With apologies to Al Franken.
Last Saturday I was out on the doorstep campaigning for the Conservatives in a by-election in the East Barnet ward. Despite being a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Labour, the local Lib Dems seemed to think they had a chance. And all the usual Lib Dem lies came out on their leaflets.
First there's the usual bar chart using some very dodgey figures to prove another challenging party "Can't win here". On this occasion the figures were the "Change in votes in the Chipping Barnet Constituency 2005-2006" - an utterly meaningless comparison in the first place (between Westminster and Council elections) and not relevant figures for the ward itself.
Then there was the usual attempt to portray the Lib Dem candidate as "a local champion" and "local choice", completely ignoring the fact that until last May he was a councilor in another ward many miles away. Then the voters decided he wasn't the local choice there either. After that he declared in a leaflet to residents that he would never leave that area.
Then the Lib Dems shed their attempt to portray themselves as a nice, cuddly party that doesn't engage in "tribal politics" when they called local Conservative councilors "despicable". As the local paper said "Negative campaigning is still alive and well" and "Neither Labour not the Lib Dems have mentioned the positive effect of CCTV and Safer Neighbourhood Teams." (Barnet Times 18 Jan 2007)
There was also the spectacle of the Lib Dems putting out leaflets in colours traditionally associated with both Conservatives and Labour, no doubt because they've realised voters can see through the rubbish on yellow. But voters can see through it, no matter what colour the Lib Dems print it on.
If Sir Menzies Campbell is to make any lasting impact on the Lib Dems during his brief leadership, he could do no worse than to take a stand against the nasty tactics of local Lib Dem campaigners. Or else he could end the pretence of the national party to be something it isn't. There is a reason why both Labour and Conservative activists can get on well with one another, but find Lib Dems unbearable.
And the result? In this two horse race the Lib Dems came third.
Conservatives - 1666
Labour - 1025
Lib Dems -552
Green - 147
More details can be found on the blogs of Cllr Robert Rams' Blog and Hunter and Shooter.