Lord Oakeshott commissioned opinion polls in the constituencies of 5 Liberal Democrat MPs - it is alleged by Nick Clegg and other that he did this to deliberately damage the party.
That is utter nonsense. Lord Oakeshott was first asked by someone else to commission a poll in Vince Cable's constituency. This he did and it showed the Lib Dems in second place - worrying you would think as Mr Cable had a majority of 12,140 or 20% of the vote.
Most people - me included would have it in our list of dead cert Lib Dem holds at the next general election.
It can't be stressed strongly enough the opinion polls are opinions polls - if they had shown that the Lib Dems were set to romp home in Twickenham - then how on earth would that damage the party.
If on the other hand the polls showed the Lib Dems doing badly, they ought to act as a warning to the Lib Dems not to be complacent.
The weird reaction to the polls is unfortunate - because one only has to look at the local election results in Twickenham (part of the London Borough of Richmond) to know the Lib Dems are in trouble, and the polls confirm they apply to the parliamentary seat. Vince Cable was elected in 1997, if any Lib Dem is going to have an incumbency factor where years of hard work and high name recognition are going to help them keep a seat, it is surely someone like Vince Cable. As the Lib Dem general election strategy is based on such an approach, it is just as well to know now it is not likely to work.