The Liberal Democrats proceeded with their propaganda onslaught on the people of Brecon and Radnorshire last week, with a leaflet that – it seems to This Writer – should be investigated regarding the accuracy of its claims.
That in itself should speak volumes about what was printed on the front and back of a single sheet of paper.
The leaflet, on behalf of candidate Jane Dodds, brands her as “the strong, effective voice to fight for our community”, yet it makes policy claims that do not bear out this message.
“As our next MP, Jane will fight for more ambitious broadband targets from Westminster and force big broadband and mobile companies to deliver these decent services,” it claims.
But communications regulator Ofcom has already announced that everyone will have the right to demand a fast broadband service at a reasonable price from March next year.
This ‘universal broadband service’ safety net is set to help 620,000 homes and offices in the most remote parts of the UK – such as Brecon and Radnorshire.
So it seems all Ms Dodds would have to do, were she to be elected, is wait. She wouldn’t have to lift a finger because somebody else has already done all the hard work for her.
That is hardly the kind of conduct we should expect from an MP.
The leaflet states: “Jane will bring investment to our area to create good jobs, properly funded public services and affordable housing so people are not forced out of the communities they have grown up in.”
This seems very positive but, considering the claim about broadband, we should be cautious.
Work is about to begin on a new competition-standard BMX cycle track in Rhayader which, it is hoped, will encourage people to visit the town and make it the biking capital of Wales. The local county councillor has said this success is entirely due to the involvement of local people – but would Ms Dodds, as MP, try to take the credit?
Plans are well under way for a new “global centre of rail excellence” on the Neath Port Talbot/Brecon and Radnorshire border near Ystradgynlais, which would be a testing facility of international significance. This would be a huge economic boost to the constituency, so would Ms Dodds try to claim credit for it? If so, it would be a slap in the face for the real architect of the project, Labour Assembly Member and minister for the economy and transport.
Powys Teaching Health Board is about to receive a £1.5 million boost from the Welsh Assembly – a substantial investment in the public health service courtesy of Labour Assembly health minister Vaughan Gething. While health is a devolved issue, I wonder, would Ms Dodds try to say she had a hand in it, once the money comes through?
It may seem that my doubts about this Liberal Democrat’s honesty are a little too strong. If so, may I draw attention to the now-obligatory block graph on the leaflet? Here it is:
Does something seem… out of proportion to you?
If so, you’re absolutely right. The difference in votes between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the 2017 election – illustrated here – was 8,038, while the difference between the Liberal Democrats and Labour was just 4,708 – but look at how these differences are misrepresented on the graph! Readers are led to believe that Labour were twice as far behind the LDs as the LDs were behind the Conservatives – almost a total reversal of the truth.
With misrepresentations such as this, and policy claims that simply don’t stack up, no wonder Ms Dodds’s party is known locally as the Fib Dems.
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