Expat TPM Reader TG checks in from the UK …
As a Brit who moved to the US several years ago, but who is now back in the UK to work on the campaign for Labour, I confess to feeling a small rush of pride seeing the election mentioned on TPM.
First, my experience on-the-ground as a Field Organizer in a district that is on a knife-edge between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It *should* be one of the top priorities for Liberal Democrats to take from Labour in May. But I just don’t see the ground-game from them. I haven’t seen them canvassing, out on the streets, or doing the nuts-and-bolts work of building a GOTV operation. There seems to be plenty of money directed at flyering, putting up yard signs and so on. But I don’t see them pulling off an effective grassroots operation. And it shows - looking at our database of canvass returns tonight, they just don’t seem to be pulling it off. Best we can tell, people aren’t identifying with them any more. It’s as if this one spot of Britain is detached entirely from the media stories and the national polling going on out there.
Second, the poll surge seems down to the equal billing given to Nick Clegg during the first ever TV Debate on Thursday. Initially I thought that this was a flash in the pan that would soon die down. But as a friend just reminded me, next week’s debate is on Foreign Policy. If this means talking about Iraq, Afghanistan and Britain’s Nuclear Weapons systems, then Clegg will do well again. If it means talking about Europe or Trade (issues on which the majority of the public are against him - he is a free-trader with strong inclinations towards european federalism), then he might not look like such a great option.
Anyway, glad to see you following things. I usually find that the least insane and least breathless analysis of British politics comes from the States (and vice versa). Looking forward to more of it.
(ed.note: In consultation with TG, one passage of the original email was deleted to obscure just which constituency TG’s working in.)
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.