I’ve been pondering a deluge of election material that has been jamming the letterbox over the last few days.
I’ve not much interest in it per se, as I only ever vote tactically or negatively anyway and I’m not likely to make my mind up on the basis of a flyer that looks at first glance like a pizza menu.
But the stakes are high in the forthcoming European elections, with the prospect that Liverpool could elect a BNP MEP.
And I’ve been struck by how combative the tone of the election materials has been.
This is particularly true of the Lib Dems, who have released a pamphlet made to resemble a free sheet (presumably intentionally) that slates Labour.
The Lib Dems’ material seems to me to be the worst, slamming Merseyside Labour MPs for the failure of the fuel poverty bill because they didn’t turn up to vote (Header: “Why did City MPs Leave Elderly to Freeze?’ coupled with picture of elderly lady in hospital bed), for having their heads in the trough over expenses and ‘stealing’ cash destined for Liverpool so they can ‘bail out bankers’ instead.
It’s pretty pathetic stuff that’s easily torpedoed when you consider that there were several notable Lib Dem MPs not present for the vote on the fuel poverty bill, including Southport MP John Pugh.
On the expenses front Liberal Democrat MPs Julia Goldsworthy and Andrew George, Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, John Pugh again, former leader Ming Campbell and current leader Nick Clegg have all had their fingers in the expenses pie, to torture a metaphor.
John Pugh does find the time to point the finger at ‘regional bureaucrats’ for the £25m in Euro cash going astray, which suggests civil servants are to blame rather than the Labour government.
Elsewhere Labour attack the Tories and the Lib Dems and the Greens go for the Lib Dems too. It’s heartening to see all of the parties going after the BNP and The Mirror has sponsored a paper extolling hope not hate. Laudable stuff.
Negative politics puts the public off
My pet theory about why people don’t engage in politics anymore – besides class dealignment and all that stuff – is that people are simply turned off by seeing one set of suits shouting at another set of suits.
America may have been ready for a change, but Obama’s campaign eschewed the attack and smear politics of the Bush administration and focussed on addressing things that mattered to most people.
That lesson does not appear to have been learned by the political parties in the UK, who are busy pointing the finger at a time when public faith is everyone in Parliament is at a low.
Hate not hope seems to be the overriding message.
BNP in Liverpool
I’ll make no bones about it, anyone who reckons the BNP are not racists is kidding him or herself.
Rightly, most of the political parties in Liverpool have mentioned that a vote for the BNP is a vote for despair, hatred and fear.
Personally I can’t stand the sight of David Cameron, the worst political opportunist I’ve seen of late, and the most instantly-unlikeable Tory leader since Thatcher as far as I’m concerned.
But the prospect of the Tories gaining power again in the run-up to a general election next year pales against the idea of the BNP becoming stronger, especially in multi-cultural Liverpool.
So, even if you have to hold your nose, go out and vote. Vote Labour or Lib Dem, cos the Tories don’t have a chance in Liverpool. If they did I’d even urge you to vote for them if it meant keeping the BNP out.
That’s how important it is.