Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Are the LibDems Reaping What They Have Sown in Bromley?

I wonder if the LibDems personal attacks on Bromley Tory Candidate Bob Neill are beginning to backfire. Campaign insiders tell me thet are finding increasing evidence that the Liberals’ negative and personalised attack on Bob are paying dividends for the Conservatives. Not only are MPs and other canvassers coming back from the doorstep to report that former LibDems are openly criticizing their campaign and coming over to us, but it's also easy to detect a defensive tone in recent LibDem literature. “Please remember that my fight is not against the other parties…..”. Virtually all LibDem literature has been highly personalised against Bob Neill. By contrast not a single Tory leaflet has mentioned Ben Abbotts once.

I won't make too much of this as it's purely anecdotal - but a cascade of anecdotes usually implies something more meaningful. We'll soon know.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given the tone of the Tory campaign in Cheadle, I don't think you've got a leg to stand on Iain...

Meanwhile, what I hear is that it's going to be closer than people think. Lib Dems above 30%, a strong UKIP showing in third (15%), and Labour likely to lose their deposit in fourth.

Anonymous said...

Well we''l know on Thursday night won't we!

If there is a swing from the Lib Dems to the Tories we will know that this feedback is right.

If it goes the other way we will know it is wrong.

My money's on the latter.

Tabman said...

Your benchmark should by 60% of the vote: safe Tory seat, Liberals in disarray with an unpopular leader, negative campaign not going well on the doorstep, shiny new leader popular with the public, "old school" Tory candidate in old school white area ...

Zhukov said...

It still won't stop the LibDems putting a leaflet out before polling day criticising the "negative" Conservative campaign.

They are shameless.

Iain Dale said...

Tabman, so kind of you to set our benchmark. Always helpful as ever. You know as well as I do that with the number fringe candidates a 60% vote is highly unlikely. I expect the Labour vote to disappear altogether and for much of that to transfer to the fringe candidates as well as the LibDems and a bit to us. You will come second and there will be an increase in the LibDem vote share. But as you and I would probably both agree, whatever the result here and whate ver the vote share for any of the parties it means nothing in relation to the next general election.

Neil Craig said...

It is a good rule that election literature should never even mention the opposition candidate by name. Perhaps less so now that parties are named on the ballot rather than just candidates but nonetheless worth rmembering.

Nuke Labour said...

The big question from the Bromley by-election was where the h*ll are the Labour Party?

Labour came second at the General Election last year. But Labour's candidate has been almost invisible.

I've had about 2 or 3 leaflets from Bob Neill, about 4 or 5 from Ben Abbots. I've had 1 from Labour.

The Libdems will do well, given their highly negative and emotional campaign, but they'll do well largely by taking votes from the Labour party that seems to have choosen not to bother campaigning.

Or is it that Labour can't afford a few second-class stamps without tapping a few millionaires?

Strangely I don't seem to remember reading that local-boy Ben Abbots doesn't live in the constituency. Nor that this 'local campaigner' is really a campaigner for the corporate interests of whoever's paying his Lobbyist employer. Funny that.

Michael Oakeshott said...

It means nothing in relation to Bromley either, because Bob will be court explaining why he has broken election law. Why bother voting for such a fool?

OatendoesBrown said...

In Bromley, it looks like the Lib Dems will be eating their own shit for a change

Tabman said...

Iain - we aim to please!

You're right, it means nothing directly in relation to the parties at the general election, but underperformance will mean something to which ever leader has underperformed.

Under 50% - Cameron is worried
Poor third place - Campbell is worried
Fourth Place - Blair is worried

Anonymous said...

I would not say that the comment you quote, "Please remember my fight is not against the other parties ...." (I assume the punchline is somethink like, it is for you) is necessarily defensive. In fact, it's a line Chris Rennard has been using certainly since the Derbyshire West byelection when Matthew Parris stood down in I think 1982. Sounds good but actually means little.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what it is about the Lib Dems.....

They are just so angry and bitter all the time!

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems should concentrate on puting out positive literature like this leaflet:

http://by-elections.co.uk/cheadle/checon04a.jpg

eh Iain?

Anonymous said...

I was canvassing in B & C on Monday and my returns showed very good support for Bob Neil. Bob Neil will get a good deal for B & C. The LDs tactics will backfire. They are like the last kick from a dying hourse which as you know is always the worst. They are on their way to decline.

David Webster said...

Hasn't it always been that you should never mention the other candidate for fear of their name sticking in the canvasee's head.

OK, both parties have been guilty of some negative campaining, but in a safe tory seat, the Liberals need to do something pretty drastic to stand a chance.

Wibble said...

Anonymous writes "in a safe tory seat, the Liberals need to do something pretty drastic".

That does in fact appear to be standard LibDem strategy in safe Tory seats - during the last election, the LibDem candidate in Brentwood and Ongar spent most of his time attacking the sitting MP on the grounds of a row from years ago.

Being new to the area, I was distinctly unimpressed.

Will said...

My understanding is that Ben Abbotts does live in the constituency, which would explain why he's not been accused of not living there.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if the LibDems personal attacks on Bromley Tory Candidate Bob Neill are beginning to backfire. Campaign insiders tell me thet are finding increasing evidence that the Liberals’ negative and personalised attack on Bob are paying dividends for the Conservatives."

You mean like the Tory personal attack on Cheadle Lib Dem Candidate Mark Hunter did backfire? It is of course possible, as the Tories have learned.

Iain Dale said...

Will, well you're wrong. he doesn't live in the constituency - and that's one fact I am 100% sure of!