A quick report on how it’s going in Crewe and Nantwich

An excellent day yesterday with Nick Clegg and a lot of press interest. We’ve got a big operation going and had a very good number of helpers in today already.

This is a really important weekend – the team proved yesterday that we are well set up to deal with large numbers. We just need lots of people every day!

The news from the doorsteps is encouraging. It’s been a pleasure to be out and about. The big Elizabeth Shenton posters are going down a storm – as is Elizabeth herself with both the team and the public.

I’ve seldom come across a candidate who engages more naturally with the public. The other parties clearly don’t have that advantage.

Personally, having knocked on quite a few doors, I haven’t found a determined Labour voter yet, and most Tories seem far from convinced by both their candidate and their leader.

This is a by-election where there plenty of issues for people to get fired up about and plenty to talk about on the doorsteps. We have an exciting few days left ahead of us!

Hilary Stephenson is the party’s Director of Campaigns & Elections

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • I personally don’t like the way you got rid of Marc Godwin – so you won’t be getting my vote.

  • Dabber – yes democracy is a bummer.

  • Yep, a Newcastle-under-Lyme councillor is going down well on the streets of, er, Crewe & Nantwich. Christ! Has the party learnt nothing about getting candidates in early, embedding in the community, rattling the opposition for being outsiders? It worked everywhere else.

    Just lucky the Tories are too “nice” and have no ruthless streak otherwise they’d be making hay out of this.

  • Grammar Police 10th May '08 - 6:01pm

    Haha, dabber and “Anon” hilarious – two Tories trying to pretend otherwise.

  • Yep I must be Grant Shapps. You’ll have to guess my password to crack this one I’m afraid.

  • Grammar Police 10th May '08 - 6:25pm


  • anon :-

    Newcastle under Lyme is around 10 miles from Crewe & Nantwich constituency, so she lives marginally closer to the constituency than the Tory (around 15 miles), and quite a bit closer than the Labour candidate (around 175 miles).

    Newcastle also has a pretty similar demographic to Crewe & Nantwich; certainly more similar than Kelsall (where the Tory lives) or Pembrokeshire.

    Actually, we have the best candidate !!!

  • An ICM poll of 1000 voters in Crewe & Nantwich is suggesting that the tories are on target for their first by-election gain since 1982. The figures are:- CON 43% Lab 39%: LD 16%.

    Nuff said!!

  • It has to be said, the ICM poll results are worrying. What is the key idealogical message we are selling at the moment? I don’t think we’re communicating clear themes to the electorate in the same manner as the Conservatives are. A strong theme lends integrity to every aspect of a campaign. It means everyone speaks “on message” all the time because the basis they’re speaking from is clear in their mind and clear in the voter’s mind.

    Making a point out of the fact our candidate lives 15 miles closer to the constituency is petty and will be regarded as such by the voters.

    It’s all about themes everyone!

  • Interesting result as a baseline – not sure taht its as good for the Tories as they hoped. Expect all of those votes are very soft and all to play for – looks like a three way fight to me.

  • Grammar Police 11th May '08 - 11:04am

    Niall, what’s the Conservative’s theme – please tell me, ‘cos I seem to have missed it!

  • We are doing well because of the knocking stuff on Iain Dale. In the next few days Tory trolls keep posting on Lib Dem voice and other political blogs how bad we doing or how horrible we are, because they fear us.

  • Grammar Police 11th May '08 - 11:50am

    Hat-tip to Guido for this particularly nice Labour leaflet: http://www.order-order.com/2008/05/class-war-by-election.html

  • LOL Tories fear LDs!LOL

  • Hywel Morgan 11th May '08 - 12:40pm

    “Yes, as a baseline it’s rubbish – but we’ve started with worse and won before!”

    Ribble Valley we were certainly third in an early poll.

    Things seemed pretty upbeat when I was there yesterday but I only saw a tiny bit of the constituency.

  • I should first of all state that I am LD party member. I think that LDV is a good place to discuss our party’s performance and honestly, even if i were a Tory, the comments I make here are not going to impact on the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, this is a place where we should openly and honestly examine where we’re going right and where we’re going wrong.

    I would suggest that unmitigated optimism in the face of contradictory polls is counter-productive. The ICM poll reads CON 43% LIB DEM 16%. Paul L, saying that this is a three horse race is basically delusional, even if we got a 10% swing from the Tories to us (which if we’re honest is pretty unlikely) we’d still be trailing. We have to recognise that Chris Rennard’s excellent by-election strategies are now being replicated by the Tories who have a growing activist membership who’ll get out on the pavements and it’s no longer enough for us to nominate a local candidate and produce the most literature. The reason being over-optimistic (especially publicly) harms us is that the public see a poll that says LD 16% and then us either, a) complaining that the poll is not accurate or, b) ignoring it and blithely suggesting that we’re fighting to win. In the public’s eyes this makes us look like we’re in complete denial.

    As I said in my previous post what I think we’re lacking is a clear idealogical standpoint from which to fight our local battles. In answer to your point Grammar Police, what is the Tory message? I think that it’s this whole idea of “compassionate Conservatism”. “We’re the Tories and we’re on your side, the old statist methods of New Labour have failed. What we need is a new Conservative solution that recognises the value of competition for provision of services but at the same time won’t leave the neediest behind.” Now let me be clear. I’m not suggesting that this is a completely honest message or that it’s what we’ll see if the Tories are in power but, and here’s the nub, IT’S WHAT THE ELECTORATE BELIEVE. The local council elections and poll results attest to this.

    I don’t think that the public know clearly enough what our fundamental position is. Conservatives have their “compassionate Conservatism”, the Labour party’s “Third Way” has fallen by the wayside… what do we stand for? Until our core ideology is defined and transmitted to us by the party leadership then I don’t see us having the big impact we want.

  • Martin Land 11th May '08 - 2:52pm

    Niall, if you really are a Lib Dem, I think you are in the wrong party. I know what we stand for – it’s called Liberalism.

  • Martin, my point was that our core principles aren’t being communicated clearly enough to the electorate. To say that we stand for “liberalism” is just so much hot air. It’s like saying the Conservatives stand for “Conservatism” and Labour for “Socialism”. I know we stand for liberalism. What we need to do is make it relevant to the context and situation we find ourselves in now. Simply saying we stand for liberalism isn’t good enough, we’ve got to show people clearly what that means.

  • Niall,

    “Local” polls are notoriously unreliable – so I shouldn’t get too hung up about this one.

    I might just as well point you to a poll on the crewe.tv blog, which has us in … er … the lead!

    Or some anecdotal feedback from Tory phone canvassing which (allegedly) has us a close second, with Labour third!

    Why not come to Crewe and Nantwich and gauge it for yourself? We can supply leaflets ……………….

  • crewegwyn, I would love to come down to Crewe (down for us in Scotland). Unfortunately I’m in the midst of Chemistry finals! Not a time when I can do too much campaigning I’m afraid.

    I take your point about local polls, however it was the party strategy and polling performance nationally that I was really aiming at.

    Good luck with the remainder of the campaign! I guess the best time for analysis is after the result.

  • Cheltenham Robin 11th May '08 - 5:17pm

    Look, the Tories are only up the in polls by default because most people think that the government’s a bit crap at the moment.

    Where we fought hard campaigns on May 1st, especially in seats where there is an office bassed organisation (mostly MP held and target seats) we staved off a Tory revival.

    The Tories will start unravelling soon when they have to come up with concrete proposals that need to be costed.

    They can only get away with “Vote Blue because we’re better than Red” for so long.

  • Grammar Police 11th May '08 - 5:57pm

    I disagree about “Compasionate Conservatism”; the Tories simply don’t have any policies at all, let alone any that support this.
    For the right or the wrong reasons, I think you’re over-egging the pudding about the Conservative’s theme and our apparent lack . . .

  • SECRET !

    Labour Campaign Plan for C & N Leaked

    1. Tamsin DUNWOODY is the daughter of Gwyneth DUNWOODY. That makes her a DUNWOODY

    2. The Tory is a Toff

    3. Hide Gordon

    4. er, that’s it …….

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