Tory Democrats on Europe: Confused and negative campaigning

Negative campaigning at its worst: It's what the Liberal - or is it Tory? - Democrats do best.

Negative campaigning at its worst: It’s what the Liberal – or is it Tory? – Democrats do best.

If you thought the Tory manifesto was a deceitful joke, or the row over UKIP’s policies was damaging, have you seen what the Liberal (?) Democrats have been sending around?

Here’s a letter sent to houses here in Brecon and Radnorshire. It starts with the famous Lib Dem block graph, which is a mainstay of all their election communications in places where they have won seats. Presumably they keep using it because it is effective but one has to doubt this example, as it does not feature a European election result, but that of the last UK general election in 2010.

They cannot use a block graph to show a favourable result in the last European election because they don’t have any Welsh MEPs, and the result in the last Welsh Assembly election (in 2011) showed support was already eroding away as a result of their toxic alliance with the Conservative Party in Westminster, along with some spectacularly effective campaigning by the local Labour Party.

The result is a misleading graphic that shows a massive Liberal Democrat majority, coupled with the slogan, “Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here”, where in fact we have two Labour MEPs, one Tory and one representing Plaid Cymru.

It hardly encourages confidence when a political letter – from one of the ruling parties in Westminster – begins with a filthy lie.

The text of the letter, by the constituency’s Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams, asks where the reader wants to be working in five or 10 years, and suggests we will be looking for more pay, promotions and a better quality of life. He states that it is important to protect the economic recovery, but “all that hard work could be undone” if Britain pulls out of the EU “as UKIP and many Conservatives want to do”.

Thanks to the UK’s Coalition government, ordinary hard-working people are receiving far less pay than before the 2010 election, with a corresponding drop in quality of life. Child poverty, for example, is rising fast. The economic recovery has helped nobody but the very top earners (like those in the Sunday Times ‘rich list’, published last weekend) – and besides, the Tory Democrats are not the only party keen to protect Britain’s place in Europe. For that, your best bet is still Labour or (in Wales) Plaid Cymru.

The letter continues: “Across rural Wales the EU has invested £5.8 million into local businesses struggling to find funding to grow and create more jobs, this is on top of the £26 million invested in promoting tourism to Wales which is vital to our local economy.” Yes indeed – but that money was negotiated by either a Labour government in Westminster or a Labour government in Cardiff Bay. It has little to do with the Tory Democrats!

The letter ends with an exhortation to vote for the Yellow Party’s nonentity candidate, whose name is instantly forgettable.

Alongside this came a double-sided flier offering more of what the Tory Democrats do best – negative campaigning. “Don’t gamble with Welsh jobs…” it states, “Stop UKIP and the Tories from risking Wales jobs”. A box-out with a red background says, “Labour stay silent” – which is a blatant falsehood.

Flip the page and you’ve got the pro-Tory Democrat bit – but they can only say they have “helped deliver” funding for superfast broadband, funding for small-to-medium-sized enterprises, and cash to support tourism. And who did they help?


It’s a sad little screed from an organisation in its twilight days.

The saddest part is that someone will believe it.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. Bryn miller May 20, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Yes I think the LIBS are becoming a non party.I know that you support Labour,but UKIP is fast becoming the third party of choice. They will have MPs in WESTMINSTER in 2015 you can bet on it.

    • Mike Sivier May 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Possibly, but not many. If they do well this year it will be a protest vote.

  2. beastrabban May 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Misleading election literature and stealing the credit for others’ achievements seems to be general Tory Democrat policy. Tim Kent, the Tory Democrat candidate for my part of Bristol, in his election material has claimed credit for the developers of our local church now having agreed to build more houses as part of the work. It was nothing to do with him, but was worked out by the local community and the church clergy and congregation during public consultation. It seems to suggest that this deceit is a national policy, and that the Tory Democrats are desperate to be seen to have done something positive. So, given the lack of any kind of truth in their election leaflets, there is absolutely no reason anyone should trust them to represent them at the local elections, in Westminster or Brussels.

  3. jess May 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    One doesn’t often see attempts to analyse ukips supporters. So this from a ‘Counterpoint’ pamphlet, based on a YouGov poll is interesting

    “Both working-class and middle-class discontents are
    rallying around UKIP. A fascinating YouGov analysis in
    February 2013 showed that UKIP has a much more even
    spread of support across social classes than Labour or
    the Conservatives: the profile of its supporters is pretty
    much exactly a quarter AB, C1, C2 and DE respectively”.

    “Twenty-six per cent read the Sun and a further 26
    per cent the Mail, with the Express (6 per cent) and the
    Telegraph (8 per cent), and 20 per cent reading no paper
    at all. Fewer identify themselves as right wing than as
    Conservatives (46 per cent compared with 60 per cent)
    and 23 per cent consider themselves centre, as opposed
    to 18 per cent for Conservative and Labour voters. While
    60 per cent voted conservative in 2010, only 7 per cent
    voted Labour.1”
    Presumably citing

    Unfortunately the pamphlet’s introduction repeats one of those media myths that recur all too frequently

  4. HomerJS May 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    I have just had a Lib Dem leaflet through my door, and I was similarly shocked to see the graph stating that the Lib Dems are the only option to defeat the Tories. Labour are apparently lagging way behind in third. No mention of UKIP or the Greens. Now I come from the North West and can’t find any evidence to back this up, not even when I look back to previous elections that took place before the Lib Dems started getting beat by Professor Pongoo and Bus Pass Elvis.

  5. MrChekaMan May 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    The Lib Dems are withering on the vine, and I will love it when the voters kick out scores of Lib Dem MPs.

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