I grumbled earlier about dodgy graphs used by Greenwich Labour in their local election campaign – massively downplaying the Liberal Democrat and Green votes to whip up the anti-Conservative vote. When I fumed about this, a Labour figure whispered in my ear: “Have you seen the Blackheath Westcombe Liberal Democrat leaflet?” I hadn’t, I said, and anyway, it wouldn’t suddenly make the crap Labour had put out right.
I’ve just come across the Liberal Democrat leaflet, put out on behalf of Blackheath Westcombe candidates Alexa Hills, Michael Smart and Chris Smith. And actually, it really does beggar belief:
That graph actually bears no relation to any kind of election result in Blackheath Westcombe ward. Instead, it tots up the figures for Blackheath Westcombe (Greenwich borough – 2 Tory and 1 Labour councillor), Blackheath (Lewisham borough – 3 Lib Dems, also includes parts of SE10 and SE13) and Middle Park & Sutcliffe (Greenwich borough, 2 Lib Dems and 1 Labour, only covers a small part of SE3) to come up with a figure which makes the Liberal Democrats look strong in an area where they are actually very weak. To be fair, the leaflet does contain some small print to explain this (more than Labour did with their made-up graphs) but this is just rubbish – three wards, two boroughs, and some very different issues across the area.
In the end, though, the great London-wide surge to Labour saw the two Lib Dems knocked out in Greenwich’s Middle Park & Sutcliffe ward, and one of the Lib Dems losing in Lewisham’s Blackheath ward. The leaflet didn’t seem to work well in Blackheath Westcombe either, which remains split between Labour and Conservative. It might have been easier if they told the truth after all.
These leaflets are quite common from the Lib Dems, although the party’s weakness in this borough means they’re rarely seen in Greenwich. Those who are hoping the Lib Dems’ new-found influence on whatever government we’ll end up with will lead us into an era of squeaky-clean politics may just be disappointed.