Labour being devious and dishonourable in its use of statistics

I received a leaflet from Brighton and Hove Labour Party this morning that has made my blood boil. On the front page Labour has given the votes cast in the 2010 general election. It inevitably puts the Greens in fourth place and says “voting Green or Lib Dem just helps the Conservatives here”.

It adds “If you are serious about getting rid of the Conservatives you need to vote Labour”. In many wards this is plainly untrue. Labour is spreading a lie.

This may reflect the total votes cast in the three constituencies ….. and those parts of Lewes District that come within Brighton Kemptown, but is not relevant to these local elections. This tactic by Labour is totally unacceptable. It is devious and misleading. It suggests that Labour is so desperate that it is content to lie in order to shore up its support.

I could produce a table showing the results from last year: “Elected 2 Conservatives, 1 Green and no Labour. Don’t waste your vote on Labour”. This would be equally devious and misleading.

I am fed up with this tactic of Labour. It is gutter politics. It fails to address the “isshhoos”. Craig Turton has called on me to focus on issues. In response, I call on Craig to disassociate himself from the tactic employed in this leaflet.

I have been undecided how to vote in May. In fact I had considered splitting my vote between Labour and the Greens. Because of this leaflet I will definitely cast one vote against Labour and in favour of the Greens. If this tactic is repeated I will definitely cast two votes against Labour and in favour of the Greens. Now, I may live in a ward that elects two or three councillors. If it is three (and if the Greens can find enough candidates to field a full slate), I will cast all three votes against Labour if they repeat this tactic for a third time.

By repeating this lie, Labour is running a dishonest and dishonourable campaign and I condemn them for it.


What is the point of the Lib Dems?

So David Laws has gone – the shortest Cabinet career in living memory.  Lib Dem supporters are lamenting his passing and paying some rather ludicrous tributes to him.  The most ludicrous of all was that of Lord Paddy Ashdown who described him as “Mr Integrity”. 

Mr Laws took an “holier than though” stance during the height of the expenses scandal, only to be brought low himself because of his claims. And now he tries to say it was about protecting his anonymity.  Ben Summerskill of Stonewall, writing in today’s Observer, said that this isn’t about homophobia, more “second home-ophobia”.  He goes on “…. Laws moment in the spotlight wasn’t because of a welcome difference from other MPs, but  because of a tragic similarity”.

The problem with the Lib Dems is that they have often taken a ‘plague on both your houses’ approach, not least by Nick Clegg during the Leaders’ Debate.  But the Lib Dems under Clegg have moved rightward, and the natural coming together with the Conservatives was made all the more possible by the Lib Tories like Clegg and Laws.  Laws is a natural Tory but is said not to have joined them because of his disgust over Section 28.

It now begs the question, what is the point of the Lib Dems.  They have become little more than the recipients of Tory votes with a conscience.  But even that is lost because of the likes of Laws whose appointment gave comfort to more hard-line Tories who had a distaste for the Lib Dems.

This blog called for tactical voting in the general election, to keep the Tories out.  How wrong I was.  I had always thought I would vote Lib Dem in Lewes and Eastbourne had I lived there.  No longer.  Norman Baker and Stephen Lloyd have forfeited the right to anti-Tory votes.  My advice in the future will be to rather vote for a real Tory than one cloaked in false conscience.

The Lib Dems split the anti-Tory vote in Brighton Kemptown and Hove, allowing the Tories to win.  The sad and ineffective bunch of Lib Dem councillors in Hove (if two can be called a bunch) should just join the Tories.  Their supporters should join the party that most represents their views, Labour or the Greens.  There is no point in voting Lib Dem.  There’s no point in the Lib Dems existing.

A final plea for tactical votes in Sussex

It’s polling day.  For the past six months or so, I have been advocating tactical votes in Sussex to minimise the number of Conservatives elected.  Last year, with the Tories running in the polls at plus 40% and David Cameron thought it was a formality that he would become Prime Minister, I feared that 16 Tories might be returned from the 16 seats in Sussex.  There was an outside chance that with tactical voting we could see that number reduced to just 8.  The reality is that we might keep that number at 9, although Crawley is looking particularly vulnerable following the unforgivable decision of Laura Moffatt to stand down at the eleventh hour.

So, for a final time, here are my recommendations for tactical voting today:

Vote LABOUR in Brighton Kemptown, Hove, Hastings and Rye, and Crawley

Vote LIB DEM in Lewes and Eastbourne

Vote GREEN in Brighton Pavilion

The decision in Brighton Pavilion between Labour and the Greens took some serious reflection, but having advocated a Green vote as far back as January, I am more confident than ever that it is the right call for Brighton Pavilion.

Cameron wobbles while Brown has his best day as the polls suggest no progress for the Tories

The polls tonight are moving in a way that makes even more uncertain the result of the 2010 General Election (or should that be the May 2010 General Election?).  An Ipsos MORI poll, usually the most reliable / least contaminated of all polls, has a poll taken in 57 marginal seats currently held by Labour, has Labour on 36%, the Tories on 36%, and the Lib Dems on 20%.  

A YouGov poll for the Sun, often the one that gives the Tories the most favourable result, has the Tories on 35%, Labour on 28% and the Lib Dems 28%.  This poll, even if it is correct, would not give the Tories a majority by some distance.  Another poll published tonight, by Opinium for the Daily Express, has Labour on 28%, the Tories on 33% and the Lib Dems on 27%.

Cameron has begun talking up his prospects, saying what he will do on Friday and in the first weeks in government.  Others are being more cautious.  Even Sky News, which has all but announced the Coronation of Cameron, has just said that the election is “too close to call”.   What must be worrying for the Tories is that, in spite of the overwhelming promotion of his cause by the media, the polls are not moving in the direction that would see a Tory government elected.

One other development worth noting was Brown’s inspiring speach which most observers, even tradional Tory supporters, praised very highly.  With two days to go, anything could yet happen. There was a very interesting discussion on the Election Show on BBC News this evening.  It wasn’t about the March of the Cameron into Downing Street.  No, it was the problem Cameron will face on Friday.  If after his massive poll lead for well over a year cannot deliver a majority, then there will be immediate moves within the Tory Party over his leadership.  Even if he forms a minority government (he has ruled out electoral reform thereby making a coalition with the Lib Dems impossible, unless Nick Clegg sells out on day one!), he won’t have a mandate to make the cuts he is planning.

One final development, Peter Hain in tomorrow’s Independent, is calling for Labour supporters in ‘no hope areas for Labour’ to “vote intelligently”.  This is the nearest a Labour Cabinet member has gone in calling for tactical votes.  Had he gone further, he would have been in breach of Labour Party rules, and he would have faced immediate expulsion.  But the message is clear from Hain: vote tactically to keep the Tories out.

Vote Tactically in Brighton Pavilion, Vote for anyone to stop Leo Atreides!

I have just read the election communication of Leo Atreides, an Independent candidate in Brighton Pavilion, or ‘Brighton Pavillion’ as he has remodelled it.

In the cause of fairness, I thought you may wish to get a better understanding of his platform.

“Hear me, Leo Atreides, rally to my cause so that all shall know the love of the Citizens of the Brilliant Pavillion (sic).  We must carry the success of our noble grand parents in the quest to undo inherited injustices of the past that made slaves, beggars & scare of common folk”.  Indeed.  If I had one of those gizmos from the Leaders’ Debates, I know what my worm would be doing right now.

He calls for a “Long Clearing Settlement”, a measure that even Vince Cable is yet to adopt. He says: “The European Central Bank will engage a clearing facility with the development banks of the African Union, Middle East,South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and all others to fund adapting to climate change.  The facility enables Europe to provide universal €800 TOP UP PENSIONS A YEAR TO EVERY CITIZEN of the Union of 65+ years”.  (That’s his emphasis, certainly not mine).

So you get it?  Understand how it would work?  No?  Well, Leo helpfully explains: “To illustrate, a borrower writes a cheque that clears in 50 days to a lender and provides a home as security, the lender allows the borrower to withdraw the sum of the cheque immediately. The borrower pays interest every day, when the cheque clears the debt is cancelled.  Instead of cheques we use bonds, instead of a home we use social housing and we use a long clearing period of 50 days”.

Unlike other candidates whose literature records the details of who is promoting the campaign, Leo is promoting hs own.  I wonder why?

This blog has consistently advocated tactical voting, mainly against the Tories.  On this occasion, I would advocate tactical voting for anyone, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Conservative, Ian Fyvie of the Socialist Labour Party, even UKIP, to stop the surge that could be personified by Leo Atreides.

A final thought, the 15 minutes I have spent writing this post is 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Labour’s nightmare choice in Brighton Pavilion – split the vote to keep the Greens out, or stop the Tories and see the end of Labour

On Sunday morning I blogged about the threat to Labour from a Green victory in Brighton Pavilion on Thursday.  There is joke doing the rounds that Labour supporters are being encouraged to vote tactically for the Tories to keep the Greens out!

It would be quite funny if there wasn’t some truth in it.  The consequences for Labour in Brighton and Hove of a win by Caroline Lucas would be catastrophic. It would be further compounded by Labour losses in Hove and, more so, in Brighton Kemptown. Such results would see the Green targeting Brighton and Hove City Council in the 2011 local elections.  What is more, they would stand a realistic chance of winning control.

Labour, on the other hand, would struggle to avoid a wipe-out on the scale seen in 1992, and it could end up with a shambolic rump of a Labour Group, similar to that of the Lib Dems locally.

A Tory victory in Brighton Pavilion would probably see David Cameron reach Downing Street. What a choice for Labour supporters. Split the anti-Tory vote to keep the Greens out, or vote Green and see Labour’s further decline in Brighton and Hove.

Labour and Green campaigners must stop their squabbling and focus on beating the Tories

The finger pointing in Brighton Pavilion is getting out of hand.  Some Labour and Green supporters seem to be spening more time attacking each other than they do promoting their own policies.  For some it seems that beating the other party is more important than beating the Tories. Allegation and counter-allegation about dirty tricks featured highly on many tweets over the last days.

As one observer commented (sorry, mislaid the reference), both Greens and, in particular, Labour have emphasised in their leaflets who they think will come third. 

Beating the Conservatives on Thursday should be the highest priority.  There will be not benefit at all for either Labour or Green supporters, and more importantl ordinary people, if the Tories win Brighton Pavilion and in the country as a whole.

I appreciate that both Labour and the Greens have much to lose if they are not succesful in Brighton Pavilion.  A Green breakthrough will establish them as a progressive alternative to Labour and provide a springboard for further successes locally and nationally, probably at the expense of Labour. Failure to win on Thursday will put the Green Party’s prospects back a decade.

Labour campaigners need to consider whether a ‘scorched earth’ policy aimed at defeating the Greens is more important than trying to avoid a Tory government.  They must put aside their tribal differences and accept that there must be a Green tactical vote in Brighton Pavilion and Labour votes in Brighton Kemptown and in Hove. Defeating the Tories is most important.