You can tell the election is close when the Lib Dems start selecting for their no-hope seats like Battersea – and finally they have selected their candidate: Layla Moran.
I’ll start off with the things I think are good about her:
- She uses a Mac
But there are lots of things wrong with the Lib Dems. One of my main complaints is that they don’t really have a coherent national policy. Much of their success is down to the ability of their candidates to say on thing in one seat and something totally different in the seat next door – simply because they are trying to please the audience and have the comfort of knowing that because they will never form a government they will never see those inconsistencies tested nationally.
I once saw it close-up representing the Conservatives in a debate against Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates. After many questions the two main parties would state their opinion, but the Lib Dem would return the question to the audience, get a quick straw poll on their opinion and then follow up with the killer line “I’m glad that’s what you said, because it’s exactly what I passionately believe.”
But the Lib Dems are not really a force in Battersea or Wandsworth. Four years ago during the council elections I got two Lib Dem leaflets, both homemade by individual candidates (as I recall they broke election law by not containing the imprint), neither mentioning the other and both with the same message: “We know we won’t win the council, but it would be awfully nice if you gave me just one of your votes, just so there’s one of us there.” While I credit their commitment in doing their own thing it was indicative that the Lib Dems put no resource into Battersea.
In Battersea, just as in Wandsworth and the country as a whole the elections are about whether it’s the Conservatives or Labour party in charge on 7 May. I certainly hope that in both Wandsworth Town Hall and Downing Street it’s the Conservatives.