Reports from the Newark by-election front line and the Liberal Democrats’ spirited campaign

David Watts and Liz Lynne in NewarkSpotted in an obscure corner of Facebook this morning was a report from London Lib Dem Julian Heather who’s spending a couple of days at the Newark by-election. It’s reproduced here with his permission:

I’m really impressed with the spirited campaign that our Lib Dem byelection candidate, David Watts, and the rest of the Liberal Democrat team are running here in Newark – it’s what one might call a small, but perfectly formed, campaign, as well as being greatly enjoyable!

And it’s that experience you get whenever you go and help out fellow Liberal Democrats in another part of the country – that feeling of being part of the Liberal Democrat family, and meeting all kinds of Liberal Democrat members and activists, really good people, who remind you of why you are a Liberal Democrat.

So thanks, Sue Hull, one of the four Liberal Democrat Councillors on Bingham Town Council, and her husband Stuart, for making us feel so welcome at yesterday’s Bingham action day. It was also good to finally meet Facebook friend Leon Duveen from Worksop, and the legend that is Councillor Chris Stanbra from Corby. And great to have had the privilege to be out delivering with Christine Rose, our brilliant Lib Dem District councillor in Sutton-on-Trent, which is at the very north of the Newark constituency. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet the two helpers from Long Eaton who were coming along later in the day.

And our candidate David Watts really is a class act. He gets talking to all the people out in their front garden as he leaflets them, and is not only very personable, but also gritty and down to earth – I suppose he has to, as a criminal lawyer – aided and abetted by 15 years experience at the political coalface, as a councillor in the Broxtowe part of Nottinghamshire.

David’s done a great job on the media front, as any of us who have seen him on television will know, very positive and self-assured.

While we were leafleting, David took a planned call from LBC. They of course raised the issue of that very recent party leaders poll, and Nick’s poor ratings as party leader. Asked what he thought, David joshes them, asking if the poll might possibly have been commissioned by a certain ex-Lib Dem Lord!

If you can lend a hand to David’s campaign in the next few days, Jonathan Calder has the details you need (including a very nice picture of Southwell Minster). If you fancy doing some phone canvassing, the magic code you  need is: 7CD2DC-2242

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  • Opinion p;oll out tonight says that this spirited campaign has not resonated. We have 6% and worse 6% is also our National figure. Definately seems to be time for a change at the top.
    Interesting other figures, Con 42, UKIP 27, Labour 20

  • Just heard that Cons had 600 helpers in the constituency over the weekend

  • paul barker 2nd Jun '14 - 8:34pm

    We know what happens in byelections : it generally resoves into a 2 -horse race between the incumbents & either the Official Opposition or the current insurgent/protest Party. Other Parties generally get squeezed, sometimes almost to nothing. Newark seems to be following the usual pattern & we are suffering a double hit as both part of The Government & not one the top 2.
    Like most Byelections Newark will tell us nothing & if The Tories win will be quickly forgotten.

  • Glad to hear what’s going on in Newark; thanks for posting. 🙂

  • According the Ch4 News Cameron has just made his fourth visit as leader of the Tory Party.

    Glad to see Liz Lynne there for us.

  • Richard Dawson 2nd Jun '14 - 11:00pm

    Well we have lost our deposit (in some cases by a big margin) in 2/3rds of by elections since 2010 so I guess 6% would be a decent result given the last 10 days headlines

  • Four of us drove to Newark from our (London) Borough on Saturday. But we need more!

  • “Like most Byelections Newark will tell us nothing”

    For once I agree with Paul Barker. A poor result for the Lib Dems in Newark won’t compare in significance with coming fifth in the European elections, or with the loss of 300 councillors in the local elections. If Clegg can survive those two, Newark isn’t going to shift him.

  • Chris, I disagree, it depends how bad it is, remember Bootle and David Owen/SDP-
    If they come fifth or sixth then ………………………………………….

  • “Chris, I disagree, it depends how bad it is, remember Bootle and David Owen/SDP-
    If they come fifth or sixth then ………………………………………….”

    They came seventh with 1.4% in South Shields last year – having previously been third with 14.2%.

  • nvelope2003 3rd Jun '14 - 12:50pm

    Maybe people do not feel there is any reason to vote Liberal Democrat ?
    “The governing modern ideology of liberalism is failing in multiple respects. It lacks the intellectual resources to resolve any real life moral disagreements, to provide any substantive social cohesion, or even to justify its most basic assumptions. Modern liberalism attempts to disguise its moral and intellectual bankruptcy by invoking “historical supersessionism” and insisting that pre liberal superstitions and errors have been left behind or overturned by modernity and reason when in truth they have been institutionally excluded and ideologically denounced, not disproven. The “hyperpluralism” of the modern West makes dishonesty as a staple of modern Western intellectual discourse inevitable”
    This quote should make Liberals re – examine their whole philosophy and stop putting forward policies that, even if a few people think they are right, lack any popular support.

  • Squirrel Nutkin 3rd Jun '14 - 1:47pm

    nvelope2003 – you are Brian Appleyard (or David Lindsay) and I claim my five groats!

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 3rd Jun '14 - 4:48pm

    Best wishes to David Watts

  • On the other hand, coming behind a joke candidate would be another first for the Lib Dems in a parliamentary by-election. Mike Smithson reports:
    There was also a lot of local interest in the 25/1 quoted for The Bus Pass Elvis Party to finish ahead of the Liberal Democrats. One Labour MP, who must remain nameless, popped into the Market Square bookies to have £10 on what would be a humiliating outcome for Nick Clegg.

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