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So there's this election thing soon....

The most recent reason why I'm definitely not voting Labour came in through my letterbox today.


Now, I don't know whether this leaflet was printed and/or posted before last Thursday, when there could have been some justification for saying that the main election was a two-horse race.

But even if it was, the inside says:


The first paragraph's an outright lie. Whenever the leaflet was printed, the option of a hung parliament was being talked about. Even more annoyingly, they're conflating "control of the country" and "control of Glasgow", on purpose. The Conservatives are not, and have not been for decades, Labour's principal opposition in Scotland. They're usually fighting for 4th. The result in this constituency in 2005 was:

Labour : Mohammad Sarwar : 13,518
Liberal Democrat : Isabel Nelson : 4,987
SNP : Bill Kidd : 4,148
Conservative : Richard Sullivan : 1,757
Scottish Green : Gordon Masterton : 1,372
Scottish Socialist : Marie Gordon : 1110

The Conservatives were in fourth, a long way back. The main contenders here - though it is quite a safe seat, obviously - are the Lib Dems and the SNP. The SNP won here in the Scottish Parliament elections, but that's got different consituency boundaries. Conservatives are nowhere to be seen, and have no chance of getting in anywhere in Glasgow. (And yes, the current Labour MP is standing down, and Labour's candidate for his seat is...his son.) The Labour leaflet mentions the Tories six times - always as "Tories" rather than "Conservatives" - and the SNP once. You wouldn't know there was anyone else standing. And the one mention of the SNP is to say that Sarwar will "argue for the reinstatement of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link", which, since it was an SNP policy, must be a devolved issue that he will have absolutely no input into.

So, yeah. Most politicians lie or at least spin frantically on their leaflets, but in case you didn't know: it isn't a two-horse race, and voting Lib Dem is looking more and more unlikely to let the Conservatives in.

Too much politics? Have a picture of the cat downstairs with the mouse I rescued from her.


Edit: ALSO I am worried about the policy "Carry a knife, go to jail". Am I going to be arrested on the way home from IKEA?


Apr. 20th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
The alternative to Labour for Glasgow Central is probably an SNP member. Nationally, this would increase (slightly, because it's likely anyway) the chance of a conservative administration. Viewed as discussing a national outcome, it's arguably oversimplified but not actually untrue.

When this leaflet was printed - weeks ago, as far as I can tell - a hung parliament didn't look particularly likely. It was much discussed, but it was much discussed in '92 as well and didn't end up being particularly close. As recently as last week (paras 5 & 6) a whole bunch of pollsters were asked what they thought the likely outcome was. Every single one opted for a Tory majority.
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know they're generally pretty careful to avoid outright lies - I expect you can get in trouble for them, heh. And I know everyone spins. This just seemed pretty blatant scaremongering, and I don't like them reducing things to a two-party system at the same time they're claiming they support PR.
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
AV is not PR, and I'm not aware of anyone from the party claiming that it is.

Actually it's hard to get into official trouble for actually lying in politics. You may well get caught and look terrible or drive people to your opponents, but normal advertising standards don't actually apply.
Apr. 20th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Ha, I nearly made a comment about AV not being proper PR. Didn't know it wasn't counted as PR at all! I thought Brown and Clegg had a brief discussion about whether the Lib Dems supported Labour's attempts to bring in PR, but they might not have phrased it that way - Brown might have said "electoral reform", can't remember!

A quick look at wiki suggests that it counts as PR when it's combined with AV+ but not on its own, but it's a bit vague :D I really must learn these systems better.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be so sure about that. The swing to LD seems to be smaller in Scotland than in England (although bigger than in Wales) and political honeymoons can be brutally short these days. Back in the early Eighties the SDP used to talk about "breaking the mould of British politics" on the basis of similar figures. When the '83 General Election came along, the mould unfortunately turned out more robust than they thought. The SNP were constantly on the crest of waves too . . . they finally got in by one seat and haven't really overturned things as they thought they would.

I mean, I hope you do well, but I don't think it'll be as dramatic as you suggest, simply because things so rarely are.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
As always. Good luck, though.
Apr. 21st, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
Difference in 1983 is twofold; one is much better organisation on the ground, with campaign teams actually working a huge number of seats, second is no incredibly popular Govt cresting the Falklands victory.

Plus, in 83 the mould wasn't broken because of the electoral system (and, frankly, a crap SDP campaign that concentrated on national stuff not individual seats); the system gave Thatcher a landslide despite losing votes; the opposite happens this time.
Apr. 21st, 2010 08:49 am (UTC)
One of those isn't a difference - we still have a crap electoral system which may well not properly reflect a large liberal swing (which of course at one point would only have been found in Cyril Smith's back garden . . .)

Yes, the differences may count, but they also may not. Sudden swings like this tend, AFAICT, to be quite soft.


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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