We do this every year - wait with interest for the first Labour leaflet of the election campaign, eagerly hoping that there will be some good knock-about stuff in it. And every year, we produce the same response - how dull can Labour get in Gateshead?
I got my hands on the Labour leaflet for Lobley Hill and Bensham yesterday. This is the ward where we cut the Labour majority last year from 900 to 92. Clearly it is top of our hit list! Though it is a glossy colour leaflet on one side, it is deadly dull. Just a list of a few things that have happened over the past year.
The Labour councillor for the ward Frank Donovan is a nice bloke. It's a bit unfortunate he is up for election this year in a ward we have targetted. Mind you, he gives more space in the leaflet to telling people he is a lifelong trade unionist, branch chair, secretary and shop steward than he does to telling people what he has done in the ward.
So without wanting to tempt fate too much, I am quietly confident we could just edge ahead in the ward.
Meanwhile, still no sign of any activity from the other parties in my ward (though expect nothing from the Conservatives).
Actually, I said earlier that Labour's election campaigns are dull every year in Gateshead. There is one exception. In 2004, they ran the vilest, nastiest, sickest campaign I have seen anywhere. Labour's vote went into meltdown in the wards where they made their sick claims. We were also accused of causing all the ills in the world, from eating babies for breakfast to causing hurricanes, death and pestilence. It was fun watching the ring leader of all that filth go down to a monumental defeat.