“There is absolutely no chance of us winning there” – Conservative MP’s Feltham & Heston outburst

I headed over this morning to help Roger Crouch’s Parliamentary by-election campaign in Feltham & Heston, all of which went fairly smoothly (at least once I remembered to open my eyes) and it was good to see high quality literature that tied in well with other campaign activity, such as the local newspaper adverts for Roger Crouch.

It was also good to see an idea I helped pioneer at previous Parliamentary by-elections extended at this one – putting a feedback sheet on the back of each delivery round slip. This not only means the campaign gleans extra information but also that the time given up by volunteers to help out is put to the maximum use and benefit.

Treating volunteers with respect by making the best use of their time is very important in my book. That means getting the most out of their time, as in this case by getting data as well as leaflets shifted out of someone doing a round of delivery, and also making sure that any tips for future repeat deliveries on the same patch are gathered.

For example, the round I had looked deceptively flat but in fact contains quite a few narrow, poorly maintained and badly lit steps – to be done with care in the wet and certainly to be avoided on a wet, dark night. Thanks to the form, the campaign knows to warn future deliverers about that.

What did surprise me was the apparent paucity of the Conservative campaign. Not only was activity thin on the ground where I was, the quality of the Tory literature was very poor. It was not so much badly artworked, as not artworked:

However, catching up afterwards on reports of squabbles amongst Conservative MPs over the campaign, perhaps I should not have been too surprised. Conservative MP Bob Stewart has complained about his party’s campaign, saying in a leaked email:

For your information I have spent the morning and early afternoon in Feltham & Heston. There was no proper welcome and no briefing prior to me going out canvassing. It was hugely discouraging. 

I did two estate roads, flats and houses while there. The vast majority of people were out and those that were in wouldn’t open the door. I don’t blame them for that. 

As I was canvassing there was a drugs raid and the UK Border Agency were doing a simultaneous operation. We probably looked like people from the Social Services, Police, Special Branch or UK Border Agency. There is absolutely no chance of us winning there. 

I wasted my time all day today and I will not be doing so again.

Actually, Bob Stewart isn’t quite right. By kindling penning the words, “There is absolutely no chance of us winning there”, he has secured himself a staring role in rather a lot of future by-election leaflets I suspect…

But the best news of all? Feltham & Heston is home to some very good post-delivery reviving hot chocolate:

For details of how to help Roger Crouch’s campaign, see the Hounslow Liberal Democrats website.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections.
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9 Comments

  • I was in Feltham yesterday and I agree with Mark that the literature is good. The tabloid, for example, lists all the schools in the constituency and how much each will receive from the pupil premium. The most visible campaign is that of UKIP. There are UKIP billboards and Nigel Farage was out and about bringing joy and happiness to Christmas shoppers. The pub I visited had UKIP “Save the Pub” beer mats. I hope Liberal Democrats will go and give some time in support of Roger Crouch, our excellent candidate.

  • ISHvinder Matharu 4th Dec '11 - 4:32pm

    “Treating volunteers with respect by making the best use of their time is very important in my book”

    Very sound advice, unfortunately often forgotten!

    I think I heard a piece on BBC Radio on Friday stating that Labour obviousluy have it in the bag, but that UKIP would be the significant other!

  • paul barker 4th Dec '11 - 5:39pm

    Refreshing honesty from Bob Stewart MP but however much publicity he gets enough Tory voters will turn out to squeeze our vote to the bone. The tragedy is that in a “safe” seat like this if the Party running 2nd cant be bothered theres almost no point having the Election at all.

  • Mark if you could share where to find the good hot chocolate I’m sure lots of helpers in the coming weeks not to mention those of us on the campaign team would appreciate it.

  • Ian Patterson 5th Dec '11 - 5:51pm

    do hope campaign material refers to middlesex, not west london, as feltham was/is middlesex. this felled labours campaign in 1997 uxbridge by election for same reason.

  • Tony Dawson 6th Dec '11 - 1:23pm

    So, the Library campaign is presumably quite a good introductory ‘sweetner’. But what is the Lib Dems’ ‘national’ ‘pitch’ in this by-election?. Has anyone uploaded any of the other literature anywhere?

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Dec '11 - 1:21pm

    We should do more to expose UKIP as a party which is really about right-wing economics, with the EU serving as a convenient scapegoat for problems that really lie elsewhere. It attracts a lot of naive support from voters who think of it as just an anti-EU party (and have been conned by the right-wing press into supposing the EU has much more power and influence than is really the case) but who don’t realise they are voting for a party which is to the right of the Conservatives on almost everything. Would it be that hard to demonstrate to point out to who is angry about “the cuts” and thinking of voting UKIP as a “protest” that UKIP stands for deeper cuts?

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