After a long drive from Hampshire, I arrived late this afternoon, I headed for Edward Timpson’s campaign HQ, in an industrial unit near the railway station.
The place was heaving - and I suspect that a controversial free vote in Westminster might have explained the rather large number of MPs floating around. Tobias Elwood was busy making A frame posters, Michael Fabricant (and his famous blonde locks) darted from room to room, and the dashing Adam Afriyie turned heads all over the place – to name a few. However, they did all seem to leave at the same time, so they might well have been heading back to Westminster by train to get the 10pm vote.
Upon my arrival, I was registered by a fierce and efficient looking women, and then immediately put to task - given a map, a handful of leaflets – and duly dispatched to a fairly new housing estate near the Nantwich part of the constituency. I went with three others, including two members of the national convention – one of whom has been putting in 18 hour days since the campaign began. Where would the party be without the dedication of people like him?
This is without doubt the best organized campaign I have ever seen. The organization seems to be water tight, and the level of motivation and commitment is just palpable. There are some very switched-on people running this campaign.
Outside, on the streets, what struck me was not the impressive number of ‘Vote Timpson’ posters (of which there are well over 1,000 displayed in windows all over Crewe), but the lack of any posters from either of the other two parties. Obviously, in the rural the rural areas you expect to see Conservative posters (and you do – lots of them), and in the more urban, terraced houses of central Crewe, you expect to see lots of Labour or Liberal Democrat posters. Except you don’t! Even having Frank Field in the constituency today (doubtless doing penance) doesn’t seem to have made any difference – I counted less than five ‘Vote Dunwoody – she’s one of us’ posters! I counted just two Lib Dem posters – it is as if they are ‘The Invisibles’! It makes you wonder if the other two parties are merely going through the motions, knowing they have lost the game.
Of course, I don’t think Labour are going through the motions - they are actually fighting tooth and claw to hang onto this seat – knowing that to lose it would be a desperate crushing blow to Gordon Brown. So much so that every cabinet minister has been ordered to visit the constituency between now and Thursday! I am reliably informed that even senior district councilors are under pressure to get up here and ‘do something’! But, on the streets, Labour seem to be having little effect. Wandering around sporting my rosette, I got a satisfying number of ‘thumbs up’ and friendly toots from passing motorists – and not just in the nice areas either. All over the constituency, there seems to be a feeling that it is time to ‘send Gordon Brown a message’, and I suspect that this is reflected in the very low profile that Mrs. Dunwoody enjoys.
The reason for the failure of Labour in this rock-solid Labour seat? Well, there is also a strong suspicion that, on top of the worsening economy and general distrust of Gordon Brown, Labour’s incredibly negative and seedy campaign is turning off people who might otherwise be persuaded to vote for them. On the streets, people are stating that they see through Labour’s tactics, and the attempt to paint Dunwoody as a ‘local’ candidate is simply not taking root. They know she is not local, they know she lives in Wales, and they know she is much wealthier then the average Crew resident – and they seem to resent Labour trying to pull the wool over their eyes. They seem to resent the patronizing and hectoring tone of the Labour Party’s campaign. As dislike the fact that the only reason they are being given for voting Labour is because Dunwoody is ‘one of us (which they know she isn’t), and that the Tory is a toff (and they see through that too). As a response, they seem to be more receptive to the Conservative campaign, which is positive, and has resisted the temptation to stoop to the gutter. There seems to be a grudging respect from the population because of it. If Labour don’t get their core pledges out on Thursday, there will be blood in the carpet for sure!
According to journalists who spoke to us today, so worried are Labour about the backlash from losing Crewe, that they are now briefing that if the Tories win by anything less than 3,000 votes, then it is a ‘disaster for Cameron’! If the Tories win by just one vote, and that was transferred into a general election, that would mean a Parliamentary Majority of over 130 seats for David Cameron. Only the Labour party can see a 130 seat Tory majority as ‘a disaster for the Conservatives’! No wonder people say they are out of touch! They are not even on the same planet.
The other news is that police arrested two men late last night, and have charged them with criminal damage. They were reported to the police for removing ‘Vote Timpson’ posters, and when challenged, stated they were part of Timpson’s campaign, and had been instructed by him to remove the posters because they were placed illegally on public land. Sadly, they were not on public land – but were in fact on land belonging to a relative of the Association chairman! Oooops!
political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Adrian Yalland's Crewe & Nantwich Report
Adrian Yalland is a regular commenter on the blog and he has sent in this report from Crewe & Nantwich.
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Can someone get official confirmation concerning the arrests of the Poster Thieves?
But did the people in Crewe doff their cloff caps to you as you ride by in your horse and carriage.
Perhaps the people of C and N will have the good sense to send all the candidates away with a flea in their ear.The Tories have done absolutely nothing to warrant success here having indulged in puerile spats with their so called opposite number when there is not a scintilla of ideologicval difference betweeen them. (Good diversionary tactic.)A vote for Conservatives will be the equivalent of signing them a blank cheque.If Cameron thinks name dropping the woman he has spent the last few years disavowing will help him, lets hope the voters will see through this shallow popinjay's cynicism.
"Only the Labour party can see a 130 seat Tory majority as a disaster for the Conservatives..."
Only the Labour party and Michael Portillo, anyway.
Iain, I think this report hits the nail on the head in term of why people are so disillusioned with New Labour - they lie.
This behaviour started with the relaunch of the party as "New" Labour. There never was and never has been anything new about this sorry bunch of charlatans. Old labour taxed and spent and this lot have done that in spades. Old labour liked to control everything and passed law after law when none were needed and what has Blair and Brown done?
We have all learnt to wait for the small print of every single budget produced by Labour to see what the real sting in the tail is and the continual quoting of 'tractor production' statistics is breathtaking to say the least.
To use an old but true quote: There are lies, damn lies and New Labour!
Interesting debate on Newsnight last night, where an especially smug looking Tamsin defended her Toffs campaign and claimed not to know that it was she who was listed in Burke's Peerage.
Sadly Michael Gove didn't do an especially good job of handling the fuel tax question and came across all Uriah Heepish in his final summary. I wonder if Mr Timpson was well advised to have a prior clashing engagement, as Paxman was like a Rottweiler on heat.
Geoff Buffoon demonstrated his complete detachment from reality on just about every issue, and claimed that the locals will decide on local issues, whilst managing to mention about half a dozen times that "she's a Dunwoody".
Certainly not the usual pro labour whooping and hollering that you usually find in BBC debates.
Mini wage, new deal tax cuts for the poor stealth taxes for the rich. No wonder the top hats hate labour.
And "Paxo" dealt Labour's hypocrisy a blow by tackling Ms Dunwoody-Keafsy on her entry in Burkes Peerage but of the so called "Toff" Edward Timpson not a single entry was there found - also I don't know many Labour voters in Crewe who actually own a large farmhouse in Wales or another(inherited from father) in the Dordogne. Single unemployed mother with 5 kids(my arse as Jim Royle would say).
Dirty tricks were mentioned on the news, I hope that action will be taken against people who don't play "fair". Not much of a surprise to see a desperate Labour party resorting to desperate measures...
Dirty! Mate! How splendid to see you back and contributing to the debate in such robust fashion. Unfortunately, the majority of voters in Crewe have chosen NOT to agree with this twaddle about "toffs". Firstly, it's a lie. Secondly, the Labour candidate for Crewe & Nantwich got her position through inheritance and everybody knows it - even Labour who trade on the "Dunwoody" name shamelessly. Thirdly, you're going down!
As for moving the signs I do thinki a prosecution or two would show the public the thievery of those concerned and put an dend once and for all to the notion that Labour is somehow decent, honest and truthful.
Does anyone know what it is that Adrian Yalland has against women ? Yesterday he was Harrumphing about their controlling and impertinent desire to spoil the Carlton Club and now any woman doing a job is automatically “fierce” . Look at his unreconstructed opinions below ....
'A woman marries a man thinking she can change him, and she gets frustrated when he won't change. .........If Carpet Bagger-Bagshaw doesn't like the the rules of the CC, then tell her to find another club to benefit from her doubtless magnificent presence.'
I am shocked , shocked , that these attitudes persist in the modern day and I only hope he is not haranguing innocent women on the streets of Crewe telling them to get back home and cook their husband`s Dinner.
***are now briefing that if the Tories win by anything less than 3,000 votes, then it is a ‘disaster for Cameron’***
Hehehe maybe it'll all turn out like the local elections, the Tories end up winning by 5000 votes and then see how Labour paint that as a disaster for them.
As the political arm of the British people, the poster liberators were entitled to defend the fatherland from the scourge of ... hail! hail!
re Paxman last night; what was that rubbish Dunwoody was spouting about talking the chancellor round on the 10p tax rate.. in what capacity exactly, she's not an MP yet.. even Hoon looked embarassed. An absolute bare faced lie.
Under 'normal' circumstances Tories would be castigating the police for wasting time on such trivialities and berating them for not spending their time more usefully and efficiently. Do get over yourselves. And hands up here anyone who hasn't bragged about some sort of petty stunt they've been involved in during an election. How utterly precious.
this campaign has been ruthlessly planned and executed by the marginal seats team as a weapons testing site for the general election. angela browning has been the star turn of the MPs keeping close tabs on the candidate while michael fabricant has worked his proverbials off without a break. sorry iain but your super hero pickles has really only worked hard at getting as much personal publicity as he can but has only fooled the the media.
Interesting write up from Mr Yalland, though would add that he was clearly in a much better patch for the Tories than some, so would guard against thinking its all over bar the shouting.
Having also been up in C & N, I was canvassing in various areas (Copppenhall ward and about, for those that know/care). Over the course of four hours canvassing, by contrast, saw forty or so houses with Dunwoody posters, outnumbering Timpson by a ratio of five to one. With a solitary LD poster. Not a Conservative area though, and perhaps too much to expect Labour switchers to go the whole hog and put posters up, even if they despair of Brown. It was worth noting that despite Brown, the campaign tactics, etc this is a town with a resilient, loyal core. Also saw three groups of Labour canvassers - though a rag-tag army of youngsters (reminscent of Berlin 1945 with german teenagers in uniforms manning the City's barricades?)
When sometimes canvassing in Labour's wake, residents often opened the door to us, as they did so picking up the Top Hat/ Bow Tie leaflets from their doormat, and dismissively crushing it in hand before giving us a reasonable reception, many saying they were switching to the Conservatives.
Agree that our organisation was v efficient, and presuming we have people on the day this will obv. crucial. Be in no doubt that there is a considerable irreducible core of Labour voters, in Crewe itself especially, and Labour know who they are, and will get them out. A lot had not yet made the leap to the Conservatives, but will sit on their hands.
I wouldn't bet on a Labour victory but having seen some differing parts of C & N to Adrian Y, it should righly be seen as considerable victory if the Conservatives win.
Would that be the same "Yelland" travel agent who pitched up on BBC Breakfast a couple of months ago, as a "beleagured small-businessman"?
At the time I thought you came across as a bit of a stooge (rather well-fed, too, but nothing that a few miles of pavement -pounding can't address).
Just goes to show the BBC in its true colours!(perhaps they didn't check)
How you find the time to run a business as well as all this is beyond me - I hope you haven't been slacking on the old paperwork!
Brown "had his own dog sent back to bite him" today during PMQs when he was asked by David Cameron, why he was not going to justify his record on the streets of Crewe. He answered he was relying on the custom that PMs do not do by-elections. Big Dave then quoted Tony Blair who previously said on his way to a by-election that he preferred to ignore this convention, when the result mattered, and lead from the front - unlike Gordon who would rather hunker down in his bunker.
As for the poster thieves - wasn't it Labour complaining that the "Tory toffs are soft on yobs?" The yobs in this campaign are the Labour party. Labour - hypocrites to the last.
As a matter of [little] interest - who pays for all these expensive train tickets to/fro the current hustings? The political parties or, more likely, us the taxpayers ?
Timpson - A Cobbler's Son
Dunwoody-Kneafsy - Grand-Daughter Of A Baroness.
Couldn't somebody point this out when the TV Cameras are running?
Iain, who is this person who writes:'I saw over 1000 vote Timpson posters all over Crewe'
I was there yesterday and I only saw one when I travelled from Labour HQ to an estate 10 minutes away and that was in Gwyneth's old office.
I witnessed about 100 posters in windows and a novel scattering of posters nailed to the wall with just as many on posts in gardens. All for Tamsin.
I noticed a number of houses in one street pleading for 'no more political literature from any party, please!'
Posters alone, Tamsin has it.There was absolutely nothing for Timpson.
This guy is playing games.
I do like this assumption that winning Crewe and Nantwich would be an amazing result for the Tories - it has been said for years that Crewe and Nantwich is a Tory seat that has been held by the strength of G Dunwoody, not the Labour Party.
No doubt the Tories will forget this on Friday morning, should they win...
"It has been said for years that Crewe is a Tory Seat that has been held by the strength of G Dunwoody, not the Labour Party".
Said by whom exactly? Not by any of the noted authorities on such things (Robert Waller etc). You have a touching faith in Gwyneth's strength, noteable though it was. Majorities into the several thousand cannot be put down to a personal vote, and the poltical graveyard in full of personally very popular MPs who when it somes to it cannot stem the national tide and sweeps them out of office.
Either you don't have a clue what you are talking about, or PERHAPS you are just a DESPERATE SPINNER?
I see Anon at 4.11 is trying out one of the lines Labour will be using on Friday morning.
What I cant find out from all the blogs, is how has this lady come by 5 children. Is her husband dead, is she divorced or has she decided just to have 5 kids and let the state pay for their upbringing? If she is a young widow, I will apologise for this post...and indeed send her children some euros to use when they visit their second home in the South of France.
It probably won't make any difference to the result, but Eric Pickles should have been on the Newsnight debate and Timpson should certainly have been there.
I like Gove, but he has a face for radio and he was shouted down by Hoon and Paxo (doing his panto dame act).
Poor show. Did Gove pull rank on you Eric?
C & N has "been held by the strength of G Dunwoody, not the Labour Party."
Much as I was admirer of the late Mrs.Dunwoody, Crewe even went Labour in 1983 although it had been felt the then boundary changes made it a Tory seat. Yes Mrs. D. had a personal vote but like personal votes for any MP of any Party, I doubt if this was more than 600. A personal vote is not Labour supporters voting for you. A personal vote is people who normally support another party or abstain voting for you. But bear in mind, there is also the personal anti-vote. So often people contact their MP as a last resort because at every stop on the route "the system" has said NO. Much as I despise "the system", it can at times be right and disgruntled constituent now blames the MP who has failed him or her and he/she and his/her family will never ever vote for that Tory/Labour/Fib Dem candidate even if they are members of the Conservative/Labour or Liberal Parties.
No in order to minimise the extent of their possible defeat tomorrow, nulab spinners are already building up the late Mrs D's personal vote to something like several thousand not several hundred it probably was and will argue that as Mrs. D is no longer there, it will be just Tories going back to their natural home. That will be nothing but spin. If we win tomorrow, it will be the strongest Tory by-election victory for 20 years and our people should really rub it in tomorrow. This is the melt down of the Labour vote in C & N. If our candidate can even increase the total Tory vote on 2005, then really tub it in.
Gove wasn't at home with the rough and tumble. He sounded apologetic. Won't do him any harm, though.
If the Conservatives win of course should be happy about it and it will be a bad result for Labour. But translating a majority of one into a general election majority of 100 plus... If that were an accurate predictor the Lib Dems would have stormed to majorities at every general election in the last two decades.
If Cameron really has decontaminated the Conservative brand and is on course for a general election majority the Tories should really be winning a mid-term by-election in promising territory like this (which it is, compared to most Labour seats that could have come up) by a landslide.
Think about what Labour were achieving in the mid-90s.
Adrian, if I knew how, I'd mimic the Leave Britney Alone, just for you...
The boy did good. Tamzin Dun Woody.
Posting about himself! On the Dale blog! Again! With hardly any shrieks!!!
"What I cant find out from all the blogs, is how has this lady come by 5 children. Is her husband dead, is she divorced or has she decided just to have 5 kids and let the state pay for their upbringing?"
She is divorced.
I think she came by her children in the usual way.
Newmaina - you had to say the lady concerned - she was as a marvel - and - rather self deprecatingly -described herself as 'the battleaxe'!
As for the good women of C&N! I didn't speak to any - expecially not that rather attractive red-head with the mini skirt on the corner of Gresty Street!
Finally I don't have a problem with women. But they are my equal - not my master!
John. Am I not entitled to take some leave just because I own the company? Rather than sun myself I decided to do something useful (and cheaper too). I also combined the trip with business meetings.
Oh - and I took a pile of paperwork with me to do in the evenings. Would you like me to file a time sheet for you?
But tell me, what did you do during the war, grandpa?
You seem to take an great interest in my company - I am deeply flattered.
As for being over-fed - no need to be offensive old chap. You try losing two stone gained after a course of steroids given after my fifth (bungled) operation on my knee!
Gary elsby - just to give you the facts, across the constituency as a whole, there 1,300 poster sites for Mr. Timpson.
I didn't say I saw them all.
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