The clear belief by the Conservatives that they could win in Ealing leaves me wondering what they base their predictions on. Is it definite evidence on the ground, such a canvassing and the level of engagement people are prepared to take up with the Conservatives? Or is it an assumption that stunts and publicity events generating a Tory feel good factor are sufficient. I suspect it is something of the latter.
I have come across this Tory feel good factor before. In the Leicester South by-election I was telling at a polling station with a Conservative MP. He was convinced the by-election was a 3 horse race with a strong likelihood that Labour would come third and the cOnservative first. He was also convinced that the Birmingham by-election held on the same day was a 2 horse race between Cons and Lab. We all know the reality was somewhat different. He had nothing to gain at this point by spreading disinformation. He simply genuinely believed what he was saying. I wonder whether the feel good factor for the Tories back then was based on the fact a bunch of Conservative MPs had travelled up to Leicester together on a coach, lubricated themselves with Pimms and went off to speak to a bunch of known Conservative supporters, thinking they were representative of the locals. And so I wonder what gave the Conservatives such a confident belief they could win Southall. I think it simply comes down to the fact that they thought all it takes to win is a high profile candidate who is not only media savvy, but happens to own the media as well!
It was interesting to read the confident remarks on Conservativehome and Iain Dale's blog before Thursday. But what was also interesting is the almost complete lack on mention on those sites of the Sedgefield campaign. Admittedly, I noticed one blog post from Iain Dale about Sedgefield, but it was more along the lines of "Sedgefield is some far away place about which the Conservatives don't give a toss but if anyone has a clue about what might be happening, please do tell." I haven't read his blog or Conservativehome since Wednesday, but from what I have heard, they aint exactly praising Cameron at the moment!
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