Friday, October 19, 2007


Whitchurch By-election - Lib Dem Hold

An excellent result for our next door neighbours in Whitchurch yesterday. This was a by-election for Basingstoke and Deane District Council caused by the death of one of Whitchurch's Liberal Democrat councillors.

The result:

LD - 52.8%, -5.6%

Con - 43.6%, +2.0%

Lab 3.6%, +3.6%

The Tories threw everything they had at this. Lots of rip-off Focus-style leaflets. Lots of heavy duty canvassing - I saw George Young and entourage knocking on doors while I was delivering leaflets there last Saturday. There were even reports of County Council Leader Ken Thornber being spotted out canvassing! So a very solid performance from our Whitchurch team in response to the Conservative challenge.

The next nearby by-election will be in Wickham on 22nd November, also caused by the death of a Liberal Democrat councillor. This one is for a seat on Winchester City Council, so very close to my heart!

"The Tories threw everything at this".

Oh really?

Well you had to pull in Lib Dems from 20+ miles away just to deliver good morning leaflets to a few thousand houses.

That was just to defend a seat where you had a 2:1 advantage just a few years ago. Whitchurch used to be a very safe Lib Dem ward. Not any more.
Bringing the Tory leader of the County all the way from Brockenhurst to Whitchurch doesn't count then?
As to "safe seats", 52% when we're at our lowest point in years in the national polls doesn't sound too bad to me.
Was Ken Thornber delivering good morning leaflets?

Er No, he works in Winchester so probably drove the short distance (like yourself).

The fact that Whitchurch Lib Dems had to bring in people to do their delivering in what was a safe seat, indicates that the Branch there is very weak.

Equally presenting a narrow win, in what was a safe seat, as "an excellent result" is just plain spin. It assumes that deceiving the voters is acceptable. It is not. Being honest with voters would be a change that could help Lib Dems get back from the dead.
As a resident of Whitchurch I was a bit surprised at the amount of paper pushed through my letterbox by the Lib Dems - I suppose the result means the new councillor can now start pushing his recycling bit (the last one has been a bit quiet on the subject since his election).
Some of the paper work could have been saved if the "council works delayed" story hadn't had to be followed up by a "council works not delayed" story.
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