At last we have received a piece of election literature from the Liberal Democrats. Also, our next door neighbours have put up a Liberal Democrat signboard, the first one I have seen. It says something about the nature of their campaign in Warwick and Leamington that it does not have the candidate's name on it.
In their leaflet they try to big up their chances by suggesting that the last county council election results show that the contest could be a close finish between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, but votes in a secondary election of that kind are no guide to a general election result. One could show similar results before 2001 and 2005 and the Lib Dems still came third.
The leaflet contains one picture of Nick Clegg and one of Clegg with Saint Vince of Cable. The candidate, Alan Beddow, emphasises that he is 'one of us', a local man, although he is not a 'townsman' as he is only lived in the area for 15 years. He promises to 'put local people first'. It would be odd if he put them second or pledged to be secretive and deceitful about his expenses rather than 'open and honest'.
He makes a great deal, as do all three candidates, about proposed fire service cuts which would involve the closure of Warwick fire station. They certainly are a major local issue as they came up on the BBC Midlands TV panel debate in the constituency. All three candidates are against them, but none can directly affect the decision as it rests with the Conservative controlled county council.
Another local issue mentioned is protecting the green belt against developers, while it is argued that 'Our NHS' is 'at risk with the Conservatives'. The candidate is pictured with a nurse at Warwick Hospital and an unspecified person who could well be one of the dread health service administrators (whose wages only account for 3 per cent of the NHS budget).
I didn't think the leaflet was as well designed as those of Conserative or Labour: it was over crowded with too much information.
What is interesting is whether the lack of any substantial Liberal Democrat campaign in the constituency will undermine their local vote. National poll evidence suggests that the Lib Dem vote is softer than that of the two main parties and more reliant on younger voters who tend to be less reliable in terms of turning up and voting (despite a late surge in registration).