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Lib Dem Mail and Labour Spam

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

My first pee (Party Election Email – yes, I’m so desperate for a laugh that I’m lowering myself to toilet humour) from the Liberal Democrats:

VOTING HAS STARTED

As you read this, the first votes are being cast in the general election as postal ballot papers have started hitting doormats.

I don’t think there’s anything objectionable in that.

In our target seats across Great Britain, our campaigns are going very well. The campaigners I have met on my tour are buoyed by the very positive response on the doorsteps. The public I meet too are much more friendly and positive than in previous elections.

This could have been taken from any of the parties’ emails. Hardly ground-breaking.

Nationally the picture is good, with the party scoring its highest ever opinion poll ratings during a general election.

This, however, is impressive. The Lib Dems are doing very well in this election – and good luck to them!

Many people have told me how they have been boosted by seeing our large billboard posters around the country. A few have been a bit shocked to turn a corner and find a huge picture of myself!

Shocked? Or afraid? Very afraid?

Over this weekend, all our target seats will be working flat-out to maximise our support in the first wave of postal votes. In many seats we are poised for victory. We need to turn potential into real votes. More than 1 in 5 voters have not yet made up their minds how to vote.

Once again, bland, inoffensive, and could have been written by any party.

So next week will also see a big wave of newspaper advertising from the party. We have already had adverts in many papers, including the Express, Mail, Mirror and Telegraph.

Good to hear.

The extent of our advertising campaign depends on funds. Put simply, the more money we raise – the more we can do.

Makes sense.

You can help extend our advertising campaign by donating now.

I think not.

Best wishes
Charles Kennedy

He’s the only party leader who I truly believe actually thinks about using words like ‘best wishes’. I think he considers it, whereas other party leaders just let that kind of thing trip off the typing-fingers.

P.S. I really want our national campaign to continue to grow to support our grassroots campaigning. But that depends on having the funds – please donate now.

Still no chance, Chaz.

By far the most inbox-filling email campaign has come from Labour’s (unsolicited) emails. Here’s the latest:

Dear All,

Hi!

Thank you for your support.

I offered some?

Thousands of people have already pledged their time and money to help with our local campaigning.

The mad fools.

This will mean that we will be able to speak to more voters and turn out that crucial Labour vote.

Crucial to you, maybe. Me, not so much.

But we know the Tories are planning to blitz our seats in the final few days and whatever the polls say, we know the result in our marginal seats will be very close this time – every single vote will make a difference.

That might even be why they are called marginal seats – you know, I think you’re on to something!

This election will be decided on turnout and whether we win or lose could depend on you.

No, this election will be decided on how many votes each candidate in each consituency gets. That’s how elections usually work. Unless this is some kind of electoral reform – all votes count for Labour, so the higher the turn-out, the bigger the landslide! After all, you have lots of experience fiddling elections!

We need as much time as you can give in the next fortnight and particularly on polling day itself – Thursday 5 May.

I can give you no time. Except possibly the time. And the time to ridicule you.

If you have made your pledge already then thank you.

I haven’t.

But if not please don’t wait for tomorrow

I’m certainly not waiting for tomorrow to make a pledge.

pledge today so we can plan to use our resources in the best way and make sure we deliver a historic third term Labour government.

Erm, no thanks.

Alicia Kennedy
Head of Field Operations

You sound important.

That’s my inbox emptied for the moment.

This post was filed under: Election 2005.

Labour Spam and Tory Mail

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

A bit of a two-in-one today. The Conservative email arrived first, so it only seems fair to deal with it first:

Millions of home owners will be saved an average £270 a year in council tax bills when the Conservatives win the May 5 general election.

More than questionable. Actually, few home owners will be saved £270 a year, actual figures will fluctuate around this, that being the nature of an average. And there’s some difficulty in saying whether this is a genuine ‘saving’, since they actually mean that they won’t raise Council Tax by that much. Oh, and it seems a bit premature to be talking in terms of ‘when’ – it doesn’t look positive, it looks Blairingly arrogant.

Party Leader Michael Howard has promised to halt Tony Blair’s latest stealth tax by cancelling a revaluation of domestic properties which is expected to result in seven million homes moving into a higher council tax band across England.

So instead of using the latest information, we’re going to use out-of-date archaic information which is unfair to people in new properties, whilst giving people in older ones a tax-break. Not exactly the fairest thing to do, but at least it makes you look good.

He made the pledge at an election press conference in London, which focused on the Conservative local government campaign, and where the party launched its manifesto for the local elections – also on May 5.

Well that’s nice.

Mr Howard declared:

He didn’t merely say it. He didn’t just announce it. He declared it. Which is a poor choice of words, really, since it implies that he was concealing it before. What else is he hiding?

“We will stop Mr Blair’s next stealth tax dead in its tracks by cancelling revaluation. Based on what happened in Wales, this will save seven million homes in England from paying more – £270 more, each and every year, for the typical household.”

The ‘typical’ household? What exactly does this mean? It’s an inaccurate way of communicating the average figure. ‘Average’ and ‘Typical’ are different. I could have a box of pens with 10ml of ink in 19 of them, and 100ml of ink in 1 of them. That would make the typical pen have 10ml of ink, but the average pen would have 14.5ml of ink. Typical is modal, average implies mean. Someone should give Mr Howard a maths lesson.

The commitment is part of a straight-forward five point action plan designed to keep your council tax down.

Well, actually, as a student, I don’t pay any council tax. But thanks for looking out for me.

This involves easing the burden on councils, by abolishing unnecessary and costly regulations;

There must have been a reason for introducing these regulations. I’m sure they weren’t seen as unnecessary and costly at the time. Are you sure they no longer serve any useful purpose?

ensuring fairer funding from Whitehall, by introducing greater transparency over grant distribution;

Transparency doesn’t necessarily breed fairness. You can visibly screw people over as much as you can discreetly con them. And transparency general means red tape.

delivering a fully-funded settlement for local government, with an above-inflation increase for local councils, and significant increases for schools, police and health and social services;

Whoopee… try and show me a party that doesn’t want this.

halving council tax bills for the elderly by reducing the charge levied on millions of adults aged 65 and over by up to £500 a year;

That’s part of your five point plan to keep my council tax down? Last time I checked, I’m not quite 65 as of yet. And you’ll have to be in power for some considerable time for this to benefit me.

and by scrapping the planned property revaluation throughout England.

Which, as we’ve already discussed, leaves in place inherent inequity and unfairness.

Denouncing the way Labour has hammered home owners with relentless council tax increases,

Some home owners. And it’s not as if that’s not the trend they inherited anyhow.

and warning that Liberal Democrat plans to replace the council tax with a local income tax would cost a typical hardworking family in England, with two earners, at least £600 more, he said:

What’s a ‘typical hardworking family’? I think some people would highly dispute your £600 figure. Besides which, I notice that you fail to mention how this would help single-earner households.

“I believe in rewarding families who work hard and do the right thing.

And there’s the sting: ‘do the right thing’. He wants to reward families who do what he wants them to do. Isn’t that just the same as what Labour like to do?

So I am going to stop Mr Blair’s next stealth tax by cancelling revaluation.

I think I got that message already.

While he has talked, families have been struggling

And no family will struggle under the Conservatives?

last year, for the first time in a decade, their average incomes fell thanks to Mr. Blair’s stealth taxes.

‘For the first time in a decade’ simply reflects badly on the last Conservative government. Not a good line to use. The electorate are good at maths.

The most punishing of all Labour’s stealth taxes has been the council tax.

Actually, that’s probably true. But in what way is this a ‘stealth’ tax? It’s a tax. What’s stealthy about it? Have they started issuing bills that sneak through the letter box in the dead of night and hide under the doormat?

“For most families, their home is their most valuable asset.

In a monetary sense, yes. But that’s not the terms I would’ve used if I was trying to show I lead a party that valued people.

It’s the bedrock of their security – both financial security and personal security.

Okay, fine, but where are you going with this?

But Mr Blair has used people’s homes as a means of taxing them by stealth.

It isn’t a stealth tax.

Most people will have just opened their council tax bills with horror.

Actually, I opened my with relative joy, as the council have finally managed to work out that I don’t have to pay, and have finally processed the discount correctly. Hurrah!

Well, my message to them is clear: you don’t have to settle for this.

Woohoo!

You can make a difference.

Really? Little old me?

You can vote to stop the relentless rise in council tax.”

What, by voting Lib Dem, since they’ll abolish it?

Now, without so much as a sincere salutation from the Conservatives, we’ll switch to another ‘hilarious’ Labour spam message:

Dear All,

One of those slightly ridiculous phrases that’s slipped into the lexicon. How can ‘all’ be ‘dear’ to you? Unless you’re writing only to your former lovers, or something. But you’re not, you’re writing to some crappy mailing list that my address has somehow found itself on.

I’ll never forget Election Day 2001;

Is that a pledge? Is it in the manifesto? Or do you plan to renegade on it half way through the Parliament?

I spent it driving down posh avenues where the houses were all worth over a million, booming out the message; ‘Vote for an increase in the minimum wage!’

That’s an odd name for a candidate.

I’m sure I saw one lady covering up the ears of her cleaner.

Oh, you’re just hilarious.

This time around if we don’t get our voters to the polls on 5 May, we will have a Tory government in just two weeks’ time.

Well, no, that’s not the way it works. You see, in order for that to happen, you’d have to have people voting for the Conservatives. It doesn’t just automatically happen if you don’t mobilise the cronies.

Simple as that.

Well no, actually, it’s not.

Four years of Prime Minister Michael Howard on the telly every night and the evening news having to have an 18 certificate.

Because of Labour’s increasingly desperate attempts to get back into power?

At this election it will be harder to get our supporters to the polls and we may well have less people with which to do it.

I wouldn’t have used ‘less’ people. It indicates that you see each person as one of a larger mass, instead of ‘fewer people’ which would have signified that you value each one individually. But that’s just semantics. And why will it be harder to get your supporters to the polls? Because they don’t think you deserve their vote? Why’s that?

That is why you are needed from now till 5 May more than at any point since Labour came to power.

Well I’m telling people not to vote Labour, so I doubt it’s really me you want.

So how about warning the boss now that you’ll be taking a day’s annual leave on election day?

Erm… no thanks.

Because what are you realistically going to achieve by going into work on 5 May?

Well compared to what Mr Blair does on an average day – invade a country here and there, spin some lies, break some promises – probably not a lot.

A few hours sitting in front of a computer playing Solitaire? Entering your own name in Google and then being slightly indignant that someone with your name has their own website?

Glad to see you value your workforce, especially since you’re traditionally the party of public sector workers. This tends to support the Tory argument that there’s an awful lot more waste in the system than you care to admit.

Alternatively you could be out there making history as you help Labour win an unprecedented third term.

Or making history by providing the political comeback for Mr Blair’s hugely unpopular actions over Iraq?

And election day is fun!

Every seat Mr Blair loses is fun.

What could be more enjoyable than sitting outside a polling station making small talk with a Tory for two hours?

Poking Mr Blair with a big stick?

Or you could do some car calls. Imagine the satisfaction from discovering that a retired mini-cab driver wanted a lift to the polling station, saying ‘yeah, the car’s on its way’ and then making him wait two hours.

That’s how much you value your voters, then?

And it will have been ages since you had a day off work.

Yep, because you’ve failed to introduce more Bank Holidays, despite apparantly wanting to do so.

Not counting the Monday 2 May which is a Bank Holiday. And Easter a few weeks ago. And then there’s another Bank Holiday at the end of May, but apart from that, when did you last miss a day’s work?

Not a bad return, actually, considering you don’t know what I’m saying.

It’s not as if you are going to be staying up all night on Thursday, so you’ll be full of energy when you get in early the next morning…

No, because you’ve failed to energise the voters, so they’ll be apathetic on election night.

So go on – do something really worthwhile from now until 5 May.

Like criticising your spam?

One day away from the office or four years of Michael Howard in office – surely it’s no contest.

Certainly not.

John O’Farrell
Author and Broadcaster

Alistair Campbell’s not been asked to write another email, then?

P.S.

Oh grief, there’s more.

If you can’t give time perhaps you could give some money

I think not.

how about £67?

How about nout?

That’s a weekend’s minimum wage

If you work 13.8 hours. Which would be, frankly, bizarre.

or twice as much as Robert Kilroy-Silk spent on that sun-ray lamp on Ebay.

Sure that wasn’t Tony? He suddenly developed a tan. In a day. Apparently by spending that day in the sun.

Well there we go. That’s my political inbox emptied and spleen vented for now. Phew. It took nearly 2000 words, but we got there. Well done if you got through it all. You deserve a medal.

This post was filed under: Election 2005.

Labour spams-up for the taste…

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

More Labour junk mail today, here’s what they have to say (the whole post won’t be in rhyming couplets, you’ll be glad to know, it’s just started that way).

Today we need you to help us keep the NHS free.

Why, when none of your opposition parties – not even the Monster Raving Loony Party – oppose that measure?

Michael Howard and the Tories want to bring in charges for hospital operations.

Woah, cowboy, that’s simply not true. In fact, the Tories want to cut the price of private operations. That’s not bringing in charges. That’s reducing them. I can see why your party would be confused, after all when you say ‘No tax rises’ you mean ‘Higher taxes’.

If elected the Tories say they will take over £1 billion from the NHS and put it into private healthcare subsidies for those who can afford to pay.

Correct-i-mundo, thereby reducing the capacity the NHS has to deal with, and thus reducing waiting times. You’re not against a bit of private help with the NHS are you? You introduced it, after all.

So if you can afford to go private you go to the front of the queue and pay a charge.

Wrong I’m afraid. You don’t go to the front of the queue, you go in a completely different queue, just as if I were to go private today. Or are you saying that all your constituents who choose to go to a private dentist instead of waiting for you to sort out the NHS situation – which, by the way, you promised to do by last year – are jumping the queue? Perhaps you’d like to publically denounce their actions, because this is clearly damaging the NHS if they’re jumping the queue – after all, that’d be seeing patients according to their financial situation and not their clinical need, which you claim to oppose. You can’t have it both ways.

But what about those who can’t afford to pay the Tory charges to go private?

They continue under the current system, but have less time to wait because those who can afford to do so now have an incentive to go private. So both sets of people get treated faster.

You go to the back of the queue.

No, no, no. I’ve already explained this. Are you a bit thick? You don’t go to the back of the queue, you go into a different queue altogether. Otherwise, if you’re going to use that terminology, we’re all at the back of the queue at the moment, except for the few who go private. But you’re trying to sell us the idea that you’re reducing waiting times and these queues are getting better. So is being on an NHS hospital waiting list a good thing, or is it ‘being at the back of the queue’? You can’t have it both ways. Well, actually, you probably can, since you can say you’ll oppose top-up fees and then go right ahead and introduce them anyway.

The costs are not peanuts.

No, but they are a lot lower than they are under your current administration. 50% lower, to be exact.

Take a look – costs to jump the queue:
Cataract removal £2,500
Hip replacement £6,650
Knee replacement £7,500
Heart bypass £11,500

Please pay attention! These are not costs to jump the queue. They are private healthcare charges. And you charge double those figures. So surely I should be smiling with delight to find that I can now get my hypothetical cataracts removed for £2,500 in a plush private hospital, whereas under Labour, I have to pay £5000. So what the heck is your point?

Britain faces a clear choice in 17 days, between those who support a National Health Service as envisaged by its founders – free at the point of use.

Well that’s a nice, if grammatically flawed, sentence.

And the Tories who would bring in charges for hospital operations.

Oh, there’s the other half. And you still don’t get it. Let’s use some boldness. The Tories will not bring in charges for hospital operations. That is a lie. They will reduce the cost of private operations that poeple pay under Labour. Whichever way you look at it, the cost of healthcare is reduced. It’s free to everyone, and if you choose to go private you no longer have to pay twice for your operation, because the portion you’ve paid in tax will be refunded.

Since 1997, our commitment to the NHS has provided record numbers of doctors and nurses and in a historic Labour third term we will continue our investment.

Or, indeed, in an historic third term. But every other party also advocates increased spending on the NHS. This is not a unique distinction of yours. It tells me nothing about how Labour policies differ from the policies of others.

The choice is clear: forward with reduced waiting times, better hospitals, more nurses and more doctors or backwards under the Tories to charges, long waiting lists and more than £1 billion being taken out of the NHS to subsidise private operations for the few.

The Tories will not charge for people to have NHS operations. I can’t believe you don’t get this. And if more people are encouraged to go over to the private healthcare system, how does that make waiting times longer? That’s a crazy thing to say. And, it’s a smaller point, but the Tories are not taking £1bn out of the NHS, they’re just not putting that £1bn into it.

It is not enough just to want the NHS to get better.

You mean sitting here saying ‘I want the NHS to get better’ won’t change anything?!

If you value the NHS, you have to vote for it.

Erm, that will be difficult, because the NHS is not a candidate in this election.

We need everyone who wants to keep the NHS free to sign our petition now and send Michael Howard a strong message that the NHS should be kept free.

Michael Howard has signed the petition, because he also wants the NHS to remain free. I’m sure Charles Kennedy would sign it too. So what exactly is the point of a petition, when everyone agrees on a similar position?

Sadly, no salutation from anybody on this, so I don’t know who wrote it. But whoever it was is either trying to deliberately mislead people (something Labour is intimately familiar with), or they’re just to stupid to understand other policies, and look at the merits of them. Either way, someone who’s attempted to ram a blatant lie down the throat of however many people this unsolicited email was sent to should resign. But then, in the Labour party, lying is encouraged, and is certainly not something one resigns over. Is it, Mr Blair?

This post was filed under: Election 2005.




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