Sunday, 17 April 2011

Labour's thick-eared campaigning

Peter Black draws attention to Matt Withers' assertion that Labour's "whole campaign – the line pushed at every opportunity – is that the election should be used 'to send a message to David Cameron and Nick Clegg', the implication being that, on May 6, the pair will awake to discover Labour has a 31-seat majority".

Well, that strategy has worked only partially in England. In council by-elections, Labour has piled on extra votes where the party was doing well anyway. Elsewhere, voters have judged the candidates on what is best for them locally. (This was a key point of Nick Clegg's recent rallying call for the English local elections - that LibDem-held councils have not closed facilities to the extent that Labour and Tory ones have.)  Even where wider issues were considered, voters have given Liberal Democrats credit for reining in the Conservatives in government and in ensuring that some key points of our manifesto - notably the guarantee to state pensioners - were included in the coalition programme.

The result is that Liberal Democrats show a net gain in council by-elections held in Britain since the general election.

Welsh Labour is clearly working on the assumption that voters here are more ignorant than those in England. It is a mistaken and disrespectful strategy.

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