– TIM FARRON, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY PRESIDENTLiberal Democrats have a proud 20-year record of action in Eastleigh, fighting for people in both local government and in Westminster. The people of Eastleigh should have the opportunity to elect someone to serve the constituency as soon as possible. This is going to be a tough fight, and clearly a fight that’s between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. I know that we will be up to the task – and I am confident and determined that we will win.
The leader of Eastleigh Council, Keith House, emailed all Liberal Democrat members today to announce that campaigning had already begun. He said:
– KEITH HOUSE, LEADER OF EASTLEIGH COUNCILOur campaign is well underway. We had to hit the ground running, just as we always do in Eastleigh. It’s why we hold every council seat in the constituency. Tim Farron was with us yesterday. All our leading MPs and campaigners are being booked in. Our by-election HQ opens tomorrow. Saturday marks the start of our first action weekend.
Its a tactic that will see off EUKIP and show up their hopeless organisation and lack of management preparedness. I suppose Chairman Crowther is responsible for getting their campaign up and running but that obviously does not inspire confidence following his cock up on the London assembly ballot papers for UKIP. Responsibilty for Crowther's appointment rests with Farage. He is a typical 'Yes Man' that Nigel likes, prepared to do anything to get his name high up on a UKIP MEP slate.
EUKIP are riding high, at least by their standards, in the polls yet their great leader and media star seems strangely reluctant to step into the media limelight that will shine on Eastleigh these next three weeks. Farage announced he would not stand on Twitter, not many words for Nigel.
He had the day before said he was 'thinking about it'. Click on link to watch this less than stellar interview.
His decision to concentrate on his busy EU duties rather than Eastleigh is chronicled at link
I remember a similar situation over the Lisbon Treaty when I was on the NEC. The House of Lords committee considering this treaty invited contributions. I wrote in with mine as did all of the Yeovil UKIP committee. Duely the report was published, nice red portcullis and all, and all contributors were listed. There were MEPS from all EU countries and parties listed but not one from a UKIP MEP. I challenged Farage and Clarke at the NEC on this lamentable omission. Clarke replied that he could not be expected to know everything and he had been busy with his EU committee work! Even Whittaker, the then NEC chairman was shocked by this breathtaking admission of the truth. He remarked to Clarke that he was not elected by the people of the UK to do the EU's work. Whittaker and Farage were equally culpable but at least had the sense to keep quiet about their cock up.
Its the same at Eastleigh. The Tories are in a shambles over Cast Iron Dave's gay wedding and Labour are not bothered. A great opportunity for EUKIP? Nope, incompetence rules OK. EUKIP is simply not fit for the purpose of fighting Westminster elections. Farage's incompetent leadership has ensured that.
PS I think nominations for Eastleigh must have closed at 5pm, today Thursday 7th Feb 2013, so we should know soon who Eukip's candidate is if Crowther/Reeve got the papers in on time.