JUDGING by Councillor Brian Greenslade's letter ("Pretender to Nick's crown", Journal, August 15), local Liberal Democrats are getting nervous about the next general election.
They seem to be clutching at statistical straws, putting a gloss on past results and seeking solace in questionable forecasts.
I would rather talk about the issues that matter in North Devon, but first let's set the record straight.
Mr Greenslade says the Conservative Party's vote at this year's county council elections in North Devon fell by 27.6 per cent compared to 2009. However this mathematical sleight of hand completely ignores the reduced turnout, so it's only fair to calculate the LibDem vote using exactly the same method. It collapsed by a staggering 56.4 per cent.
Of course it's the actual share of the vote that matters, and this speaks for itself. The Conservatives dropped slightly but won convincingly with 33 per cent. The Lib Dems nosedived from 33 to just 19 per cent, falling to third place.
Of eight county councillors in North Devon, only one Liberal Democrat survives. By contrast the Conservatives are up to five after ousting the LibDems in Barnstaple South.
Whichever way you look at it, the Liberal Democrats are in decline.
Mr Greenslade also quotes the Electoral Calculus prediction that the Lib Dems are ahead in North Devon. The same website thought the LibDems would win 86 seats at the 2010 general election. They actually won 57.
So this methodology has a record of overestimating the actual Lib Dem result by a factor of one third. Take that into account and the picture in North Devon looks very different.
Now let's move on and talk about the issues. The significant facts are that David Cameron's government has cut the deficit by a third, created 1.25 million new jobs and reduced net immigration by more than 30 per cent. The Conservatives are also the only party promising an EU referendum if we win the next election. I support all these initiatives.
To secure these achievements, and to avoid the risk of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls running the country, North Devon must elect a Conservative MP. That's why I'll continue working hard in our community and running a positive, energetic and forward-looking campaign right through to May 2015.