Monday, September 03, 2007

Byelection time is here again....

Welcome to the Warbreck Byelection update - I know how much you all love them

I ran a phone bank on Thursday night in WAA, good solid returns and a bit of casework to do. The Ann O'Byrne factor is startling. Everyone knows exactly who she is and all claim to have voted for her - it reminds me of the old jokes about Maggie T, only in reverse.

Saturday was a bit hairy, Mum and I were leafletting in the Welsh Streets when we were joined by a group of LibDems, Jimmy Kendrick and I had actually to form an orderly queue to leaflet the same letterboxes. It was all quite jovial though, I had a brief chat with Ron Gould about Reynolds Park where we had visited for the first time yesterday, really beautiful, especially the walled gardens, a hidden gem indeed.

A big group of Labour councillors were out and about in the ward tonight, some delivering leaflets, some knocking on doors. I was with the candidate, Richard McLinden, and with Councillors Doreen Knight and Mary Rasmussen from Speke, they are byelection queens now. We had an amazing response, we were knocking in Orrel Park which is very nice, beautiful houses, Devonfield Road has its own green flag gardens. As we walked round I kept trying to decide which house I would most like to live in. It was not traditional Labour territory, believe me! And yet, house after house, door after door, they were voting Labour. In actual fact we ran out of posters, now that is rare!

Richard Roberts is the LibDem candidate, the councillor whose seat Ann won in May. His leaflet mainly contains photos of him, on his own, on his knees, in the road. Not sure what we are to make of that, symbolically, but it does point towards the looming presence of Richard Marbrow as his agent whose sense of what makes a good photograph has always been dire - hence the badger baiting photos on his own leaflets, as we learnt to call them.

Now I am not complacent, it will be a small turnout which could make it closer than it was in May, but I would be extremely surprised, let's put it like that, if the LibDems can hold on. We found at least a dozen switchers - used to be LibDems now Labour - in the three streets we visited in our team tonight.

I predict a Labour gain, or should I call that a blip Warren?

Incidentally it will be interesting to see whether there are any rogue LibDems in the chamber on Wednesday night who are prepared to vote with us on the motion of no-confidence in the LibDem leader. I think a lot is going to hang on the Warbreck result, wouldn't be too surprised if the quiet noises of doubt which are being made "off stage" become louder and more strident.

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