Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lies, Damned Lies and Lib Dems

Went down to Brixton Town Hall today to pick up the nomination papers and electoral registers for the two wards we'll be contesting in the local elections. Somebody gave me a leaflet. As it was in blue I assumed it was a Tory one but when you opened it it turned out to be a from the Liberals. Obviously aimed at Tories, it proclaimed "The Conservatives can't beat Labour here. Only the Lib Dems can".

What, the Liberals think they can win Vauxhall? If they did then the Cameron clone who is their Leader would be Prime Minister and Vince Cable (the only Liberal politician anyone knows) would be Chancellor and have to put his money were his mouth is. Vauxhall is one of the safest Labour seats in London where the Alternative Vote isn't needed as the Labour candidate got nearly 53% of the vote at the last general election. Then I realised that I'd strayed over the border into the neighbouring constituency of Streatham.

The Liberal leaflet contained the claim they use everywhere -- it's a two-horse race and we're in it with a good chance of winning. Here in central London they're appealing to Tories to vote Liberal to keep Labour out. Further out, to the South West, where there are three Liberal MPs (including Vince Cable) they're appealing to Labour supporters to vote Liberal to keep the Tories out. The leaflet had a bar graph showing Labour and Liberal neck and neck with the Tories trailing in third place with well under half the Liberal support. The caption said "The results from the last elections here, in 2009". The last elections, in 2009, were those for the European Parliament. Here are the actual figures for the whole of Lambeth (not just Streatham): Labour 15990 Liberal 11340 Tory 10537 Green 10394 Others 9339.

The lesson of this? Don't believe any statistics you read on Liberal leaflets. The chances are they are falsified.

There was a political point on the leaflet that needs taking up. It claimed "Everyone knows someone who's lost their job because of the way Labour have run the country". We hold no brief for Labour (obviously not) but this is not true. The government is not to blame. Everybody will know someone who's lost their job but it's because of the way capitalism works and would have worked whichever party was in power. Rival politicians would have us believe that if only their party had been in power things would have been different. Not true. What is responsible for the social ills we face is not which party is in office but the profit system we live under. The way out is not to change the politicians who form the government but to replace capitalism with socialism. To make this point is why we are contesting the elections.

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