In my 21 years as a councillor for Whickham South and Sunniside in Gateshead, I have seen the Conservatives completely collapse here (I gained by seat from the Conservatives in 1987). And no serious campaign has ever been run by the Labour party in that time to try to win here.
Last year, as is usual, the Conservatives put out no leaflets at all. Labour managed one leaflet, and nothing more. Previous years, they had managed more than that.
Labour's candidate from the past three elections appears now to have given up, though I am not surprised. I did predict it in previous blog posts. Last year, Labour had an interesting head banging episode after they published a leaflet in my ward in the run up to the election-that-never-was which simply made up stories about the Lib Dems. Bizarrely it also laid into the local post office.
The name of the Labour candidate was all over the leaflet as editor. The problem for him was that he had had no involvement whatsoever in putting it together. He wrote back to tell me as much after we wrote to him. We heard on the grapevine that the person who had put the leaflet together received a visit from someone connected with the local Labour party who was, (we'll put it politely) distinctly unimpressed by the content of the leaflet and the use of other people's names without their permission! The real editor was (we'll put it politely) suitably chastised.
Seems as though the candidate and non-editor of the leaflet, having been asked publicly to withdraw the (we'll put it politely) inaccurate and misleading claims made in his name (we politely asked him to do this by post and for good measure printed the fact we had done this on 4,000 Focus leaflets), has now made way for someone else to lead the Labour charge into my ward.
As for the real author of the leaflet that caused the bust up within Labour last year, I must thank this person for the entertainment value provided and for helping to assist (albeit unintentionally) the cause of the Liberal Democrats from within the Labour party! May we have more like this person!!