Earlier this week (9 February) the Conservatives gave away the list of constituencies the party is not targeting in the General Election. They did this by including the words “non target” in the URL of each candidate’s page on the central website.
A bit of an Ooops moment!
So we now know, from the Conservatives’ own material, just how many seats they have already given up on.
Now every party has seats on which it concentrates and those that it knows it can’t win. If you live in a tightly fought target seat you will soon realise because of the volume of leaflets.
But the Conservatives’ error in making their thoughts clear reveals two key points.
Firstly, there are political activists out there who will check things like URL titles. Those of us who take great care over what we write and then hand over the production of the links to others have just had a warning!
Secondly , the Conservative list is strange. Now I am not surprised that Sedgefield (Tony Blair’s former seat) is on the list. But so is Norfolk North, Sefton Central and Rochester and Strood.
It isn’t that long ago that Norfolk North was a closely fought contest between the Lib Dems (current incumbent Norman Lamb MP) and the Tories. It isn’t that long ago that Sefton Central (current incumbent Labour’s Bill Esterson) was projected as a win for the Conservatives’ Debi Jones. And Rochester and Strood was the second UKIP by election win last year which surely the Tories should be aiming to take back.
I am sure there will be candidates up and down the country now telling central office to edit its website. But for candidates who are not Conservatives this slip up is good ammunition. After all, if a representative’s own party has made it clear he or she can’t win, why should anyone listen to requests for votes.