Labour’s campaign in Crewe and Nantwich appears to go from low to new low (James Schneider). It is the most unjustifiably bad behaviour I have seen since Birmingham Hodge Hill in 2004 (and there’s been some steep competition, believe me).
I’m fascinated that they are using “con man” on their literature. I’ve always understood this to be a definite no-no on election literature (even when using against a CONservative) as it creeps beyond the garden of mockery and legitimate criticism and into the realm of defamation. But then, I suppose there isn’t much point in suing a political party that is bankrupt.
The use of the “one of us” slogan is interesting. Is Dunwoody comparing herself to Margaret Thatcher here? Or is it intended to evoke memories of this iconic scene from Tod Browning’s Freaks:
The most amazing thing about the Crewe and Nantwich by-election is the sheer amount of column inches it has generated in the national press. As a by-election veteran (I confess, I haven’t gone to this one), I’m used to fighting the great fight in eminently winnable seats (which of course, we went on to win) and yet have the media completely oblivious to the fact right up until the day before polling day when they finally get around to sending a monkey up to see what is going on.
Not that I’m complaining, mind. The more they ignore a by-election in the run up, the bigger the splash on the front pages when we win. The fact that the Tories are being presented as a near-certainty will dampen the impact if they win and make them look silly if they lose. The fact that Labour’s dirty by-election tricks are finally getting a good airing is also gratifying, although it is a shame it is being presented as a one-off when they play this game every single fucking time.
What is bizarre is the way journalists keep calling it a “safe Labour seat.” Dunwoody only had a 7,000 majority and when you’ve been an MP as long as she has, most of that will be down to a personal vote. I don’t know the area’s political history but the Tories have completely eclipsed Labour in local government.
If the Tories had had as good a prospect as this to fight during their doldrums in 1998, it would still have been amazing if they had gone on to lose.
Make no mistake: this by-election is for the Tories to lose. If they can’t win this, they will be back to where they were last summer. I’m not making any predictions either way here, but let’s not kid ourselves about them having a massive job ahead of them, eh?
The fact that Dunwoody is standing in her mother’s former seat and kickstarted the by-election before her mother was in the ground says everything you need to know about Labour’s sense of entitlement and distaste for fair competition. To run a rotten borough-style campaign while finger wagging at the Tory opponent for being too posh does at least suggest she has inherited some of her mother’s chutzpah. But I seem to recall Gwyneth having rather better judgement and being rather less shameless.
UPDATE: I’ve just noticed they are splurging on the Google ads to attack “Tory Boy Timpson”. This appears to be Labour’s only line of attack. Is this all the party has left to say? Are they going to lose badly, or are they going to lose badly?