Friday, April 27, 2007

The task for the Norwich LibDems

Charles Clarke will be the man to watch come the next General Election. The odds of him holging onto marginal Norwich South must be evens but there is a long wya to go between then and now. The LibDems are salivating at the chance of winning the seat, but as I canvassed this afternoon and evening in Eaton, the doorstep responses I got clearly demonstrated the 3 great obstacles blocking the LibDem path.

Firstly is that the former Labour vote isn't going en bloc to the LibDems - it seems to be splitting between the two other main parties, and in Eaton village at least mainly to the Conservatives. People still realise that next time the PM will either be Cameron or Brown. The LibDems, despite the rise in bar charts, are still not seem as the natural challengers in the seat.

Secondly the stubborn nature of the Tory vote. The LibDems are ruthlessly targeting the big Tory vote in Norwich South to encourage them to vote tactically. However it seems the Norwich Tory vote isn't in any mood to put a LibDem MP into parliament any more than a Labour one. I cannot image a single Conservative voter I spoke to today voting LibDem, even tactically. In fact, there was much venom saved for the LibDems, particularly because of their disasterous tenure in charge at City Hall.

Thirdly is the creeping Green vote. I used to think the Green vote only existed where their party worked hard. But Ramsay's media strategy must be paying off - they have a healthy vote, even in the bastion of Eaton village. Most of note was the fact that nearlly all the Green voters were ex-LibDem ones.

All this spells trouble for the LibDems and their ill-fated campaign. The Greens and the Tories will rain on their parade and I fear that whilst Ian Couzens may be gone, his shadow looms large over their efforts.

By now the LibDems should have a set place as the clear challengers and a lock down on the tactical vote against Labour. They haven't - and this makes me thik that something is wrong. Is it their party, their record, their campaign or their candidate? I understand some senior LibDems think it may just be all four.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a politics student at the UEA in my first year so I don't know the political scene here very well.

But I don't think people will vote LibDem to get Labour out if Ming continues to flirt with Brown over coalition deals.

I desperately want to remove Labour and, at this moment, I will vote Conservative to do it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your analysis and that Labour will be challenged by Conservatives and Greens. One must assume Charles Clarke is still Labours man? Will you be having a second bit of the cherry Antony, or is this a premature question? Adrian Ramsay might be the Green candidate but who knows? Was S Wright the potential Libdem Candidate or I'm I wrong in this regard? Norwich needs quality.
candidates.

Brown has done a good job with the economy and on the whole with budgets, IMO, not all. He is tarnished with his naked ambition to takeover from Blair, that has split labour, lack of charisma and leadership skills. He his bit of a tragic Richard III figure.

Maltheus said...

Clarke is an appaling local MP. all he cares about is either his cabinet position or more recently his bruised ego and his vying for the Labour leadership

Anonymous said...

Maltheus - I completely agree - power corrupts - and it has corrupted Clarke via his vanity. When ones experienced the big game of ministerial power and big labour politics, its addictive. One still cons oneself of ones importance or influence. Clarke has gone into some kind of power "cold chicken" or depression.

Where Clarke has failed is to communicate and engage again with his South Norwich constituent, its easier and lazier to do it via a secretary etc. Other Norfolk MPs such as Dr Ian Gibson and Richard Bacon have engaged more and been more attentative with constituents.

Is his South Norfolk seat that safe if a good challenger came along with more energy and vision?

Iain Dale said...

Antony, one word. Spellcheck!

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale..this only because you are envious of a real local politic blog, hitting the real ground! lol

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Antony, Adrian Ramsay's use of local and regional media such as Anglia and BBC Look East is having a huge effect, beyond Nelson ward. Ramsay seems to have a skill for this media.

Antony said...

Iain, one phrase. Put your own house in order...

Daivid said...

I see the Greens got 29 per cent of vote in the local elections which was the highest of all parties within the seat. That is not a guarantee the Greens will win the seat at a General Election but it rather kills any hope that the Liberals will win.