It’s no accident that one of the first things that Nick Clegg did was to point the Lib Dem battle bus towards Watford. This Hertfordshire seat, just northwest of London but not just a commuter town, could be that rarest of things in this election: a genuine Liberal Democrat gain.
It’s a three-way marginal, held by a jovial Tory, Richard Harrington, who stole it from Labour.
The Lib Dem candidate is the popular Dorothy Thornhill, who has been three times re-elected as mayor. So ignore the national polls: this race is personal AND political.
Lord Ashcroft did three constituency polls last year which showed a steady increase in the Lib Dem vote: the last poll, in November, had the Tories on 30 per cent and the Lib Dems on 28 per cent. (Labour were on 24 per cent.) UKIP has been steadily on 14 per cent, a huge irritation for the Tories. If that changes, the Tories could hang on. Or, come the day after the election, Watford may be among the few places in Britain where the Lib-Dems will be smiling.