Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mixed fortunes inside the M25!

Try as I might I can never keep up this blog during the local election period. It's partly that there's always another leaflet to write, or deliver, or canvassing to do, but also that I'm too focused the election campaign to write anything that would be of any interest to those other than anyone involved in Watford elections.

But here we did well - comfortably ahead on the popular vote in the Watford constituency (which includes part of Three Rivers District) and winning 14 out of 17 seats. We narrowly missed out on two more seats.

Indeed we and Three Rivers were the Lib Dem success stories within the M25 - things not turning out so well in London. It seems to me that the party didn't quite decide what it was trying to achieve in the London elections. Brian Paddick was selected way too late to have a real tilt at taking on Boris and Ken, and yet was too good a candidate to be a mere token presence. However, his campaign probably drew attention from the GLA contest where we really needed the votes.

If the party is serious about mounting a real challenge for the London mayoralty in 2012, I suggest that campaigners study the Mary Robinson presidential campaign in 1990 in the Irish republic - the only other example I can think of where a third party won a campaign with a multi-million sized electorate. If I remember rightly the key elements of that were early selection, a candidate with a reach well beyond the party base (which strangely Paddick didn't seem to have), clear unique selling points for the candidate, a really strong grassroots campaign building up credibility for an effective air war during the campaign itself. These things combined with an awful lot of luck.

Failing that the party would be better to concentrate on its GLA campaign and candidates even at the risk of looking less than serious in the Mayoral contest. But then my experience is of fighting elections in a town of 80,000 population not a city of 7 million. What do I know?


Anonymous said...

Your vote was down, you lost a seat to Labour and the conservative vote was up. Oh dear Oh dear, sounds like you are doomed for the general election.

Paul said...

The result in Watford Constituency was:
Liberal Democrats 14
Labour 1
Con 1
Green 1

If anyone really thinks the Conservatives narrowly holding one seat they won comfortably 4 years ago and Labour winning just one seat when not so long ago they ran the town, is good news for anyone but the Liberal Democrats, they really do need to wake up.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, oh dear, anonymous, just look at the figures! Everywhere else in England the Conservative vote increased substantially. In the Watford constituency they struggled to get 26%, and only just held one seat by 47 votes. Labour may have won a seat, but they are stuck on 15%. With over 49% of the vote this year, I think the Lib Dems are on target to take this seat.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear oh dear indeed, especially if you are a Conservative in Watford. Terrible, terrible election performance. Shockingly bad PPC. Completely clueless council groups (Watford group of 3 has a combined majority of 52 votes) Labour in complete disarray. Roll on the GE.

Anonymous said...

If only Lib Dem bloggers were the only people able to vote, but of course they are not. With the Lib Dems having better results in 2004 and failing to take the seat in 2005, in 2009 or 2010 the Lib Dems are doomed.

Peter said...

If Brain Paddicks campaign drew attention to the GLA then he has done a really bad job. Dropping from 5 seats to 3! almost level pegging with the Greens on 2.Also the Conservative picked up 3 top ups as well as there 8 GLA Area seats. What an awful Lib Dem performance even when the Boris v Ken factor was taken out.

When the next GE comes people will Vote Conservative to get rid of Labour not Lib Dem.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Tory bloggers are the only ones who vote in Watford. How else can you explain their paltry performance? They might do better if they had a credible PPC or some half decent council candidates or a policy or two relevant to the town.

When the GE comes people will vote to get rid of Labour AND for a good MP. That's why the Lib Dems will win.