It is no secret that the Tory Party is having problems mustering sufficient bodies to trek the streets of all those less than totally safe constituencies, knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, helping the hopeful candidates, and explaining to all those ghastly ordinary people who the party claims to care about why they should put their X next to The Blue Team on May 7th. On this measure, they are at a disadvantage compared to Labour.
Warning: may not resemble reality in the UK
How serious a disadvantage would that be? Crewe and Nantwich is considered marginal this time. The last Ashcroft poll showed Labour three points ahead. So on that basis, you might expect the Tories to be at least leafletting the area to remind the electorate of Edward Timpson’s presence as the MP for the past seven years, and his achievements in that time. And from where I’m typing, you’d be completely wrong
Labour challenger Dr Adrian Heald and his team were first through my letter box, with a second flyer to follow up. The Lib Dems, running what may well be a damage limitation exercise - much of their vote could be soft - were next, before the Labour candidates for local elections, held on the same day. Nothing from the Tories. The situation is so desperate Nationwide that CCHQ has sent for the cavalry - from the USA.
Fortunately, that cavalry won’t be coming to the North West, but, as the deeply subversive Guardian has observed, “a team organised by the US Young Republicans International Committee will arrive on 2 May to help out in the marginal seat of Enfield North, and the constituency of Aylesbury, where the Conservatives face a challenge from the UK Independence party (Ukip), as well as the safer seat of Windsor”.
And what has Labour had to say about that? “The expected arrival of the US activists has infuriated Labour candidates in the targeted seats, who pointed out the Republican party’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms aimed at improving care for the poorest in society”. Well, yes, but The Red Team should be not just pleased, but ecstatic: the scope for working this to their advantage is enormous.
All that Labour activists need to do is talk up the NHS as much as possible, then throw in stuff about, oh I dunno, how about cracking down on gun crime - given the proximity of the constituencies to the capital - and talking about the value of the BBC and other Ofcom-supervised broadcasters. That should be enough to set sufficient elephant traps for clued-up voters to get the Republican Party’s finest young minds to leap into.
Seriously, this is not a clever move. The visitors don’t have the vote, they may not be clued up on election law, they are bound to have little appreciation that the NHS is seen rather differently by Brits than the impression given by the likes of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and their perception of the political spectrum may not match that of voters in the South East. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
So, for all those not involved, it’s time to get the popcorn in and wait for the fun.
Hang on... didn't Grant Shapps tell us he had an army of (UK) volunteers ready to campaign? Or was that a left-wing Labour/Guardian plot too?
The RoadTrip 2015 volunteers used by the Tories are indeed available, but (a) only at weekends, and (b) there are not enough of them to visit more than one or two constituencies per day.
As most of them appear to be centred on the South-East, visiting places like Crewe would add significant amounts of travel time. But if Shapps and his team fetch up in the area, and I find out, there will be more on the blog about it.
Surely the hunting lobby group "Vote OK" will turn out for Timpson - again!
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