Liberal Democrats in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

The 'Yes2AV' campaign is resorting to last gasp mud-slinging - but who's really been telling the 'untruths'?

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Typical Lib-Dem graphics
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Nic Conner
On 28 April 2011 12:22

Chris Huhne, the British government’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary came out on a ‘no-news day’ during the Easter break to claim the NO2AV campaign are telling ‘untruths’ and should the people of Britain vote against the Yes to AV campaign he supports, he will sue.

Huhne, his Liberal Democrat Party and the Yes to Alterative Vote campaign are the last people you would think who would come out complaining about ‘untruths’. Let us cast aside for a moment, the broken manifesto promises accompanied by photos with signed pledges that Liberal Democrat heads so easily cast aside when tempted with power.  Let’s look at the other areas they tell ‘untruths’.

Last week I wrote a piece here on The Commentator about the Yes to AV campaign and how their promises surrounding AV are in fact ‘untruths’. Claiming it will end safe Parliamentary seats, that AV will require for at least 50 percent of votes to be won, that smaller parties will gain and that it will bring an end to tactical voting. All of these are ‘untruths’.

Should it come as a surprise to anyone who has campaigned for any party in an election that the Lib Dem’s have spoken ‘untruths’ during this referendum campaign? Not at all.  The Lib Dem’s are famous for running campaigns on half truths, misleading figures and downright ‘untruths’ to win votes, just ask students.

The most famous Lib Dem fib-trick is to use misleading bar graphs to show how they are ‘winning here’ when in fact they are usually trailing in third.  They do this by using figures from an election which took place some time ago or by using figures form a completely different election. The most common trick is to use a Council Election figure from one singular ward, which does not represent the rest of the constituency.  They may have come first there with other parties trailing, but they would then use this in the General Election literature.

Telling ‘untruths’ is the Lib Dem way, you can really see this in the famous leaked ‘Effective Opposition’ internal campaigning document which urged Liberal Democrats to: “Be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly, don’t be afraid to exaggerate, oppose all service cuts… No cut is going to be popular and why court the unpopularity that goes with the responsibility of power”.

During the Henley-on-Thames by-election of 2008, the Lib Dem candidate Stephen Kearney described himself as a local candidate. The reality was that Kearney moved into his rented accommodation just before the election and before then, he lived 200 miles away in Plymouth.  A month before the by-election kick off he stood in the local elections saying ‘I am now settled in Plymouth and I love it?.

Chris Huhne himself is famed for his use of ‘Fib-Dem’ tactics. During the Liberal Democrat leadership race the Huhne office sent out the ‘Calamity Clegg’ dossier. Some would say, when he denied he knew anything about it on the Politics Show, that he was saying a little ‘untruth’. Guido Fawkes has written on his blog <link: http://order-order.com/2010/06/19/huhne-april-to-june/> about some of the ‘untruths’ said on Huhne’s General Election leaflets.

So for any Lib Dem, let alone Chris Huhne, to come out saying the No2AV campaign is telling ‘untruths’, is really throwing stones when hiding in a glass house. The truth is the Yes to AV has nothing better to campaign on as promises on AV have been exposed as farcical. The way the ‘Yes’ camp have been telling ‘untruths’ to win votes is just the thing the Alterative Vote will encourage MP’s to do to win a election. 

Nic Conner is a freelance campaigns consultant

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