For the sake of balance, after knocking the Tories, I need to talk about Labour too. I have to say that in both Nottingham and Chesterfield they are campaigning hard. They are getting quite a lot of leaflets out compared to what they usually do, and seem to be knocking on good few doors. We’re delivering more leaflets, but then we have more practice than they do.
Nottingham Labour’s latest leaflet, a version of which has turned up in many places across the city, promises that Labour councillors will deliver “a newsletter or a mailing” at least twice a year. In long-term Lib Dem wards – one of which has had FOCUS leaflets 6 times a year for the last 25 years, this hasn’t impressed many people.
I have to say, that in my direct experience of doorknocking over the last few weeks, the leaflets they are putting out don’t seem to be doing them much good.
A lot of people have had bad things to say about Labour nationally. In Nottingham, the issue of the refurbishment of Old Market Square has had an awful lot of people very exercised. I have had a number of people tell me that should Labour knock on their door, their poor candidates are due for a major earful.
And yet, there is still a small, and dwindling core of people who will still be voting Labour on Thursday. People who look at you sorrowfully, and say – “I’d like to vote Lib Dem, but we’re Labour.” People for whom the party affiliation is so deep that changing is inconceivable, no matter how far from their beliefs today’s Labour party has travelled.
Sometimes I wonder just what would have to happen for this group of people to change their minds. Illegal wars, renewing nuclear weapons, and the rest weren’t enough. Tony Blair eating babies on the Downing Street steps might do it?