Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Labour's collapse in Whickham continues

Our latest tabloid continues to be delivered by our members and campaigners in the Whickham area. Most have now gone through doors though we have a few patches left to do in my ward. The photo above was taken last week - my ward's leaflets packaged into their delivery patches.

We have also experienced the arrival of Labour's election leaflets which they attempt to disguise as a "regular newsletter" (ie its regularity is equal to that of the local election cycle - one a year with every 4th year being time off to recover from their once a year delivery.) It seems that Labour aren't even bothering with a "local newsletter" in my ward. Whilst the two neighbouring Whickham wards are getting the "local" and David Anderson leaflets, Whickham South and Sunniside gets only the latter.

Actually, that's not quite an accurate reflection of what's happened. My opponent's leaflet which came through my door was not alone. It came with flyers for chips, pizzas and a variety of local services which most people would find far more useful than anything Labour could attempt to offer. I checked with colleagues in the other two wards and the story is the same. It appears that Labour have had to pay to get their leaflets delivered.

Labour collapsed in my ward in 2004 following a disastrous campaign they ran for the local elections that year. Whickham North however was Labour's top target last year in the North East and they poured in everything and the kitchen sink. They were devastated when our majority went from 100 to 300. There has been no Labour activity in the ward since then and their candidate has abandoned the ward. He has been chosen to replace Yvonne McNicol, their low profile councillor in Dunston Hill and Whickham East. Labour nearly lost the ward to us last year, scraping in by only 78 votes. As with the other wards, Labour there have been noticeable for their absence since polling day.

It is therefore interesting that Labour appear to be relying on a private company to deliver their literature. What's happened to their troops on the ground? Where have they gone? A look at their leaflet throws no further light on answers to these questions. In the Whickham North leaflet is a photo of what is supposed to be their local team. It doesn't even include their new candidate and nearly half the people in the photo are Labour councillors from outside the area!

Labour are now talking up on Twitter their "local newsletters". Let's hope they try to do this in the election as every time they claim to be active all year round, it goes strongly against the grain of people's experience. The more they try to make that claim, the less people will believe them. And making all-year-round action a key election issue means that local elections here will be fought on our agenda!

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