Like every politico, I do love a good Lib Dem leaflet. They never fail to disappoint, and their most recent one is no exception.
I got the "Edinburgh North & Leith Liberal Democrats Resident's Survey" through my door the other night. (Un)fortunately I was out training when their Westminster candidate, Kevin Lang, delivered the leaflet himself.
I do note that, despite the mess of Edinburgh's streets at the moment as a result of a dispute between the unions and the Lib Dem-led Edinburgh Council, there is no question on the survey regarding refuse collection.
However, I digress. It is a cracking effort at a textbook Lib Dem leaflet though. Rogue capitals, a couple of candidates featured that aren't standing in your area and, inevitably, the dodgy bar chart. Let's look at the graph, shall we?
Mmmhmm. I see what we're looking at here. 2005 UK General Election result in Edinburgh North and Leith (with slightly skewed positions on the chart I think). I guess that's a fair comparison - same boundary, same-ish population. But 4 years ago? Surely there are some more recent numbers we can look at?
Ah yes, the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election. We're working with a fairly similar boundary here (with a couple of minor changes) and obviously electing to a different parliament, but you'd expect that would give a decent barometer of support for different parties in the constituency. This was the result:
Lib Dem 27%
I see why we're not using that result - the Lib Dems have dropped a couple of points from the UK election result while the SNP more than doubled their vote share in, granted, what was an exceptional election for them.
But what's that you say? There was another election in Edinburgh North and Leith this year? Just 2 months ago? Oh yes, the European Parliament election. I seem to remember George Lyon's leaflet telling me that "Only the Lib Dems could win here," despite the whole of Scotland being a single constituency for that election! Anyway, the results in Edinburgh were broken down by constituency, so we know the result in North & Leith. And here it is:
SNP (4965) 20.5%
Labour (4324) 17.9%
Lib Dem (4201) 17.4%
Con (4199) 17.4%
Green (4014) 16.6%
Ah yes... again, I see why we're ignoring the most recent poll figure for the constituency. The Lib Dems poll figured has fallen by 10%, and they were THREE VOTES away from slipping behind the Conservatives in the constituency. And with the Greens on the march, they've almost made it a five-way marginal (with the usual caveats about European elections, PR and turnout of course).
So there were go. "It's a two horse race here in Edinburgh North and Leith." Well, if it is, the Lib Dems probably aren't one of the horses...