'virtual HQ'.

However this approach is already causing them problems.

The quick selection of a candidate who does not live in the borough, has no record of Conservative activism and who has only recently joined the party has caused consternation amongst party activists and has even been described as 'high-risk' by a local Conservative councillor.

Feedback from the campaign on te ground suggests that the Lib Dem approach of getting a substantial HQ up and running quickly and encouraging activists to turn out to deliver and doorknock may be having more impact. Early signs are that the Tory campaign may turn out to be smoke and mirrors.

Find out for yourself by coming along to the HQ and helping out.

Well done Nigel

I am delighted to see that Nigel Bakhai has been chosen as our candidate for the Southall by-election.

I know Nigel from various London training events over the past few years and I know he is very committed to working hard for the community where he lives.

The fact that he is a genuinly local candidate can only help too.

I believe we will also be announcing our candidate for Sedgefield soon. I'm sure it will be reported here.