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Friday, January 28, 2005

Labour fail the sensitivity test

The Labour Party has been accused of anti-semitism after publishing a poster that portrays Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin, who are both Jewish, as flying pigs.

I have my doubts about accusations of anti-semitism but clearly the people who designed this poster and those who authorised its distribution are experts at putting their foot in it. They have certainly succeeded in alienating a sizeable community whilst giving the Tory Leader some unexpected good publicity.

The other controversial poster is the one portraying Michael Howard as a Jewish miser. This one has really overstepped the mark and, as Guy Fawkes points out, bears an uncanny resemblance to propaganda posters produced by Goebbels in 1935. This is the sort of problem that you get into when you seek to personalise politics and base your campaign on character assasination.

To compare Labour's campaign with that of the Nazi's is pretty low.

Remember, it's not our party that's willing to go into coalition with racists:


Makes you sick, doesn't it.

Incidentally, I was disappointed to discover that you didn't take time out of your busy schedule to join your Lib Dem Assembly colleagues with Ed Davey (your “front bench spokesman”, so well known in Cardiff) campaigning against the rebanding you voted for.

Our counter-protest, exposing the Liberal Democrats as hypocrites, was far more successful and got all the media coverage.

It's a shame you weren’t around, as I'd planned to introduce myself to you. My generosity might even have stretched to a coffee in the Assembly canteen, since I was in such a good mood after such a successful morning, exposing the opposition. Oh well, maybe next time.
I didnt make the comparison with the Nazis David it was the Guy Fawkes blog. I just drew attention to it. But anti-semitism is anti-semitism whoever is guilty of doing it.

As for the Swansea situation you are right the leaflet was appalling and I condemn it absolutely. However, the Councillor concerned (who is an independent) has apologised for it and disassociated himself from the BNP. He is not a racist and accepts that he was naive to put the leaflet out. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed unless another body such as the CRE or the Ombudsman considers that further action is necessary. It would be nice if the Labour members in Cardiff who were responsible for the racist leaflet there took responsibility and apologised in the same way.

The Swansea administration has led on a number of anti-racist issues in the City and clearly disowns the views in the leaflet.

I am sorry that I was not able to be at the rebanding protest either except that it was a demonstration against the Council Tax itself rather than a protest against the tinkering with a fundamentally unfair tax that is going to hit so many people in Wales in April.

We argued strongly in the Partnership Government for legislation to abolish the Council Tax but were overruled. We supported the rebanding as a compromise measure only because we could not get the Council Tax abolished. Incidentally, the scheme we supported is not the one being implemented. If we are to have a tax like the Council tax then rebanding is inevitable that is why it needs to be replaced by a local income tax.

Next time you are down let me buy you a coffee!
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