Saturday, May 07, 2005

Greens Succeed In Saving Blair's Man In Oxford East

My feelings on the Oxford East result have rather changed since, having ignored it for days of campaigning, I discovered a letter in my college pigeon hole, from earlier in the week. Green Party Councillor Matt Sellwood and Election Agent Chris Williams sent their letter encouraging students to abandon the LibDems in favour of them, in Oxford East mostly because, "Steve Goddard has no chance of overturning Andrew Smith's majority." They emphasised Chris Williams' credentials as a former President of Oxford University Liberal Democrats.

As we all know, Steve lost by 963. The Greens got 1,813.

I told someone at breakfast today that I wouldn't play the game of blaming the Greens or the Independent candidates for taking votes from Steve, because they have every right to run and every right to stick up for what they feel are significantly important issues where they differ from Labour and the LibDems. That's still true, but I do think it's pretty disgusting that they are willing to pretend Oxford East wasn't competitive and hence protect the New Labour candidate. I can only assume they want to keep Blair loyalists in office so they can increase diassatisfaction and hence maximise their own votes in the future. But it's morally rather shoddy, in my eyes.

People often tell me that LibDem local tactics can be a bit surprising- particularly in some seats where in the past we have deceptive bar charts to suggest we're more competitive than we are. When that's happened in the past, I have absolutely nothing but disdain, and would want to distance myself from it. I always thought the Greens were the good guys, and while a bit misguided- in my opinion -I had a lot of time for them.

I hope Matt and Chris will be feeling just a bit guilty this weekend. They got their 1,813 votes. Hope it was worth it, guys.