The new National Liberal Party (NLP), has been busily campaigning on the stump in the Squirrels Heath (Havering BC) By-Election. Fighting only its second election, polling day is August 23rd.
The main platform of the NLP has been opposition to over-development. The candidate is the leader of a local Action Group that successfully halted the loss of a fine period building to flats. Crime has also featured in the campaign as local residents list it high on their concerns. A number of leaflets have been distributed and supporters canvassed. Although voters have never had the opportunity to vote NLP before the candidate did stand as an Independent in 2006 so the Party hopes to build on that.
Apart from the Conservatives there are Labour, RA’s and UKIP candidates. All of the latter three have put in poor, lacklustre campaigns so far.
The seat is solidly Tory – they obtained two-thirds of the vote in 2006. It falls within the Romford Constituency whose MP is a hard working right-wing populist. This has been reflected in a strong campaign including canvassing and three leaflets so far. Some of the leaflets have been customised to reflect different local areas (Havering seats are quite large and often contain more than one ‘community’). However there is a whiff of plagiarism about them considering crime has become one of their main issues sometime after an NLP ‘survey’. Even our candidates opposition to a particular over-development is now being supported (despite the plans being backed by one Tory councillors). Anything for votes I suppose!
To cap it all one of their main leaflets tries to convince the voter that their main opponent in the election is Labour i.e. scare the Conservative voter into voting (who said those tactics were abandoned under Cameron?). They even produce an opinion poll which suggests that Labour are only 12% behind them on 37% even though they only got 12% last time! Despite the fact that all the figures add up to 102% (even the Albanians only claimed 100%!) The NLP are apparantly running at 0%! We shall see whose figures are more accurate on polling day!