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.