Thursday, April 19, 2007
Plaid misleading voters
These sorts of differences are inevitable in a fiercely fought election in which all sides are fighting for an advantage, no matter how small. They also underline how much some of the other parties feel threatened by our successes.
I was interested therefore in seeing a leaflet being circulated in the Ogmore constituency by Plaid Cymru. Inevitably, this leaflet has a bar chart on it which shows Labour at 36%, Plaid on 30% and the Tories and Liberal Democrats each on 14%. This bar chart is based on a supposed opinion poll conducted by Beaufort Research in March 2007. It should be noted that this is not the most recent available poll, which Plaid has conveniently rejected as inaccurate.
Many of their members have made the point that opinion polls consistently underestimate Plaid Cymru's vote and therefore they should be discounted. Apparently, that does not apply when the outcome of the poll is helpful to them. I hesitate to suggest that Plaid Cymru are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate, but they cannot have it both ways.
Much more interesting is the content of the leaflet. Their candidate tells us that "After talking to you - the people of Wales - Plaid Cymru have added new policy goals for the National Assembly elections. This is what you told us you wanted:
- Real patient power
- A better education system at all levels
- Policies to protect the environment and to stop global warming
- Better secure pensions"
Somehow Plaid Cymru have wrongly got it into their head that the Welsh Assembly will become responsible for pensions policy and that the next Welsh Government will be able to deliver from its limited resources the sort of pensions utopia that has eluded UK governments for decades. Such statements are misleading and irresponsible.
The best piece of spin is left for the end however. Plaid tell their readers that Brodawel residents are suffering unfairly with a massive embankment built right behind their bungalows. "Who put it there?" they ask. The answer is Labour-controlled Bridgend Council in 2003. They then ask "Who is failing to take it away?" and tell us that the responsibility for inaction rests with "The present Liberal Democrat controlled council."
Presumably, that will be the same Liberal Democrat led Coalition which includes Plaid Cymru as a member of the Administration.
Whilst Plaid Cymru are circulating misleading literature like this it is difficult to take them seriously when they start taking the moral high ground with other party's leaflets.
Update: Just to be clear for the benefit of Vaughan Roderick (translation here - thanks Sanddef), that this post is not seeking to be critical of Plaid Cymru for using a bar chart or even for their choice of poll. In my view that is a perfectly legitimate tactic and assists voters in understanding the issues and the politics of a particular constituency. What I am seeking to do here is to point out that despite Plaid's own complaints about Welsh Liberal Democrat tactics, they deploy the same techniques and, in the case of this leaflet, go much further in an attempt to win votes. They should vacate the moral high ground, they have no place there.