I don’t normally go in for party politics here but I would like to share this.
I happen to live in a marginal constituency which probably explains the flood of election propaganda being shoved through my letterbox. Here’s an example; it happens to come from the Conservatives but I’m sure others could give examples from other parties.
Here in Islington South Labour won in the 2005 general election by 484 votes with the Tories well behind in third place. That fact has been deployed (understandably) by the Lib Dems to suggest a Conservative vote would be wasted. (Our electoral system is insane… the whole wasted vote tactical argument is a byproduct of first-past-the-post voting.)
A couple of days ago, I got this through my door (click for bigger):
Oh! It appears I’m mistaken, now the Lib Dems are in third place, implying that I shouldn’t vote for them. (It’s a bit odd that the headline suggests voting for them could “risk a hung parliament” since the visual suggests my vote would be futile…)
Ah, I now see my mistake! Those naughty Lib Dems were showing me results from 2005, but the kind Tories have brought me up-to-date with 2008 results from London elections. How kind of them to make things so clear. And to make sure I get the point, elsewhere in the leaflet they repeat the bar chart alongside the headline:
Only Antonia Cox’s Conservatives can beat Labour in Islington
But the bar chart is based on the party vote only in St Peter’s Ward, a tiny fragment of the whole parliamentary constituency. That’s patently absurd. St Peter’s Ward isn’t choosing the MP.
That’s be like me saying the Digital Economy Bill was actually defeated, based on an analysis of MPs whose name happened to be Tom Watson.
There isn’t a single Conservative on Islington Council. They have consistently come in third in the parliamentary seat since it was created. Now I see here that there’s an argument that demographic changes mean the tories may be doing better now… but that in no way justifies this kind of distortion that treats the voters like idiots.
As I say, I don’t claim for a second that this kind of shabbiness is unique to this party or this constituency. Still, if we want clean streets we have to start by picking up the dog poo someone leaves on your own doorstep.
I’d be delighted for Antonia Cox or any of Islington’s resurgent Conservatives to stop by and tell me they think this is a clear, straightforward and honest communication.
Separately, I’d also welcome any examples of equally noxious communications from other parties, but you probably wouldn’t know where to start.