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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Tory hypocrisy

David Cameron's deputy in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, was recently reported as complaining that the SNP were not sufficiently focused on local issues in the council election campaign because they were more interested in the referendum on independence.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has claimed that the Nationalists are trying to turn the local election campaign into a dry run for the independence referendum.

I raised a more than slightly quizzical eyebrow at this in part because of a campaign leaflet I had received on behalf of a Conservative local election candidate here in Perth. A leaflet which contains a call to arms for unionists across the ward sandwiched between something about Perth City Hall and a curiously congratulatory piece about the SNP's protection of greenbelt land.
Protecting the Union
The referendum campaign will start in earnest soon after the Scottish Government's consultation and the May local elections. As Scottish Conservatives we are proud of our Scottish heritage but equally proud to be British. Perth and Kinross and Scotland, remain fairer, stronger and richer in the Union.

Surprised as I was by this, my quizzically raised eyebrow set out to join my rapidly receding hairline when I was informed of another leaflet being distributed in North Lanarkshire and, presumable, elsewhere by Tory candidates in the council elections. Like the Perth leaflet, it mentions some local issues but in the case of the Motherwell example fully half of the leaflet is given over to Tory front organisation, Conservative Friends of the Union. This content is quite explicit in urging the anti-independence minded to disregard local issues and use the council elections to,
...send a clear message that we reject the SNP's separatist agenda and that Scotland wants to remain in the union.
The leaflet lists seventeen questions which unionists are urged to ask the SNP. Presumably, their local SNP candidates in the local election. These include several downright silly queries that are obviously gleaned from the catalogue of inane unionist scare-stories. Here's a selection.
  • How safe is the NHS and will we be able to finance it?
  • Can we afford to have a two tier school system?
  • Can we depend on all the supermarkets to keep sending us food, clothing, electrical goods... which of course we will have to import?
And my favourite!
  • What currency will we use, and heaven forbid, it could be the baw-bee?
Ruth Davidson's gross hypocrisy is exposed. It seems that the Conservatives aren't just using the local elections as a "dry run" for the referendum campaign, they seem to think it is the referendum campaign. But given the political illiteracy of their "questions" we have to allow that they certainly need some practice before the real thing gets under way.

25 comments:

  1. A good find Peter. I particularly liked the appeal to blood and soil nationalism: Scottish, English, Northern Irish and Welsh blood. New Scots are not wanted then, nor Labour's tricolour-waving supporters either? You only have to squint a little bit and it could be a BNP leaflet.

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    1. It would be a stunningly ill-thought communication during the referendum campaign. As part of the local election campaign it is truly bizarre.

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    2. Credit for the find must go to my Twitter "agent" in Motherwell, @Jenemm3.

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    3. Well, lucky you getting a leaflet. I've just finished putting out our candidate's leaflets, with about six of us actually burning shoe-leather and another two stuffing envelopes for the remote farmhouses and so on. This is actually our second round, as we sent a canvassing questionnaire round in early March (very encouraging response). In all our travels, I've seen no other leaflets, or campaigners.

      Our candidate tells me he had a Tory leaflet which he thinks was delivered by a paid agency, and some other stuff that simply fell out of the pages of his local newspaper. I actually had a personal canvassing visit from the Tory candidate, who is new and seems to be about 14. Maybe he would have given me a leaflet if I hadn't laughed in his face. I do so love demoralising unionists.

      But really, apart from us, there's almost nothing happening around here.

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    4. Have to say I've had quite a few leaflets. But I live in the centre of town, so that might make a difference. The SNP people I know locally tell me they have not seen evidence of much activity on the streets by the other parties. But there is still time, I suppose.

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    5. Postal voting papers will be sent out at the beginning of the week as I understand it. While overall turnout may be low, people who have postal votes are about 80% likely to use them. And a lot of these people send the ballot back by return. It's unwise to leave the bulk or all of your campaigning to the last ten days.

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  2. Lucky you getting a Tory council election leaflet, we are talking council election here aren't we?

    All I've had so far is a Lib/Dem comic and a Liebour joke sheet. Oh I almost forgot, Liebour were kind enough to also send me a postal vote application form. Nothing much wrong there you might think, however, they seem to be following a similar tack to that in the election last year. Last year the postal vote application form had a return addressed of Labour H.Q. in Glasgow, this time the form has a return address of the local Labour party in Dumfries.

    Sorry for going off topic here but this is, in my view, just as big an underhand tactic as the hypocritical approach of the Tories. I guess every election brings out the worst suspicions in me concerning Liebour's approach to postal votes and everything.

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    1. No apology needed. This business of the postal vote is something I know a lot of people are concerned about. Returning the completed forms to a political party just doesn't sound right.

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  3. Don't get me wrong Peter, I have no problem with any political party handing/posting out postal voting application forms. What I do have SERIOUS problems with is when the return address is for Labour H.Q., or in this case local party H.Q. As far as I am concerned ANY postal vote application form that originates from any party should, no MUST, have the return address of the local Returning Officer. Any address OTHER than that of the Returning Officer is nothing short of Electoral FRAUD in my view.

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    1. I understand your concerns. Will have to do some research to find out exactly what the rules are. I'll let you know.

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    2. The Tories obviously know, being as unpopular as they are, that the only hope of gaining any votes at all, is to appeal to the unionist sensibilities of a small proportion of voters that may put this type of gibberish before an interest in local issues.

      It seems though, that whoever concocted these leaflets, is under the illusion that the voting age has already been lowered, not to include sixteen year olds, but apparently to include anyone under the age of five, for they, and the bigot, seem to be the demographic this hysterical guff is aimed at.

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    3. Don't forget folks, the Tories have exceptionally high expectations for these council elections.....third. That's right folks the Tories are hoping to become the THIRD party in the Scottish council elections. Now that is what I call HIGH expectations......NOT!

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  4. That is a very worrying trend re the Labour postal votes.

    As for the DNA we also have genes of sub Saharan tribes in our Scottish DNA, so does that mean we Scots belong to Mali to?

    Not sure I like the the inclusive nature of Welsh/Scots/Irish/ English blood in the Tory leaflet, to the exclusion of other genotypes who may live in Scotland, or do they not matter to the Tories?

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    1. The reek of ethnic nationalism is all over it. This is, at best, a seriously ill-judged leaflet.

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  5. I think what makes it really worrying for me is that it is only Labour who seem to send out the postal voting forms, or at least they are the only party I have ever had theses forms from. I would have thought in this day and age where more and more questions are being asked about Labour, what they stand for, their policies, their methods etc Labour would want to appear whiter than white. Unfortunately, as per usual for Labour, they seem to be digging themselves deeper and deeper into the huge murky hole that is Labour sleaze. Sooner or later this hole of sleaze is going to turn and bite them on their collective backside. With a bit of luck this might happen sometime after we see Labour lose control of Glasgow City Council, as I am sure they will, next month.

    With regard to the Welsh/Scots/Irish/English blood theme in the Tory pamphlet perhaps they haven't quite caught up with the science from St. Andrews and Edinburgh universities where scientists there have found the Scots whose D.N.A. they recently tested basically all originated wither from the Middle East or from Africa. Mind you when you think about it the Tories don't do the Middle East or Africa do they? Oops, sorry I forgot they do. They like to bomb Africa and invade the Middle East while threatening others. I guess they just didn't want to accept that there were people of Middle East or African decent currently living in Scotland.

    Apparently, as per usual, the Tories don't do TRUTH they only do FICTION!

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  6. I had a brief correspondence with the Electoral Commission on the subject of postal voting last year. It's perfectly acceptable for parties to have postal votes sent to them. They are supposed to pass them on timeously. The results of postal votes are deliberately mixed with those from at least two polling stations so that the actual postal results are not known. Any anomaly in postal voting is thus hidden.

    The Labour Party has form on postal voting. They were warned over their management of postal votes in the Glasgow North-East by-election in 2009. A judge in the case of two council elections in Birmingham which were quashed after major vote-rigging by the Labour Party said "The system is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that".

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    1. I am persuaded that this is a matter which needs to be dealt with in more depth.

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  7. EricF,

    Presumeably, if we knew the two polling stations we could spot a major anomaly. Has anyone looked at the Glenrothes result from that perspective, or, indeed, is the information available?

    I suspect not.

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  8. Lordy, Lordy! Scotland will have to import food and clothing, probably from England, they suggest. But where, Pray, do England get them from? Some slack thinking there, Ruthie.

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  9. Douglas

    Looking back over the correspondence I see that postal votes are mixed with at least one polling station, rather than two necessarily. This is consistent with the requirement to mix boxes from at least two polling stations together before a count "to ensure that candidates or their agents at the count could not tell how any particular part of the constituency had voted and in any way reward or punish them for doing so".

    That's the philosophy. I very much doubt if information is available on which polling stations are mixed with the postal counts, as that would aid in the identification process they seem very concerned to guard against. They seem less concerned that this process also means that the postal vote outcome is not able to be identified and compared with the overall election result, or the result from individual ballot boxes.

    Despite their apparent suspicion of parties and their agents in refusing to divulge actual ballot box or postal results, they are apparently quite relaxed about parties and their agents handling postal vote applications for them. They operate under a code of conduct - "The Code of Conduct is a voluntary agreement that the main political parties in Scotland have agreed to. It is for them to ensure that their members comply with the code as it is not in the interests of any political party to be associated with perceived or actual wrongdoing." So they're never ever going to do anything at all remotely dodgy ever. And never ever have done, if we ignore the evidence before our eyes, that is.

    They're not interested in postal voting anomalies. It doesn't happen.

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  10. Peter

    I just posted a wee reply to Douglas. It disappeared. Is this a weird moderation thing or has something gone wrong??

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    1. OK - it just appeared. Sorry!

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  11. EricF,

    Thanks for the reply. I can, sort of, see the point of postal voting in terms of increasing the turn out. It certainly seems completely wrong to me that that vote is not returned directly to the Electoral Authorities. Presumeably the excuse is that a housebound elector could not get to a post box?

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  12. And what is wrong with bawbee? ie: a Scottish currency. "heaven forbid" they write - their love for Scotland is plain to see.

    Still awaiting our postal votes to be sent too.

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  13. Just out of interest, how many of our friends in the Polish community in Perth are able to vote? Can't help wondering what their thoughts might about this leaflet?

    As you are in the centre of town, Peter, may I suggest a short canvassing of opinion in a few of Perth's finest Polish delicatessans?

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