"Yes, we won Bromley and Chislehurst, and winning is better than losing.  But I’m not going to prance around Hazel Blears-style saying: "of course the real story is Labour meltdown etc etc".  We’ll take it on the chin and accept that however bad it was for Labour last night, it was a disappointing result for us.  There was a strong movement to the LibDems just in the last few days, and we didn’t pick it up properly.  We need to learn the lessons now, and I’m asking for Conservativehomebodies to help.  Loads of you will have been to Bromley to help and I’d really like the feedback.  I’ve read the thread on Tory Diary and there’s a lot of good thoughts there.  We’re most interested in the practical lessons, rather than speculation about e.g. whether the Conservative traditionalist vote stayed at home (no, as far as we can tell, but we’ll revisit to find out).

So save the armchair diatribes for another day…there’ll be plenty of opportunity!  Thoughts please on:

–  Candidate selection – not Bob’s merits or otherwise.  He’s a really dedicated Conservative who did everything asked of him and maintained his dignity in the face of a really nasty personal campaign, and he’ll be a great MP.  But what more can we do at selection stage to ensure that the tiresome and completely bogus stories about a row between Association and CCHQ could have been avoided?

–  Literature.  Style, message, volume?

–  Reacting to the LibDem assault.  Did anyone foresee that Bob being on the health board could be portrayed as a negative?  If you’re serving as a school governor for example it’s normally seen as a positive, isn’t it? 

–  Should we keep strictly to only positive campaigning, in the face of this kind of LibDem campaign? (I’ll need a lot of persuading that we shouldn’t!)

–  Organisation?  Media?  Anything else? 

Thanks for this.  I look forward to getting the feedback.