EXCLUSIVE: Tory Ealing Southall campaign all front? (UPDATE)

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I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in Ealing Southall constituency (I would have been there earlier, but I had a prior meeting). Impressed with the Lib Dem campaign HQ, which is conveniently placed and just right for our needs.

I thought that there was something amiss about the Tory campaign when I saw that extraordinary video on Webcameron of Cameron adlibbing desperately to break the awkward silence. Very odd footage that appears to serve no purpose. It wasn’t about the candidate, or the area, or the issues. For a man who works in radio, Tony Lit doesn’t say much does he? Or perhaps they were trying to keep him quiet.

My suspicions that the Tories weren’t running a serious campaign seemed to be confirmed when I got to see what they are actually delivering. A tabloid newspaper that looks like it has been designed by a not particularly competent amateur who is trying to copy the Lib Dem style. Too much filler, not much substance, too few photos. Half a page of newspaper quotes about Cameron, half of which are more than a year old? A whole page wasted on listing councillor details? They’ve made a brave stab at a bar chart, conveniently ignoring the fact that they are third in terms of actual votes (next time you hear a Tory moaning about a Lib Dem bar chart, laugh hollowly). This is the sort of literature you would expect to see in a low profile, “up and coming” non-target election campaign, not a key target byelection.

Then, pop over to the Facebook group of the Ealing Southall Byelection Virtual Campaign Base and you find that, despite the Conservatives’ high presence on Facebook, it has just a handful of members. Its first Campaign Day is in a week’s time. That’s almost halfway through the campaign!

If the Tories were serious about this campaign, they would be spending less time producing bizarre videos and more time producing decent election literature (produced by one of their professional organisers rather than an enthusiast). If they were serious, they’d have an actual campaign base, not a virtual one. I’m sorry Arleen, but it looks like you’re going to have to wait a bit for your Christmas.

UPDATE: I can’t believe Tony Lit named one of his children after David Cameron! Creepy or what?

8 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Tory Ealing Southall campaign all front? (UPDATE)

  1. I know it isn’t exclusive, it’s just that it is the blogging equivalent of using the word “SEX” to get attention. Haven’t you seen Guido or Iain Dale? YOU keep up! 😛

  2. Do the Lib Dems already have a candidate for the Ealing Southall by-elections? I tried to find the name everywhere, but couldn’t find one.

  3. PRESS RELEASE

    Thursday 5 July 2007

    LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS – SIKHS, WOMEN AND YOUNG PEOPLE NOT IMPRESSED BY LABOUR SELECTION PROCESS FOR EALING SOUTHALL BY ELECTION

    Around two weeks ago following the death of Piara Khabra, the MP for Ealing Southall, the race began for who would be the Labour Party candidate in the by election on 19 July. Last night it was confirmed the Labour candidate would be Cllr Virendra Sharma after the Labour Selection Panel, including Keith Vaz MP and Tom Watson MP decided on a remarkably short list, of two men on Tuesday afternoon. It is reported that fellow Labour MPs like Fiona Mactaggart were furious with the outcome and made their views known with the new Party Chair, Harriet Harman.

    The Labour Party had already announced in March that it would adopt an all women’s short list with the front runner being Sonika Nirwal. However, as this was a by election and a candidate for Ealing Southall had yet to be announced to replace Piara Khabra, when he stepped down, his untimely death provided the Labour Party with an opportunity to open up the selection process.

    The Labour Selection Panel reduced the estimated number of applicants for this safe Labour seat from perhaps as many as 100 to eight candidates on Monday evening. Publicly there were two fairly powerful lobbies – one to ensure a woman was selected and the other to get a Sikh into the Commons, preferably a turban wearing Sikh.

    It is understood two of the eight on the long list were women – Sonika Nirwal and Jasbir Anand. Seven of the eight were Sikh, with three turban wearing Sikhs, including Cllr Gurcharan Singh who was widely acknowledged as the person with most support within the local Labour Party membership that would ultimately determine who represented them. Most, but not all, on the long list were local candidates. As there were candidates on the long list that were not local some are asking why excellent candidates, like Dr Harkirtan Singh, who has been short listed before in Denton and Reddish, were excluded on this occasion.

    After interviews on Tuesday the Labour Selection Panel surprisingly only named two on the short list to take part in hustings that evening and who would be put to the local Labour Party membership. The hustings on Tuesday night were only for local Labour Party members and reports suggest they proved quite tense as there were many who were upset at the short list. The absence of a woman or turban wearing Sikh in the short list were two of the main concerns.

    It has been reported that the Selection Panel wanted somebody similar to the Conservative candidate Tony Lit – “an Asian man with a ‘clean cut’ image”. However, it is been unofficially suggested that part of the thinking was that Sonika Nirwal and Gurcharan Singh had some sort of skeletons in the cupboard that the opposition parties might exploit in the by election. Similar allegations could be made against the candidate selected, but only time will tell what tactics and information the opposition parties use. It is interesting that Labour has chosen to keep media coverage of its chosen candidate very quiet.

    As Labour has failed to allow a woman or turbaned Sikh to be in the short list there is a risk that an independent Labour candidate will now stand. Labour has brought this on itself. It has also not been lost on the Sikh community in Ealing Southall and throughout the UK that young Sikh professionals have been overlooked for the one ageing non-Sikh on the long list.

    Gurjeet Singh
    National Press Secretary
    Sikh Federation (UK)

  4. So the “Lib Dem style” is ” Too much filler, not much substance, too few photos.” A rare moment of honesty there. ”

    EXCLUSIVE: Leading Lib Dem Bloger says Lib Dems have no substance” hmmmm

  5. EXCLUSIVE: Leading Conservative blogger (sic) lacks basic English comprehension skills.

    I said it was a bad copy of the Lib Dem style BECAUSE it has “Too much filler, not much substance, too few photos.” Still, the thing they’ve been delivering this weekend is even worse.

  6. “EXCLUSIVE: Leading Lib Dem blogger has sense of sarcasm bypass” perhaps?

    also “EXCLUSIVE: Leading Tory blogger can’t type bloger”

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