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Monday, April 09, 2007

Misleading the voters

This morning's Western Mail reports on desperate tactics by Labour in an effort to shore up their vote. They are now implying that pensioners' free bus passes would be scrapped if the party is voted out of office despite the fact that the measure had all-party support when it passed through the National Assembly.

Labour are also hinting at the possibility that investment in our health service, free prescriptions and regeneration of poorer valley communities will come to an end (presumably along with all civilisation as we know it) if Rhodri Morgan ceases to be First Minister on 4th May.

One of the features of the Welsh Assembly is the level of consensus that has been achieved on all sides on the vast majority of its programme. This may change of course once proper law-making powers come into effect, but it is the case that nearly all the benefits Labour claim had the support of one or more of the other parties at the time. The only really contentious issue of those mentioned is free prescriptions and all of the main political parties have said that they will leave those in place, irrespective of how they voted at the time.

This leaves one with the conclusion that Labour are trying to frighten voters into supporting them. It is an interesting tactic, though not entirely an honest one. We shall see what people's reaction is to it in due course.
"...are trying to frighten voters into supporting them"

So says a leading politician from a party that has George Bush and Tony Blair on its election leaflet with "Welsh Lib Dems oppose Labour's war in Iraq"

What does the war in Iraq have to do with the Welsh Assembly election, Peter? Don’t you have anything positive to say about your campaign or your policies? There’s nothing about the local candidate – you expect people to vote for you not because of what the candidate stands for, or what the candidate has achieved in her life, or what the candidate will promise to do if elected, but on a policy decision that was made by the Westminster Government – not by the Welsh Assembly Government.

I’d get my own house in order if I was you before you start attacking others.
Thus speaks somebody who does not even have the courage to post a comment in his or her own name.

Not only do our leaflets contain details of our policies on energy, student fees, police, post offices and the NHS but they also promote the candidate. The leaflet you will have received is also not the only leaflet we are putting out. More details will follow.

References to the Iraq war are perfectly legitimate. Not only are Welsh soldiers serving over there and in some cases being killed or wounded, but the cost of this illegal war is depriving the Welsh Assembly of valuable funds. It is money that could be better spent on education, the health service or policing our communities. It is also Labour's illegal war and we believe that it is right to put the present election in context in this way.

There is nothing wrong with that position though I expect voters to make their own minds up on the day.
I’d accept that argument if we were in the run-up to a general election, but we’re not. We’re in the run-up to a Welsh Assembly election – a body that has ABSOLUTELY NO SAY in foreign and defence policy.

You are actively encouraging the electorate to vote on something that AM’s had no responsibility or say in.

Instead of fighting this election on devolved issues (¼ of your leaflet is about the Iraq war issue), you have allowed yourselves to be caught up in petty political point scoring. There’s no wonder the polls put you on 15%.
Well we happen to believe that an illegal war that is depriving the Welsh Assembly and public services of valuable funds is relevant. Whether the voters agree or not is a matter for them. And at least we put our names to that point of view.

By the way 15% is an improvement on last time. Must be having an effect as we are on the up.
Sorry Peter, I ‘m not with you on this one concerning the so called “illegal” war. I say that as one that has one family member in Iraq, with one that could also be sent there in the near future. My problem with it is with the conduct of the war (which includes the Abu Ghraib abuses). I believe the decision to get rid of that megalomaniac Saddam Hussein was right. Too many Iraqis were already dying under his rule because of sanctions.

I think its all well and true to bang on about it, and claim it takes up valuable money, what would you suggest, just leave and hand it over to the peace loving government of President Ahmedihejad run it. Is this the justification for Cardiff Council closing the Iorwerth Jones old peoples home?? Because the money is being channeled into the war so they don’t have the money to keep their home open. I don’t think so!

I have not read the manifesto but what people want is top live safely, to have good health, and decent education for their kids. You can challenge Rhodri’s record on the facts, and not harp on about the war
I know nothing about the Iorwerth Jones old peoples' home but no doubt Cardiff Council have their reasons which will be debated locally and a decision taken eventually.

There is an interesting article on the Iraq war over at Blamerbell Briefs in which Ciaran points out that 44% of those polled by the BBC said that the Iraq war will be important to them when it comes to deciding which political party to vote for in the Welsh Assembly elections. I think therefore that it is only fair that people know where the parties stand on this issue.

I think it is also worth pointing out that according to Tony Blair we did not go to war to topple Saddam Hussein. It seems we also did not go to war with any endgame strategy either.
> according to Tony Blair we did not
>go to war to topple Saddam Hussein.
There's a difference between then and now. *Then* Bush and Blair couldn't say that the aim was to remove a former ally, because the United Nations charter forbids war on another nation simply for the purpose of changing its government.

*Now* the Labour front bench is emphasising the removal of Saddam, because few people believe the original pretext for war, namely Iraqi possession of a nuclear and biological arsenal that threatened its neighbours.
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