Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lies, deception and Suffolk Conservatives

I have noted in the past that 'retail politics' is something I have found slightly difficult. In Southwark in particular, the use of blatantly misleading literature by Labour never failed to irritate, and I always swore that the campaigns I had influence over would be relentlessly positive as a result. And now, as the candidate and agent, with control over artwork, message and delivery, I am doing just that, talking about what I am doing and what I believe in. The messages are local, because I am.

However, there are hints that the Conservatives across the county don't quite see it the same way. In Long Melford, the veteran Independent District and County Councillor, Richard Kemp (no, not that one, the other one...), has been confronted by a Conservative leaflet accusing him of supporting an 18% council tax increase in 2003. Curious, really, as he voted against it. His running mate, another Independent, has never been a councillor at any level above Parish. In other words, they're lying for political advantage.

And now it's my turn to experience what I might describe as dubious ethical practices on the part of my Conservative opponent. Her first leaflet, one of the poorest productions I've seen for a long time, failed to mention her name, anything she has done, or even the ward. However, she is now delivering a second, rather more professional one, claiming to be 'your local choice for Stowupland'.

Well then, she must live in the ward, one might presume. No, actually, she doesn't. Near the ward, then? Stowupland ward is bordered by six other District wards, none of which she lives in. In fact, she lives in Eye, more than ten miles away, a point which will only become clear to voters when they are confronted by their ballot paper.

Now I have no objection to her running in Stowupland ward - how could I? However, deliberately misleading voters by claiming to be something you are not is disreputable. Especially when you're on record as saying that driving to the boundary of that ward is inconvenient...
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