Monday, March 22, 2010

"LibDems not playing fair"

The public really are becoming wise to the tactics of some parties who seek to mislead. I have just had a very angry email from one local resident who asked: "I am just wondering if you are aware of the 'dirty tactics' the Lib Dems are using with election figures. I feel they are using the last set of figures unfairly because it reads as it they are fact for the forthcoming election, and the 'bars' are not portrayed in proportion properly."

Nothing new there, you might think - the LibDems have a long history of only being elected on the back of tactical votes rather than what they really stand for (if you can work out what they really stand for) and doing so on the back of the dodgy use of bar charts and statistics. They are the staple of a LibDem leaflet - in Tory areas then "Labour can't win here" and in Labour ones then "only the LibDems can beat Labour", normally irrespective of what the results are. Where they can't "prove" this using the last election results, they could use the council results, or the number of council seats, or the change in seats, or a parish council by-election held years ago or maybe the European result for whole region?

The most worrying thing is that the resident believe her neighbours may react to this misleading information not by voting LibDem but: "I am concerned people will be misled by this into not bothering to vote."

I think this is something the LibDem candidate will no doubt be questioned on this during the campaign.


Linden Parker said...

I really loath our Lib Dem bar charts with a passion.

In some constituencies, I would say the bar charts do help to make votes count in a problematic voting system. In Ceredigion for example, where the Lib Dem majority over Plaid is just 219, it really is a choice between the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru.
Labour and Conservatives do not have the networks in place to properly contend the seat, and both stand young and inexperienced candidates who could not win.

I would never be able to support the ugly and horrible use of bar charts showing irrelevant election results, or skewed in such a way that it confuses voters, and it is definitely a problem, and I would say an issue comes up within the Lib Dems as well.

Russell Quirk said...

Hi Antony

As a Conservative Councillor in Brentwood our opposition are primarily Lib Dem. Their election strategies in the last four years or so that I have been elected, range from petitions that seek to prevent a policy being introduced that in fact is not planned at all, to blatant personal defamation. In fact I successfully sued the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Brentwood Lib Dem group in 2008 for entirely untruthful comments made about me in election literature.
Far from learning their lesson however, the Deputy Leader is currently under investigation here for bringing the council into disrepute by lying to the electorate in his County Council election literature last year.
Oh, and his son, a fellow Lib Dem Borough member, was suspended in 2008 for assaulting a Conservative councillor IN the chamber.
Nice people.....

Paul said...


In one of your posts you referred to Billy Boulton & myself as the Nelson Mafia armed with our vicious bar charts!

I'll have to dig out our old leaflets but I like to remember that in Nelson we were more honourable in our use of bar charts than our colleagues in other wards. In fact what really used to wind me up were exaggerated charts with no figures which was quite common on other ward Focus leaflets. And sometimes the leaflet wouldn't even be dated! I always refused to have displayed at my house one of those ridiculous 'winning here' posters.

I suppose during my time we were lucky in that it really was only between Labour & the Lib Dems and at no time were we trailing badly in third place where if we were to use the classic Lib Dem tactic we would have referred to an election several years ago to say it was a race between us and them when clearly it was then but in reality it wasn't.

To be fair to the tactic I don't think it's necessarily wrong to say that, in the case of Norwich South, the Lib Dems were a close second at the last general election but to then claim that only the Lib Dems can beat Labour has to have some grounds in reality and it hasn't !

So, Antony, whilst I'm going to vote for Adrian and expect him to win - you have to beat Simon Wright, & Labour has to beat Simon too.

If it were purely down to leaflets through the door it would be between Adrian and yourself. The Lib Dem leaflet is just diabolically designed.

Anonymous said...

All the Lib Dem leaflets I have had through the door have the result of the last General Election with the number of votes cast per party in Norwich South. No percentrages or attempts to use local election results to suggest anything about the Westminster Seat. Seems perfectly straight forward to me.

Antony said...

Anon; I have various scanned in examples if you wish - the results are accurate (though massively out of date in Norwich poitics terms) but the bars are not correct at all.

Paul said...

Antony - could you email me those scanned examples

Nich Starling said...

Pots and Kettles.

Didn't you take a amrginal seats poll and extrapolate that to say you were winning in Norwich South when in fact the local polling data showed something completely different ?

Antony said...

No Nich and you have conssitently misled people over this. The poll was conducted right here in Norwich South - real City voters.

What would be wrong is to take the overall sample for seats and suggest that was the result - but so far only Simon Wright has done that.

Maybe you ought to read what your own members are saying here.

I had a call today from an Eaton resident today who said she is voting Tory because of the LibDem literature in Norwich South, and I met a former LD voter from Nelson Ward tonight who has switched to our campaign because of the LD attitude.

Ask yourself why people think that.