Lib Dem declared winner of April Fool’s Day

Will & Tim friends againAn intern working in Catherine Bearder MEP’s office has been declared the ‘winner’ of April Fools’ Day by the Huffington Post website.

Intern Tim Reynard cooked up the prank over breakfast, and texted Oxford West & Abingdon Organiser Will Griffiths the following message:

Will, really sorry to do this, I’ve been working for Nicola (Blackwood, the Conservative MP) since leaving Odeon, and the opportunity of an internship with the Lib Dems to compare parties was too good not to apply for.  Wish u all the best but I’m a Tory at heart and am due back in Nicola’s office today.  Sorry for such short notice, Tim.

Will’s instincts kicked in and, fearing that the Lib Dem campaign had been compromised, Will set to deleting all Tim’s access to databases, email etc.

He then rang Campaign Manager Neil Fawcett to tell him the news.  Neil, who had just said good morning to Tim in the office, took the news calmly, and asked Will to get himself straight in to the office.

By the time Will arrived, the rest of the office were in on the joke, and were busy pretending to be checking that nothing had been taken, and that emails had not been forwarded to the Tories.

On the pretence of going to check Tim’s contract, Neil then took Will aside for ‘a word’, at which point Tim revealed himself and asked Will what the date was!

Within a couple of hours the local BBC had found out and the prank had gone viral.  Radio One’s Newsbeat reported the story.

Having ‘won’ April Fools’ Day, the Oxford West & Abingdon team are back to concentrating on winning the general and local elections on May 7th.

They’ve had a great response to their Fighting Fund appeal, already more than two thirds of the way to its £3,000 target.If you can help Layla Moran’s campaign, please support their campaign.

Editor’s note: This is not the only OXWAB connection to a successful April fool today – except on this occasion it was a local town councillor who fell for our wee prank, as Simon Foster said in the comments:

Damn. Town Councillor candidate fell for this in OXWAB, and I promised them a clarification from Neil on this by the end of the day.

Nice to know I can now provide the clarification. Nicely done, had us both hook line and sinker here ;)

* Raif Pollo is a member of the OXWAB Liberal Democrats who likes to maintain an air of mystery.

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  • Genuinely much less motivated to help out or donate to a campaign in which a whole office full of people gang up on one of their number for a “joke”. Sorry.

  • am not sure that this was funny, for all sorts of reasons.
    clearly politics is a nasty trade!

  • And how many hours of work were wasted on this puerility?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 1st Apr '15 - 8:46pm

    @Jennie: I have enough faith in the people there to not have dome something that their colleague couldn’t handle.

    @david I really don’t thnk for a second that any member of staff or volunteer in that office owes us any time at all. They are all working flat out and a bit of fun like this is not something I’m going to grudge.

  • It’s not about whether or not Will could handle it, it’s about an attitude that says everybody ganging up on one person to make them suffer is funny, and if you don’t get the “joke” then you’re the one at fault. Perhaps this is a relatively harmless example, although I’d argue that half an hour of sustained panic isn’t that harmless, but I’m sure we can all think of situations where that kind of office atmosphere is not harmless.

  • I’ve known Neil for two decades. There is absolutely nobody I would trust more not to be involved in some inappropriate in the workplace.

    And there is absolutely no way he’d be involved in this if he thought it would in any way damage the ability of the LIb Dems to win in OXWAB on May 7th.

  • I think it comes down to how well you know the people you work with and how they would take it. I know that some of my colleagues could take a joke like that, others – for a variety of reasons – couldn’t.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 1st Apr '15 - 9:40pm

    I agree with Hywel. Neil is one of the most level headed, good hearted, responsible people you could ever wish to meet. I trust his judgement on this one.

  • Liberal Neil 1st Apr '15 - 10:03pm

    It is quite reasonable for Jennie to express concern, and I’m sure there are many occasions when people do get ‘ganged up on’. But this was a spontaneous April Fool, by an intern directed at a full timer, within a team with a lot of spirit and humour. It took up a short period at the start of the day and only later became a thing when another team member shared something on social media.

    I would hope that fellow Lib Dems might be willing to trust the judgement of the members of a team.

    As it happens Will was very pleased with way he reacted, he did exactly the right things very quickly, and received praise for having done so.

    As for David’s point – we have an incredibly hard-working team here. In the last two weeks we’ve run a 200 strong campaign launch with Shirley Williams, organised the first visit by Nick Clegg and his battle bus with a huge crowd despite the wind and rain, increased our local party membership to more than 550, got our first 300 stakeboards up and knocked on about 5,000 doors. Are we allowed half an hour of fun? Yes we bloody well are.

  • Thanks Neil. I’ll go away now.

  • Simon Foster 1st Apr '15 - 10:29pm

    I worked with Neil in 1997 when we won Oxford West and Abingdon then, and was in the Abingdon HQ when I heard about this today.

    Knowing all the parties involved I know Will is the sort of person who can take a joke. I agree with Keith: it won’t be for everyone, but different oeople have different senses of humour.

    Having seen the reactions of Will, Tim and others in the team firsthand, I can see that it got everybody on the team smiling and, more relaxed. Lots of activists dropping in enjoyed the story too.

    I’m glad to be in a party that has a sense of humour (and I write this having been caught out by this websites April Fools, full marks).

    I’m pleased to report we gad a good days campaigning in this ultra marginal seat, but its early days at the moment. Activists from other constituencies will receive a warm welcome.

  • Louise Bloom 1st Apr '15 - 11:58pm

    I thought it was a brilliant April Fool and if I were Tim, I’d be saying to Will ‘ Do you really trust me so little that you really believed…;-) OXWAB are clearly doing a brilliant job. I’ll be over there myself in a couple of weeks to help elect an excellent new woman MP. Go Layla!

  • I think it’s hilarious that the first reaction was ‘oh god I hope he hasn’t leaked anything to the Tories’. Shows how much trust there is in that office and how little you’re prepared to think of each other.

  • Liberal Neil 2nd Apr '15 - 7:49pm

    Mike – when someone sends you a text saying that they have actually been working for the Tories it’s a pretty reasonable assumption to make!

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