At the last election there were 195 votes for the LibDem candidate; and they came in last place. This obviously isn't a fantastic result (despite the claims that only they can win here!) but doesn't explain their apparent desperate efforts to get their nomination paper signed for the by-election. Let me explain.
The nomination paper requires 10 signatures from local people - we usually ask either our members or keen supporters. There is never a shortage in Bowthorpe; however in wards where you are not so strong it can be a challenge.
Having said that, I don't think we've ever had a situation where the candidate and his team have to go door-to-door begging for signatures. I know the LibDems have precious little canvassing for Bowthorpe (usually not bothering at all with the ward) but they must know 10 people locally to sign ... or do they?
I was contacted by a gentleman from Three Score most put out that a young man bowls up on his doorstep asking him to sign. The resident - who was a little frail and veryanxious by this visit - asked for ID but non was forthcoming. The canvasser keeps pushing the man to sign, apparently getting more and more determined. The resident, though, refuses and finally the canvasser goes on his way. This made the resident feel very worried and insecure indeed. The resident also told me that the canvasser didn't even identify the party he was representing.
I note from the statement of persons nominated that the LibDem candidate has his signatures from trawling around Three Score; could they be the mystery party desperate for signatures? If so, it shows that no matter how many nasty and negative leaflets you deliver the public will always back a positive, hard working and year-round team.
If - and we aren't sure it was the LibDems but the evidence points that way - it was them, then any party struggling for nomination signatures ought to be very worried indeed.