a) the Lib Dems were gaining on him, leveraging their anti-war credentials to attract Muslim voters
b) Woolas' team saw this, realised they were losing Muslim votes and that it could be touch and go
c) Desperate times, desperate measures - a decision was taken to try and up the turnout among the despised white working class
d) method - leaflets (probably wrongly) associating the Lib Dems with the sort of extremists who call for beheadings, (rightly) pointing out the Lib Dem support for an immigration amnesty (Tory leaflets also mentioned this), and calling on voters to 'Stand By Phil'
Although what probably did for Woolas in the court case was an allegation that the Lib Dims were taking Saudi gold, it was the attempts to 'get the white vote angry' that led white lefties to choke on their lattes.
I assumed that narrative was pretty much OK, until I looked at the actual results :
|General Election 2010: Oldham East and Saddleworth|
|Liberal Democrat||Elwyn Watkins||14,083||31.6||−0.5|
Hang on - the resurgent Lib Dems actually lost vote share compared to 2005!
I hadn’t realised that the big difference in Oldham 2010 was the drop in the Labour vote, not an increase in the Lib Dem vote. Lib Dems lost just a couple of hundred votes compared to 2005 (despite an increase in turnout from 57.3% to 61.2%), Labour lost about 3,800.