Sunday, 11 April 2010

Scaremongering is an Act of Desperation

Resorting to scaremongering tactics is a notorious and unwelcome development as the general election nears, but it is not surprising that the party which employs such negative campaigning is acting true to type. As these tactics are revealed the public will only grow even more outraged and they will doubtless yet again backfire on the perpetrators.

Sunday, 11th April 2010

Dirtier tactics

I think we all expected this election campaign to be fought a few inches below the belt.  But, as Iain Dale and Dizzy say, Labour's tactic of mailing scaremongering leaflets to cancer sufferers is some new kind of low.  I mean, just imagine how it would feel to receive, as a cancer patient or an immediate family member, a leaflet which politicises the problem to the point of suggesting that your care would be jeapordised by voting for another party.  And then imagine how it would feel if you have been specifically targeted because of your connections with the illness, as seems to have been the case here.  Well, it defies belief that this is how the party of government is going about "restoring trust in our broken politics," or whatever they say.  This goes well beyond any acceptable level of campaign rough and tumble.
Labour now, of course, have questions to answer about how they've targetted cancer sufferers with this campaign.  So far, they claim that they've used public data in a kind of scattershot approach – but Dizzy points out in a second update to his post that there may be "more to this than meets the eye".  And then there's the case of Diane Dwelly, a breast cancer survivor, whose image and words are used on the leaflet.  As the Times puts it:
"This weekend Dwelly, 48, from Rugby, admitted she had 'probably been used by Labour'. She believed her photograph had been taken for use in a magazine for the National Health Service, not as part of Labour’s election campaign."
If so, then this story has a while left to run yet.  And, at the very least, it's unlikely that these leaflets will cross any more letterboxes for the rest of the campaign.

And in Scotland......

Labour claim:

"The SNP are getting rid of my free bus pass."
SNP say: "Labour scaremongering at its worst"


The Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People was introduced on 1 April 2006. The scheme provides free bus travel anywhere in Scotland on local buses and long distance scheduled coaches throughout the day, including the morning rush hour. Two free return ferry journeys per year to the mainland are also offered as a minimum to all eligible Scottish Island residents.
The scheme has over 1.1 million National Entitlement Cardholders.
A review of the scheme this year looked at eligibility, delivery, legislation and funding.

The truth:

  • There will be no reduction in this service.
  • Pensioners and disabled people will continue to enjoy free travel across Scotland at all times.
  • The fact is that the Scottish Government is extending the scheme. Injured military veterans will also now qualify for free travel.
  • The SNP has increased support for bus travel with extra funding of £4m, £6m, £2m over this spending review
  • Funding for bus transport is 31% higher per capita in Scotland under the SNP than in England and Wales under Labour.
We are guaranteeing that the eligibility to free travel for elderly and disabled will not change – in relation to all other elements of the concessionary travel scheme we have no plans to change it.
Truth to the claim: 0%

And in Wales.....

Tories accuse Labour of tax credits scaremongering

THE Conservatives accused Labour of “pathetic scaremongering” over the future of tax credits today in the final session of Welsh questions before the General Election.
Labour sees the system – effectively offering top-ups to salaries to reward work and pay for child-care – as one of its main achievements in office, although critics say the process is excessively bureaucratic.
With the Treasury facing an annual deficit of £178bn, the Conservatives have suggested cutting benefits to those on joint incomes above £50,000 as one way of bringing down public spending.
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain told MPs: “Tax credits have made work pay and have lifted hundreds of thousands out of poverty. That’s why I resent the fact that a Tory sword of Damocles is hanging over on those on low and modest incomes in Wales.”
Mr Hain said 326,000 people in Wales have benefited from tax credits.
But Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire Stephen Crabb said that instead of “pathetic scaremongering on tax credits” Mr Hain should address Labour’s record in Government.
“After 13 years of this sorry Government, almost exactly one quarter of the working age population in Wales is economically inactive, out of work, doing nothing,” said Mr Crabb. “That’s a shameful record.”
Plaid Cymru Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd and Liberal Democrat Roger Williams called for an increase in the personal tax allowance. The move would achieve many of the same aims as tax credits without the bureaucracy, they argued.
During the 30-minute session several questions came from MPs retiring at the General Election, including Labour’s Don Touhig (Islwyn), Betty Williams (Conwy) and Martyn Jones (Clwyd South) and Plaid Cymru MP for Camarthen East and Dinefwr Adam Price.