Tony Blair “lead from the front” in by-elections? In WHAT universe Mr Cameron?

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Having a pop at Gordon Brown for failing to show his face in Crewe and Nantwich is all fair and good, but why does David Cameron have to go and spoil everything by talking unmitigated bullshit like this?

Mr Cameron taunted him by saying his predecessor as PM, Tony Blair, “led from the front” at by-elections.

During the Blair years it was a standing joke, as it is now, that the Prime Minister never attended by-elections. Indeed, in the last general election, using a picture of Tony Blair (almost always with George Bush) on your literature was one of the easiest ways to pick up votes (assuming you aren’t the Labour Party of course). Blair was ballot box poison, at least after 2003.

David Cameron, having as he does a bit of a schoolboy crush on Tony Blair, may like to think different, but that’s the way it goes.

4 thoughts on “Tony Blair “lead from the front” in by-elections? In WHAT universe Mr Cameron?

  1. That was my reaction to the comment also, did El Gordo challenge it in his response?

  2. That’s news to me Sandy. I haven’t heard of it termed as a tradition (and since when did MPs’ care about incumbency? They awarded themselves a £10,000 communications allowance last year which was a blatant act of incumbency protection), and I haven’t heard of the notion that having the PM turn up to a by-election campaign actually gives the incumbent an advantage.

    It only helps if the PM is an asset. If the PM is a liability it hurts. That isn’t an incumbency advantage – that’s politics.

  3. There was a whole article on it on Radio 4 the other day with Simon Hughes and Steve Norris where it was alleged repeatedly that prime ministers did not campaign in by-elections by tradition, at least as far back as Thatcher, and almost certainly further since the 3rd panellist was some old Labour dude who was in a by-election in the 70s sometime.

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