Good Luck Stephen

Best wishes to all the Lib Dems in Henley today, I hope polling day goes well. I’m sorry I’m not there to help, but I graduate on Friday, and I have to pack up my room to go home today/tomorrow. But anyway, good luck to you all, and let’s hope the Tories get a bit of a shock come Friday morning.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . Leave a Comment »

Tory Hissyfits Becoming A Habit

I will leave to others the point that this morning’s threats from the Tories over our leaflets in Henley are not likely to get very far, since they are bollocks. What I want to ask is this: is it now Tory standard practice to attempt to neutralise criticism of their candidates by threatening to sue people over it? Anyone remember this from Bromley and Chislehurst?

David Cameron has accused the Lib Dems of fighting a “dirty” and “personal” campaign in Bromley and Chislehurst.

The UK Independence Party also got into a spat with Mr Neill, who threatened to sue over a UKIP poster accusing him of favouring “unlimited immigration”.

Or this from Ealing Southall?

After all, the Tories know their pockets are deeper than most other parties at the moment; if it comes to it, they can afford to piss around in court doing this kind of faux-outrage, wasting a judge’s time. And that’s if they even get as far as a courtroom. I mean, in the heat of a campaign, they don’t have the time to actually sue anyone over anything, they can simply say they will. I don’t actually recall the two previous examples going to court, does anyone else?

Frankly, the best thing Stephen Kearney can say is “Well get on with it then. Sue me.”

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

Back From Henley

I just got back from the (very winnable) Henley by-election, where I have been since Sunday lunchtime. Look, here are some photos to prove it:

The HQ:
Free Image Hosting at

The March We Have Stolen On The Tories:
Free Image Hosting at

Breakfast Yesterday Morning:
Free Image Hosting at

In my time there, I did four delivery rounds of tabloids and letters, and wrote really quite a lot of addresses. Stephen Kearney, who I had a quick chat to today, is very nice, and makes a point of coming and saying “Hello” to all the volunteers if he’s around, which was appreciated. Also, I met Neil, and saw Mark (but didn’t get much chance to speak to him, because everyone was very busy at the time). I also met several others who do not, to my knowledge, have blogs, but who were marvellous nonetheless.

I have to say, I had a really great time: the staff at the HQ are universally welcoming and lovely, as well as being very organized and professional. I think it’s especially worth going for a couple of days if you have the time; the campaign may well be able to put you up for free at a local supporter’s house, and that way, your travelling-to-helping time-ratio is more favourable. Plus, you get much more of a feel of being part of the campaign, and of how it’s all going. Thame, where the campaign HQ is based, is a nice place too. Highly recommended.

If I get down there again at some point, I hope to see lots of you there. It’s really worth doing if you want to see us pull off a surprise victory.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

Reasons to be Cheerful #2: Off to Henley!

Now that I am free of exams, I will be heading off to Henley tomorrow to lend Stephen Kearney and his team a hand. I have booked myself train tickets and a hotel room, and I will be there until Tuesday. So I will see any of you who are there between Sunday and Tuesday in a pub, I guess! ;-p

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 4 Comments »

A Henley Strategy

What has been bothering me this morning (as I tried to focus on statistics, and failed) is the following question: If the Tory victory in Crewe & Nantwich was about voting for the default “NotLabour” option, then we could have won it if we were in second, right? But that logic depends on it being Labour who are in first. So what do we do in Henley, where, by all appearances, voters are quite sympathetic to the Tories, and Labour doesn’t really stand a chance? So far, the Henley Lib Dems website seems to be going with a fairly traditional mixture of Post Offices, Iraq and Local Issues. Which is all very well and good. But is it enough?

Well, here’s an answer. I don’t know if it’s the answer, I leave that to the reader. But here it is:

We turn Henley into a chance to deliver a message to Cameron that we want to know what his policies are.

Now, I get very irritated when people whinge that they “don’t know what you stand for”, or “don’t know what your policies are”. Yes, it’s up to us to go out and tell people who aren’t interested, but people who claim they are interested surely have an at least equal responsibility to bloody well find out. Especially when it’s as simple as going here.

So, I thought to myself this morning, I must be fair to the Tories. It’s not (completely) up to them to tell me what their programme for government is, it’s up to me to go and find out. So I did. Here it is. It’s very nicely presented, the website looks awfully modern, and the policies sound lovely (except for the ones that sound like a Grumpy Tory).

All four (short) pages of them. [UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that there are actually links to pdfs at the bottom of the four pages, making it up to more than that, in actual fact. But having had a quick peruse, I can’t say I’m impressed. They are as much efforts in obfuscation as they are genuine policy documents, designed to make everything very dense and difficult to skim and generally look as if there’s rather more content than there is. IMO.] Policies like these:

On Education:

“Improve discipline and behaviour in schools”
“Reform the schools inspection procedure to ensure there is tougher, more effective and more searching scrutiny of under-performance”
“Allow smaller schools and more intimate learning environments to be established to respond to parental demands”

On Prisons:

“We will accelerate the deportation of foreign national prisoners.”
“We will replace automatic release with earned release.”
“We will encourage social enterprises to expand prison industries where inmates can do proper work, learn skills and be paid.”

On Welfare Reform:

“Rapid assessments for new and existing claimants of out of work benefits.”
“Every out of work benefit claimant capable of doing so will be expected to work or prepare for work.”
“Time limits for out of work benefits – so people who claim for more than two years out of three will be required to join community work programmes.”

And that’s about it. A mixture of hand-waving wafty shite, and flashes of the same old Tories. And by the way, those are genuinely the only three areas where they say anything even that specific.

The Lib Dems, on the other hand, have, as well all know, a mountain of detailed policy proposals. There is even more policy in our pocket-guide document than there is on the entire Tory website. So I say we turn Henley into a judgment on the policy-free haze which Cameron’s Tories are. We not only campaign locally, but we use the campaign as a platform from which to attack the Tories. After all, kicking Labour right now is the easy part, and it’s not going to do us any good in an area where both main contenders Aren’t Labour.


Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 5 Comments »