There’s no question that the contest in Oldham East and Saddleworth was one of the toughest (and roughest) of the 2010 election. Indeed, a special election court will sit in Oldham on 13 September to adjudicate over Phil Woolas’ victory, which has been legally challenged by his Lib Dem opponent, who alleges the Labour campaign materials “contained numerous misleading and erroneous claims regarding my personal character and reputation”.

The controversy surrounding another aspect of the contest was re-ignited yesterday with the publication on the (excellent) The Straight Choice website of the following leaflet, delivered on the day of polling. Although the race aspect of Labour’s campaign in East Oldham has already attracted national comment this is the first time that this A6 card has been distributed online:

Having been an MP for the area at the time, it surely cannot have escaped Woolas’ notice that there were race riots in Oldham nine years ago. Violence errupted in May 2001 after a gang of white men threw a brick through the window of an Asian household in the Glodwick area of Woolas’ constituency. Days later that the home of his Labour colleague, the Asian Deputy Mayor of Oldham, was fire bombed.

Perhaps Woolas should have a rummage around his constituency office for a copy of the Ritchie Report into the disturbances. He’d do well to look at point 3.17 on page 10:

The BNP has exacerbated problems and undoubtedly by distribution of crude leaflets and other activity done much to stir up tensions. The mainstream political parties have a big role to play in countering this threat, as do churches and other organisations – Ritchie Report

One wonders whether Daily Express editor Peter Hill had been retained as a consultant to the campaign? Suffice it to say that this has gone down with Labour activists and others like a pint of cold sick.

What a disgrace.

Hat-tip: Tom Miller, who blogs at Left Of The Line.

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  77. There is a bit of a problem with the (excellent) Straight Choice and other information about this campaign. Which is that the YEARS of twaddle and nonsense in Focus newsletters in Rochdale and Oldham have NOT been given an airing. Where are all the other Lib Dem leaflets? Never mind the vicious smear campaigns and anonymous sock puppetry of Dave Hennigan and the like. Politics in this area is red in tooth and claw. There are all sorts of allegations about Lib Dems pandering to extreme elements. Suggestions of a pattern of grant-giving that is (a) secretive (Rochdale being the only council to hide their cohesiveness grant list I believe) and (b) strange too.

    The Lib Dems stand accused too. In 2005 in Rochdale for example it is a widely held view that leaflets from far right muslims claiming that Lorna Fitzsimons should be shunned as she was a Jew (untrue) were printed by them or for them using Lib Dem equipment. Some say they can prove that. I’ve not seen that proof myself. Labour’s PPC was sent a funeral wreath before he was even selected. And Phil stood on the platform at a Labour conference and relayed how LDs were playing it both ways on mosque plans in the area.

    What we can say for (the “still fighting elections like a sixth former on Ritalin”) Phil Woolas is that he was and is consistent on these matters. He attacked extremists (BNP and islamist) and what he felt was immigration liberality. He did this on leaflets distributed universally, and, I’m told, the anti-extremist and immigration control messages are widely supported *in asian communities*. We may disagree with him on the ahem “nuance” or absolutely 100% completely but he has not ducked and dived and had a different message on every doorstep.

    Woolas will produce some horrid nasty LD leaflets at the hearing. From his constituency and elsewhere. Both sides will be deemed to have taken the acceptable “cut and thrust of party politics” – which is a very widely drawn concept – to within an inch of their lives. Perhaps there will be some recalibration. But that will surely then be that. If there were a re-run (unlikely IMO) Woolas would be allowed to stand and would increase his majority 20 perhaps 50 fold.

    Elwyn Watkins has been a really really terrible councillor, according to local people, with extraordinarily bad attendance in basic and exec meetings. The worst of the Lib Dem group I believe. He is a fool. His campaigns and his campaigners have probably been every bit as robust (aka nasty) as his opponents. There is that dodgy cash in hand tax avoidance story that he didn’t poperly clear himself from. And there is a great whiff about the whole Rochdale Lib Dem finances with unsubmitted accounts, contrived tenancies and undeclared councillor tithes to name but three problems.

    It may be that Elwyn fancies a run out in Rochdale itself next time. Rowen is toast. If Watkins creates more profile he may see off Godfather Cyril Smith’s godson. Or he may simply hope that kicking up a stink in 2010 will help him beat Woolas in the next general election. He’s almost certainly wrong about that.

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  84. @Jos this is an utterly typical Labour leaflet

    Labour shows itself as racist, corrupt, privatising,neo liberal,warmongering
    and crawling before Murdoch and the Bankers.
    Labours gutless members stood by while this happened for 13 yrs

  85. @red bandits Do you realise what an utter pile of shit that is that you just came out with? People like you are as boring as you are completely fucking moronic

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  93. A Long Time Coming says:

    Chris Paul has several untruths and half-truths in his rant.

    The wreath sent to the Labour PPC almost certainly came from elements in his own party.

    Woolas will not produce Lib Dem leaflets at his trial as they have absolutely no bearing on the case

    If Chris Paul has any evidence at all of dodgy leaflets about mosques then he should produce them

    Woolas did not distribute his leaflets universally – have a look at his election expense return and you will see how many he didn’t deliver. It just about equates to the number of Asian households in his patch

    According to the Oldham Chronicle, Watkinds WAS officially and totally cleared of malicious accusations made by the Labour Party

    I see that Chris Paul is now lining himself up to be yet again on the wrong side of a court case invloving Labour lies and slurs.

    Nuance my arse.

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  100. “A long time coming” <- who the hell are you? My comment which is by turns rhetorical, speculative, observational, predictive and condemnatory is *signed*.

    You are a coward, as well as a fool.

    In reverse order:

    1. "nuance" was clearly a joke, Woolas is almost as unsubtle as a Hennigan smear campaign, though he's not picking on individuals and volunteers in this case;
    2. I'm not taking sides, I take the opportunity to crit Phil's sixth form nonsense which I do not support any more than Hennigan's or the rest of the sick Libdemologist crew. I'm predicting what'll happen i.e. not much;
    3. where is the link to the Chronicle? and are they actually correct?;
    [4. I see you aren't interested in dealing with the sad lack of honest accounting from the Lib Dems in Rochdale including hidden tithes and dodgy rent payments;]
    5. assertion about where leaflets went is facile twattle, you have no idea, and the ideas on this stomach churning little eve of poll card were also repeated on Mr Woolas' other literature (which didn't attract this storm on twitter or the blogs) and I'm told, and I have no reason to doubt this, that attacking hotheads, be they Islamic or BNP, is popular with the very great part of the asian communities;
    6. Mr Woolas recounts the mosque story and includes his calling in the culprits to meet him as the local MP. According to Woolas their only explanation was that they did the old LD thing of saying whatever people wanted to hear, and representing what they were told. Are you claiming (a) Lib Dem mosque gate did not take place and (b) this is not the Lib Dem practice, constitutionally enshrined?;
    7. *Obviously* all the leaflets being trading in the constituency and thereabouts are relevant to this case. Cut and thrust, thrust and cut. Goose, gander. Sauce;
    8. Non-one actually knows where the wreath came from. Unlike you ALTC I ain't pointing fingers, I'm just saying politics is rugged, nasty and dirty in these parts;

    Come on "A Long Time Coming" – reveal your name and what your interest is. And then state specifically what is an "untruth" and what is a "half-truth".

    We specialise in true facts and fair comment. We don't like Woolas' campaigning style. We think it's juvenile. But we think Watkins is an arse. And so are you.

  101. Bob the non-speeder says:

    Yet another re-writing of history.

    Race riots “after a gang of white men threw a brick through the window of an Asian household in the Glodwick area”

    Utter bollocks.

    There were gangs of asians attacking white individuals across the town. The police were not dealing with it and the BNP took it upon themselves to appear as the only people who would “defend whites”. The overwhelming majority of riotous behaviour was “asians” attacking the police as they thought themselves untouchable. Only a few days later did the idiot “whites” of Alt join in. But then if you knew anything about Oldham you would know that.

    Secondly you remark about the firebombing of the mayor Riaz ahmed. You make no mention that the police have never dealt with it and it is widely known that the perpetrators were “asians” trying to create a backlash and fermenting more violence from the so-called “asian community”.

    Last weekend two incidents happened in Alexandra park, considered a no-go area by many “whites” after a number of racist attacks. One was a group of “asian” men sexually threatening two young white girls and robbing them of their phone. The police as usual tried to play the incidents down and claimed they were not racist. These things need to be dealt with firmly otherwise the will be race riots part 2.

    Woolas is quite happy to whip up the same kind of hysteria in his idiotic leaflets and this site tried to re-write history.

    Try better next time.

  102. A Long Time Coming says:

    In reverse order, Chris Paul.

    8. Actually, somebody does know where the wreath came from as it seems it was paid for by some numpty on their credit card. I can’t think why no further action was taken, perhaps you can explain. And you certainly did try to link it with the Lib Dems by sandwiching your smear inother allegations about them.

    7. All the leaflets delivered in the constituency and elsewhere are not relevant to this case. Believe me. Just watch.

    6. Show the leaflet. You have been banging on about it for ages and frantically begging for copies. Has one turned up yet. My guess is not.

    5. Have a look at Woolas’ election expenses. Either he was not delivering certain parts of the seat or he was shaving his submisssion in order to scrape under the limit. Maybe you could tell us all which.

    4. This thread is nothing to do with events in Rochdale. I know you believe that every single event since Adam was a lad has a link back to what goes on in Rochdale, but it doesn’t.

    3. The Chronicle reported that the Lib Dem candidate had been cleared of all of Labour’s trumped up charges by the Inland Revenue – or whatever they call themselves these days.

    2. Why will “not much” happen. Do you really think that in an election it is OK for anyone to say anything about their opponent deliberately late in the campaign and for it not to matter? In that case, just wait until you stand again.

    1. This is hardly a matter of Woolas’ “unsubtlety”. I think it goes rather deeper and wider than that.

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  104. Here is one of the “horrid nasty LD leaflets” on the Straight Choice / Election Leaflets site.

    http://www.electionleaflets.org/full.php?q=4990#l12184

    The link takes you to the ‘nastiest’ section. Anyone think this is comparable with Woolas’s leaflet?

    This is the only Lib Dem leaflet from Oldham East and Saddleworth I’ve found online. I’d like to see others to see if there were any that genuinely do have a nasty edge to them.

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  118. I am glad this has come out in to the forefront. Woolas, Bryne, and McNulty all of them were guitly of not only playing the immigration card but in their haste and zeal also started to pick on mixed race children of British (English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish mothers) by putting on restrictions of fees on such persons who have the right of abode. I wrote to him thinking it was an over sight but he did absolutely nothing to either my letters or to my MPs letters and some of his cronies still exist in the home office still carrying out their policy of discriminating against us. I hope he is thrown out of the labour party for good as should Liam Bryne, and McNulty.

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  131. And so now we can assume Ed Miliband approves of Woolas’ race hate campaign, as he’s appointed him to his frontbench team.

    Sickening. Almost as sickening as Chris Paul, now defending the racehate tactics of Woolas, just like he defended the homophobia of Labour’s Miranda Grell. who of course was found guilty by an electoral court of the same offence Woolas is charged with.

    Still, just what we’ve come to expect from the Torture & Rendition Party.

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