In the aftermath of the US presidential election, polling guru Nate Silver has been enjoying widespread plaudits having called the outcome in each of the fifty states correctly. However, it’s worth remembering that with the 2010 General Election in the UK, Silver didn’t do quite so well.
In the run up to election day, Silver anticipatedheavy losses for Labour, and big gains for the Liberal Democrats. One of his predictions had Nick Clegg’s party with 101 seats — a gain of 39. Of course, what actually happened was that the yellow party lost five seats, in an anticlimactic comedown from “Cleggmania”.
And whilst Labour suffered a bruising defeat, their final total of 258 seats wasn’t quite as bad as Nate Silver had indicated. His doom-mongering calculations had Labour on 214. So there are 44 red MPs feeling very grateful that he wasn’t right.
The Liberal Democrats paid almost £9,000 to hire audience members for Nick Clegg’s town hall meetings, documents published by the Electoral Commission reveal. In contrast with the supposedly organic groundswell of support for the party leader, events consultancy Full House Audience Management were paid £7,600 to find audiences for four meetings between April 10 and May 4 in Gateshead, Glasgow, Redcar, and London.
Embarassingly, Lib Dem spinners were not only paying to fill venues but a £2,000 invoice for one event was halved due to “poor response” from members of the public.
The revelations echo an incident from March in which the Conservatives were exposed for “bussing in” Tory supporters to pose as students for a speech by David Cameron proclaiming his party’s “openness and trust”. Alarm bells were raised when those sitting behind the lectern at multicultural East London University were conspicuously white.
Nick Clegg is looking more phoney with every passing minute.
His argument is that, rather than being axed completely, entitlement to schemes such as bus passes and winter fuel payments will have been “changed”. This means waiting another five years for free bus travel and money given to older people for heating bills will not only be further age restricted but also cut by up to £100 for the most elderly recipients. Having promised to keep them, Tories have been in discussions about axing pension credits.
In the context of Cameron’s near hysterical outbursts about “Labour leaflet lies” during the election campaign, Scrapbook stands by our video. Indeed, as Sky News tackled the issue of cuts, ahem sorry, “changes” to bus passes:
It would be “entirely fair” for pensioners who watched the debate to assume [David Cameron's] comments meant the scheme would not change, particularly as Mr Cameron made several angry denials during the course of the campaign.
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“The Tory leader is furious that Labour campaigners around the country are telling the elderly that their free bus passes and winter fuel payments would go if the Conservatives were elected”, reported The Telegraphin March. Cameron slammed the “appalling people” with the temerity to suggest that he wasn’t being straight with pensioners:
“You know you are getting letters from the Labour Party that say the Conservatives would cut the winter fuel allowance, would cut the free bus travel … These statements by Labour are quite simply lies. I don’t use the word ‘lie’ very often, but I am using it today because they are lies.” – David Cameron, 23 March
Dave from marketing returned to this theme during Sky News’ televised debate on 22 April, telling viewers suggestions the Tories would slash entitlements to Winter fuel payments, pension credits and free bus passes were “pure and simple lies”.
“We will keep the pension credit, we’ll keep the winter fuel allowance, we’ll keep the free bus pass. Those leaflets you have been getting from Labour, the letters you have been getting from Labour are pure and simple lies.” – David Cameron, 22 April
The pledges have already been cast as a David Cameron “read my lips” moment. But we thought the cynical mock outrage with which he delivered these fibs merited an attack video. “Pure and simple lies”, Dave?
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.
At the risk of being accused of having a fixation with Alex Salmond, Socialist Animal heard an amusing little story about election night in Bute House that we couldn’t let pass.
It would seem Il Duce was not in the best of moods after polls closed on May 6th, so much so that he was heard by journalists several rooms away stomping and fuming about the results. At one point Salmond was heard shouting:
“For f*ck’s sake! What does it take for the people of Scotland to stop f*cking voting Labour?!”
On the basis of the most recent polling Big ‘Eck isn’t going to get his answer any time soon!