Monday, February 16, 2009

Bowthorpe Gets Dirty: Part 1 - the LibDem Campaign

If anybody thought that the by-election caused by John's death was going to be a gentleman's affair then this weekend will surely have made them think again.

The LibDems kicked off their campaign the day after John died; hardly showing a great deal of respect. When this was reported to the media (incidently, not by me) instead of their Group Leader or PPC leading from the front, a junior spokesman was wheeled out to give their excuses. Aside from smearing me, they said this was part of thier normal campaigning in Bowthorpe. Hmmm, that would be the same normal campaigning that hasn't seen a single non-election leaflet delivered in the last 3 years? The LibDems are noted for their utter lack of respect around by-elections and their negative tactics. I haven't been disappointed.

The second LibDem leaflet attempted to link the Greyhound Opening scandal with the decision to appoint the next Lord Mayor. Apparently we have "gone easy" on Labour and, oh, by the way, Tories and Labour are discussing plans for the new Mayor. Now, these would be the same discussions that started last October (before Greyhound Opening) and in the presence of LibDem Leader Brian Watkins who knew all about it. Hardly secret and not at all linked to Greyhound Opening. But don't let any facts or honesty get in the way of a LibDem campaign; smear and innuendo are all that matter to them.

And then to this weekend ... the usual part of any LibDem campaign is the famous bar chart. Up to this point they had been using the last constituency results - but apparently voters were actually laughing at the claim that only the LibDems or Labour could win in Bowthorpe, so they switched to only the LibDems or Conservatives this weekend. The LibDems came last in 08 with just 195 votes. I wonder if the LibDem agent would like a £50 charity bet with the Conservative agent that says the LibDems don't come in either of the top 2 positions? Maybe I should write!

The Labour campaign will gets its own blog post later, but the attitude and conduct of the LibDems has been reprehensible. How long ago was it that then-LibDem Leader Hereward Cooke had to apologise for their election tactics and admitted lying on their leaflets? I think the same thing may have to happen again. Either way, if Brian Watkins wants a working relationship left with any of the other parties he better start showing some leadership and take a grip of the campaign rather than letting the electorally-militant wing of the LibDems take over again.


Norfolk Blogger said...

And I could give you chapter and verse of the Tories doing worse in byelections in other parts of Norfolk year after year.

Grow up Antony.

EGL said...

Like you Antony I was shocked to get a LibDem leaflet so soon after John died, although it was the first we had recieved in years.

I don't think many in our bit of Earlham will consider voting LibDem; they are a bit of a joke locally. I assume the flurry of leaflets is to make up for a weak candidate or the fact they have no chance of winning?

I look forward to speaking to Andrew before deciding how to vote this year.

Antony said...

Thanks Nich; I can only imagine the righteous way you would have reported this if the boot was on the other foot. I know you are keen to protect your friend but that post was beneath you.

Let's see what the people of Bowthorpe and Earlham make of the Liberal Democrat behaviour then - I shall be printing some emails and letters I have recieved about this later in the week.

John M Ward said...

Ah, yes! Been there, seen that…

You might be interested in my article on just some of the LibDems' tactics at a by-election we had here last year.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. The Norfolk Blogger reminds me of that line in the song by The Kipper Family, one of Norfolk's greatest exports:
The Norfolk Blogger is Norfolk, and good.

or as thewv would say: blests!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. The Norfolk Blogger reminds me of that line in the song by The Kipper Family, one of Norfolk's greatest exports:
The Norfolk Blogger is Norfolk, and good.

or as thewv would say: blests!

Comrade said...

Sorry Antony but can we put to bed the accusation about deliberately campaigning in the ward the day after John died.

The leaflet in question was constituency wide and was being farmed out to deliverers from early January. There was a team out on the saturday making up for gaps in the delivery network, Bowthorpe wasn't the only ward leafletted that day.

Speaking personally, I was out leafletting that morning, not I add in Bowthorpe. However, speaking personally I only found out about John's passing on reading the EDP that lunchtime.

Much as I know not much credit is given to the Lib Dems on this blog it would have perhaps been quite an acheivement for them to write, print and turn around a leaflet by the morning after John had passed away. A rather too tall an order.

We spoke about this in the cathedral recently and I think I made it plain what I thought if it had turned out that the Lib Dems had acted in the way you describe that saturday. Quite honestly they didn't, now lets put that one to bed.

As for the other leaflets, I look forward to reading them....

Comrade said...

Early prediction - Tory hold - no question.

Labour will be hard pushed to make any real challenge.

Lib Dems are perhaps the only party at the moment to harness enough anti-Tory votes to challenge. However, I think it ill be probably all be academic as the Tories will get 40 odd percent.

Anonymous said...

Lib dems leafleted me in Earlham. First leaflet was from Simon Wright who I view as a political pigmea and spoiler; so his leaflet went in the recycling bin

Secondly, up pops the Lib Dems candidates leaflet; which seem to cadge all the Conservative ideas, try to smear councillors on Greyhouses, so that followed Simon Wright's leaflet into recycling.

Problem is voters still remember LibDems losing/misaccounting £2m of our money a couple of years ago; so I guess thats a No from me with the LDs

Comrade said...

People also remember that Norwich City Council was a national laughing stock before the Lib Dems gained control in 2002. Thanks to the Greyhound issue thing seem to be heading that way again...

Antony said...

Comrade - politicos may think that, but I have been keeping a log of the issues raised in the by-election and so far it has been raised by just 2 people; that is less than those concerned about the change to the laundry claus of the City Care contract. I'm not saying GO isn't important but I am surprised that is hasn't hit the public radar in the way the LibDems and the media would have liked.

Anonymous said...

My feeling is in a time of folks feeling the pinch, lost jobs or insecurity, slowdown for small businesses; most folks are interested in the council and councillors to deliver on the bread and butter A-Z basic services, responsibilities and value for money issues. ie Waste/recycling, road cleaning, improvements, repairs etc

Noticed only two of the candidates live in NR5 addresses, Andrew Wiltshire and the Labour candidate, which makes me wonder whether the Green NR2 and LibDem NR3 have been parachuted in.