Friday, November 14, 2008

Putting out leaflets brings the election process "into disrepute" - Labour

I spotted this little nugget and can't resist the temptation to share it with the world. The Lib Dems comfortably held the North Road ward by-election in Darlington yesterday, taking 51% of the vote.

Labour however seem to have been a bit upset by the quantity of Lib Dem literature. Labour Councillor Nick Wallis, who is also Labour Euro candidate for the North East, on the day before the election, was muttering about how terrible it was that such a tonnage of information was being delivered through people's doors. On his blog he wrote:

The North Road by-election ends tomorrow - any kind of debate between the parties has been drowned out by the usual LibDem Sturm und Drang. Frankly, this number of leaflets from one party brings the whole process into disprepute [sic]. Still, we'll see the result on Thursday night.

Seems that Nick believes that in an election, debate should only be between the parties and he resists the idea that voters should be told what the candidates and parties believe in and want to do for an area.

"We shall see" he said. Well, we did see (and the people saw the Focuses) and Labour lost, taking less than half the votes of the Lib Dems.

Frankly though, the idea that putting out information to voters in an election brings the democratic process into disrepute is mindbogglingly ludicrous.

Perhaps there is an explanation for Nick's thoughts. Maybe he is simply basing his comments on people's responses to Labour leaflets. In my patch, when Labour used to put out leaflets, their vote went down. Now they have given up putting out leaflets, except for the odd one (normally very odd) that appears during an election.

Anyway, Nick's comments can be read here:

We are, of course, looking forward to Nick's Euro campaign next year. The non-appearance of any leaflets from the Labour campaign will be most welcome!


Darlington Councillor said...

Hi Jonathan.

I was simply trying to say that I don't think voters are that impressed with Focus after Focus all of a sudden, saying little new or of any interest.

And I think the result bears that out - despite a massive effort, the LibDem share of the vote actually fell, and Labour was the only party to gain.

A good omen for the European elections next year, perhaps?

Best wishes,


Mike Barker said...

Nick Wallis fails to mention two important points:
First, the fall in the Lib Dems' vote is entirely due to the entry into the field of an ex-Lib Dem councillor standing as an independent. Although he received a derisory 60 votes, in these circumstances you would expect the Lib Dems to be the main losers. The four-way fight became a five-way fight, with the new entrant a well-known former Lib Dem ward councillor. Earlier in the campaign, Nick Wallis was blogging that the Lib Dems should be very worried about this new challenge: metaphorically rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of a split vote allowing Labour to win the seat. It just didn't happen like that, though!
Secondly, from 2003 to 2007, the seat was split: 2 Lib Dems and 1 Labour. The fact that Labour has now slumped to approximately half the Lib Dem vote is due to the excellent service the residents
of North Road ward receive from their Lib Dem councillors and Focus team.