Friday, June 27, 2008

Henley - time to reflect

A dozen red kites circling over Chinnor, someone in a brash Union Jack t shirt yelling at me that he was voting BNP, me shouting back that if the fascists got into power he'd never vote again, a woman congratulating Stephen on an excellent campaign, a guy (somewhat bashfully) admitting he voted Tory where he had always voted Labour - but suggesting we were knocking up in the wrong area "coz they are all BNP round here". A snapshot of my memories from yesterday in Henley.

Questions on the blogosphere are already being asked about what went wrong. I am not sure, we fought a professional campaign against a known resurgent Tory party - but as I have said before and will say again, the landscape is quite different from Bromley and that is what we need to reflect upon. The world is no longer one where we can pick off Tory seats in by elections, though the same may not be the case where we are second to Labour. I made this observation about Crewe and Nantwich and got roundly criticised - but we can't continue to do what we have always done when the goalposts have shifted and expect to score goals!

Firstly my heartfelt congratulations and commiserations to Stephen Kearney. He was an outstanding candidate and a great new talent in the party.

But, I hope this will provide the goad for us as a party to review where we are in this changed landscape. We have lost two battles, we need a time to consolidate, to rethink our battle plan, to consider if we have the right resources, to rally the troops. I hope this will start with a good think about what radical and risky, insurgent and anti-establishment (to quote Nick Clegg) looks like and in my humble opinion, the less like Tory/New Labour the better!


rob's uncle said...

Some suggestions from Ed Vaizey's blog [] as to where we went wrong:

' . . Their campaign was entirely negative, but it ended up biting them in the ankles. They accused John of voting through council tax increases, without pointing out that they voted for bigger rises themselves. They said local schools were doing badly and underfunded, until the schools themselves hit back. And they constantly referred to their candidate as local when everyone knew he wasn’t, and that really annoyed people.'

The last, if true, is particularly stupid: electors don't like being lied to.

I am glad I stayed away.

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest that Ed Vaizey MP might have an ever so slightly biased take on the matter!

crewegwyn said...

But he might still be right ......