Thursday, June 26, 2008

Henley - a retrospective - Labour come fifth behind the BNP!

Labour come fifth and lose their deposit. Martin Salter is on hand to comment. A bit like the spectre at the feast.

I can't be bothered to give (many) excuses or try to explain things away (much) or blame anyone. These things happen at this point in the electoral cycle and in Henley. We went up 1.7% on 2005.

In many ways "Henley" is a misnomer, as is often the case with constituency names. Henley-on-Thames and Goring, two of the larger towns in the south of the constituency, tend to look to towns in Berkshire as their natural centres, just across the river. Then you have a huge swathe of Oxfordshire north of them with the biggest town, Thame, 35 miles away from Henley-on-Thames itself. All a bit strange. But a lovely part of the world. Rolling countryside and lovely villages. In many places, the peace is uninterrupted by the sort of fast traffic you see in many villages elsewhere.

I was very heartened by a superbly run LibDem campaign. A bit disappointing on posters in the south and 400 volunteers to the last weekend was great - but we got a thousand at Newbury for the last weekend (or is that my memory playing tricks?). And if there were more blogs saying "I've been to Henley" rather than quite a few saying "I can't get to Henley but...", it might have helped.

It was wonderful to see so many keen young people in the LibDem campaign plus lots of familiar faces. Candy Piercey was running the Henley-on-Thames committee room yesterday with her usual precision and cheerfulness. I went to the campaign a dozen times, mostly at the Goring "sub-office".

I don't think the campaign could have done anything more. We had a superb candidate and I feel very sad for those young people who are now knackered and down-hearted. Peckers up chaps! Thanks for your help. Well done team!

Martin Salter accuses LibDems of a "dirty and unpleasant" campaign. Pot. Kettle. He's laying down smoke (or is that B/S?) to evade the huge Labour defeat. Fifth. Behind the BNP! And the Green party! On Gordon Brown's first anniversary!

Politics does involve a bit of free speech and pointing out the weaknesses of your opponent. The Townlands hospital leaflet was true and meticulously well-founded. The Tory legal threat will melt away. It was pathetic anyway.

We move on. But thanks to everyone who helped for a hugely enjoyable campaign.

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