Sunday, 25 April 2010

You can't believe everything you read

Have you seen the 'Election address' editions of Labour News that are doing the rounds for the council elections? The Herne Hill one has the grand headline 'TWO HORSE RACE IN HERNE HILL - Only Labour can beat the Tories', accompanied by an unreferenced graph, with no scale, suggesting that in Herne Hill Ward Labour have approx 45% of support, the Tories around 40% and the Liberals around 15% (my estimates, based on the sizes of the 3 bars) - and no mention of the Greens.

I'm one of the Green Party candidates in Herne Hill. In the last local election we got 36.7% of the vote (aggregated over 3 candidates), to Labour's 37.3%, and one of our candidates (Becca Thackray) got elected with more votes than any of the Labour candidates. The Conservatives came a distant third with just 16%.

We've asked Labour for an explanation for where they got the figures from and why we're not even featured on their graph.

So far we've received two different stories. First, they tried to tell us the graph was based on the results of the London Mayor election, but then we pointed out that in Herne Hill Ward 58% of people voted for Ken and only 21% for Boris - hardly a tight 'two-horse race'. Now their election agent has told us the graph is "an illustration of our view of the respective strengths of the three main national parties in this area." In other words, they've made it up!

At risk of engaging in boring old Punch-and-Judy politics, these Labour lies really are breathtaking. Not only are they pretending we don't exist - which you'd think was brazen enough seeing as we've already got one councillor in Herne Hill Ward - but they're also fabricating data. The reason? To mislead voters.

No wonder people despair of politicians.

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