Item: The by-election team in Oldham East & Saddleworth have confirmed that Phil Woolas’s judicial review judgement won’t be given this week.
Item: According to Oldham Council, the last date in 2010 they can run a by-election is December 16th.
Item: Students of election law will already have calculated that the writ for a by-election on December 16th would have to be moved this week.
The result? We’re looking at the election being held very early in January.
I’ve written before about how by-elections campaigns have become shorter in recent years. Oldham East & Saddleworth will be a longer campaign – similar to the length of the 1995 Littleborough and Saddleworth campaign, which Chris Davies won.
Helping run front of house on that campaign, with the legendary Pat Wainwright, was immense fun – especially when we won! Fifteen years on we have the chance to repeat that – and in a by-election which, just as in 1995, will be important in setting the political scene for the next year. Winning elections in our own areas in May or at other times in the next few months will be easier the better we do in Oldham East & Saddleworth.
A longer campaign will give Elwyn Watkins and the party the opportunity to speak to more voters on the doorstep and to really get our messages across. A longer campaign has helped us pull off important victories in the past – most notably Eastbourne and Brent East.
But a look at the calendar also throws up a problem: if people leave it until January to help, there will be hardly any days left to campaign. The team members I’ve spoken to this morning are very clear that this is an election that has to be won before Christmas. That gives us all four big action weekends between now and the Coming of Santa.
Obligatory plug: the HQ address is on Elwyn Watkins’ website. The team would welcome a visit this weekend and any and every weekend before Christmas.