Fringe Box



Letter: Another Misleading Lib Dem Leaflet

Published on: 22 Nov, 2019
Updated on: 22 Nov, 2019

From Brian Creese

Spokesperson for Guildford Labour

While many of us still await an apology from Lib Dem candidate Zoe Franklin for the untruths included in an earlier election leaflet (see: This Lib Dem Election Newsletter is Untruthful – Error or Deliberate Misinformation?), a new one hits my doormat, and this time it is the chart that catches the eye.

Lib Dem campaign leaflet bar chart

This is a much more complicated one to unravel than the last, partly because it is ambiguous about what it is saying.  But first, just look at this chart ask yourself – does this make sense? Then ask yourself what exactly does, “Votes cast in Guildford Westminster Constituency area on May 2nd 2019,” actually mean?

I really don’t know. This was the date of the local borough elections where the big winners were R4GV – but they are not on the chart. Then, of course, Guildford Borough is nothing like Guildford Westminster constituency.

Our borough includes wards in Surrey Heath, Woking, Mole Valley and South West Surrey constituencies, while Cranleigh, the other major centre in the parliamentary constituency, is in the borough of Waverley.

It is certainly possible to go through each individual ward that makes up the Guildford Westminster constituency, discard all parties except Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour and total them up. But what, exactly does that tell you? They represent different councils, different campaigns, different local priorities.

We are on more solid ground when we move to the text: “Elections here are always a clear choice between Lib Dems and Tories”.

No, they are not. In 2017 Lib Dem and Labour were neck and neck – but a long, long way behind Anne Milton.

It says, “Labour supporters are lending us their votes.” Really? I’d like to see some evidence.

Also, [Lib Dems] will….  give people the final say on Brexit” No they won’t. They will revoke.

And finally “Only the Lib Dems can beat the Conservatives”. The Guardian describes Guildford as a 4-way marginal – Tory, Lib Dem, Labour and Ind Tory. Where is Anne Milton in all this?  Well placed to beat a new and unknown Tory I think.

My apologies for such a long analysis, but the Lib Dem assumption behind putting out this tosh is that no-one will be bothered to deconstruct it and, if they do, others won’t bother to read it.

This is deeply dishonest campaigning and it is very disappointing to have to do this analysis every time the Lib Dems put out a new leaflet.  I really look forward to a Lib Dem leaflet that states some policy positions and argues positively why anyone should vote for them without any of the misleading nonsense.

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Responses to Letter: Another Misleading Lib Dem Leaflet

  1. Steven Walker Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 12:22 am

    I’m a Labour voter and I will be voting Liberal Democrat to get the Tories out and I know many others who are taking this step. So I’m afraid there is evidence.

    • Shelley Grainger Reply

      November 23, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Why on earth would anyone vote for a party who have explicitly ruled out a Labour/Lib Dem coalition? We will only get a further vote on Brexit with Corbyn in Downing Street under a first past the post system. Vote Lib Dem and get a hard Brexit.

      I say, vote for one’s values and vote Labour.

      Shelley Grainger is the Secretary of Guildford Labour

  2. Julian Cranwell Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 9:15 am

    What is most misleading about the Lib Dem leaflet which came through my door is [Mole Valley Lib Dem candidate] Paul Kennedy’s claim that he will conserve the green belt.

    As far as the residents of the eastern [Guildford Borough] villages, in the Mole Valley constituency, are concerned, we are not fooled by this rank hypocrisy.

    He knows full well that he can do nothing to reign is his Lib Dem colleagues on GBC, who are determined to destroy the green belt in these villages.

    • Liz Hogger Reply

      November 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      I think Mr Cranwell is overlooking the fact that it was the previous Conservative administration at GBC who pushed through the adoption of the Local Plan just one week before the May elections. Lib Dem councillors sought to defer the decision on adoption until after the election, but were out-voted by the Conservative majority.

      The root cause of the attack on our green belt is the Conservative Government’s housing targets, fiercely enforced by the Planning Inspectorate who allow housing on the green belt at appeal if the council does not have an up-to-date Local Plan and a five-year housing land supply.

      In his Mole Valley leaflet, Lib Dem candidate Paul Kennedy promises to challenge the government housing targets which threaten our countryside.

      In his Mole Valley leaflet, Conservative Paul Beresford claims to fight to protect the green belt, yet as MP for Mole Valley he has loyally supported the Conservative government and its damaging planning policies for the last 22 years.

      I’m sure most residents of the eastern villages of Guildford Borough are well able to decide who is the hypocrite here, and it certainly isn’t Paul Kennedy.

      Liz Hogger is the Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham

  3. John Perkins Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 10:09 am

    How exactly did the Lib Dems tally the votes in the two uncontested Conservative wards in Waverley: Alfold and Shamley Green?

    What statistical method did they use to estimate the actual number of votes for any party in multi-member wards? Simply summing up the number of votes for each candidate (which is what they appear to have done) is utterly wrong and extremely misleading. Many people in those wards will have cast two or three votes, something they cannot do in a general election.

  4. George Potter Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I thought about writing a lengthy reply to this, but that would mean assuming Brian Creese is writing in good faith when he obviously isn’t. Instead, I’m just going to point out three things:

    1) So far I have read two letters to The Dragon from Labour members complaining about Lib Dem leaflets, yet in that time I have yet to see a single Labour leaflet delivered to the multi-occupant house in which I live.

    2) For Labour to complain about Lib Dems using, with clear labelling and accurate bar charts, the results of the most recent local elections just goes to show there is literally nothing they won’t complain about. Though if Mr Creese prefers, I’m sure we could use the more recent European election results instead where Labour finished behind even Change UK in both Guildford and in Waverley.

    3) Given that Brian Creese is from the Constituency Labour Party, whose boundaries are based on the constituency and not local council boundaries, and which campaigns in all elections on that basis, it is utterly ludicrous for him to claim that Lib Dem local election campaigns in Guildford and Cranleigh (just a few miles apart) can’t possibly have had anything to do with each other.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    • John Perkins Reply

      November 24, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      1) I fail to see any relevance in the fact that Lib Dems started their campaign sooner and presumably have more money locally than Labour for their glossy propaganda.

      2) The bar chart may be accurate, but it is pertinent only to a completely different type of election and is therefore misleading. Using the EU election results would be even more so.

      3) Brian Creese is not claiming that the local campaigns in
      Guildford and Cranleigh had nothing to do with each other. He appears to be stressing the point that comparing borough with parliamentary elections is disingenuous.

  5. James McCarthy Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 10:26 am

    I am another ex-Labour voter here who will be voting Lib Dem. There’s no way I’d vote for Jeremy Corbyn and besides, the only way to stop the Conservatives in Guildford is to vote Lib Dem.

  6. Rob Taylor Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 10:53 am

    The Liberal Democrats don’t understand that Leave means Leave. They have got no chance of winning a general election until they do what the public asked them to do, and that is Leave.

  7. Wayne Smith Reply

    November 23, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    The hyperbole being spewed by all parties and candidates in this election is laughable.

    I’d thought of writing to The Dragon about that misleading Lib Dem leaflet but decided not to, having come to the conclusion that the Lib Dems deliberately make preposterous claims on the basis that any publicity is good publicity.

    Having taken the bait, Brian Creese won’t be surprised to learn that this week’s Lib Dem “Guildford Gazette” now claims that support is “surging to Zoe”! This claim would also appear to be made on the basis of the anti-Conservative protest vote that boosted the Lib Dem candidates in the May 2019 Local and European elections. Unless, of course, Zoe Franklin can tell us otherwise?

    On a side note, I was saddened to see half a dozen Labour supporters with their placards politicising the Guildford Parkrun in Stoke Park this morning. Yes, it’s a free space open to anyone, but really? Anyway, other than seeing that they had Labour on their placards most runners were probably far too busy trying to stay upright in the mud to take in any of the other messages written on them.

    Parkrun is non-political and let us keep it that way in Guildford.

  8. Peter Gatford Reply

    November 25, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Liberalism as a political philosophy is based on a variety of long-held principals, many of which are also held by many other political parties in the free world. Central to those principals held are: democracy, internationalism, limited government and free trade.

    John Locke, an early Liberal philosopher, called “consent of the governed” a major part of his thinking.

    It becomes obvious then that the current interpretation of Liberal values, conflict with this central tenet of John Locke’s liberal philosophy. By rejecting the result of the UK referendum and the will of the governed, they are then rejecting a core principal of their founder’s beliefs. With this in mind, we have to, therefore, question the honesty of the current incarnation of its political leaders and their use of its name. Liberals, or its current incarnation Liberal Democrats, can no longer reflect this centuries old philosophy so long-held and respected by its supporters in the past.

    Surely those traditional voters for this party must question themselves and ask, does this party represent me, my values and expectations for the future of this nation. Or do I accept political opportunism and expediency as a central principle of my beliefs?

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