One of my supporters passed me a Labour leaflet this evening 'Vote Lib Dem get Tory' is the main message. They weren't impressed and they weren't surprised. It was clearly issued by Labour HQ in London. I read it twice and I couldn't find one positive reason to vote Labour on it - which you have to admit after 13 years in government and even more on the Borough Council is pretty pathetic. Locally the leaflets are not much better with the latest one featuring a nasty personal attack on me. This kind of campaigning is really depressing and is turning people off voting for any political parties this election. It is corrosive and will do Labour no favours at the ballot box. I've got used to this kind of campaigning from Labour as a councillor and when the personal attacks start it usually means I'm doing something right. Labour are keen to talk down our chances because they know that we represent a threat to them.Labour politicians in Reading have should be worried. Wherever we go in the constituency Labour voters are telling us they fed up with Labour and are backing Lib Dems this time. People want a fresh start and politicians they can trust - politicians they know will work hard for them. My record of action as a local councillor sets me apart from the other candidates in the race - local people judge me on my record, not Labour's leaflets. They see me busy helping local people and getting things done and they like what I do. It helps that nationally as well as locally things are turning our way. The latest poll from ICM/Guardian has the Lib Dems on 23% and Labour support falling below 30% after a surge in support for us (+4)..Lots of people I've spoken to in Reading West this week watched Vince Cable on 'The Chancellors' debate on Monday evening and were really impressed by what they saw. One lady rang me to say she thinks Vince should get an OBE! Another told me 'Vince won that 1-0;'. Feedback I'm getting from other parts of the country is similarly positive and Vince is widely viewed to have won that particular round of the debate. My Dad told me he was phone canvassed by the Tories in Camden during the debate which strikes me as slightly bad timing (and it was met with a predictable response!)
I met up with Alok Sharma (Conservative) and Adrian Windisch (Green Party) earlier today to sign a 'Clean Campaign Pledge'. I think it's important that we strive to mount a positive campaign attacking policies not people. The Labour candidate doesn't appear to have signed the pledge so far, which is a pity. I drove along Oxford Road today and saw the latest Conservative posters looming down from billboards - they feature a creepy photo of Gordon Brown smiling alongside claims of Labour 'failure'. I think it was supposed to be ironic but I just thought they looked cynical. Lots of people will look at the those posters and think 'they're both as bad as each other'. In fact, that's what people have already said to me on seeing them. The Labservative campaign came to mind - a campaign pointing out the similarities of Labour and Conservative parties -parties that represent 'no change - more of the same':
Anyway, I'm buoyed up with loads of energy to get our positive message out to voters in Reading West. New volunteer helpers are joining our campaign every day. One said to me:
"Keep that commitment and energy it is so refreshing. We need a different kind of politician so badly in Reading." As Nick Clegg says, if you want change you have to vote for it - check out this video and of course, Vote Lib Dem!