Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Plumbing The Depths

Voters in Crewe & Nantwich go to the by-election polls after one of the most unseemly campaigns in recent memory.

And as John Harris put it in the Guardian last week, in this campaign it is Labour who have shown themselves to be deserving of the 'nasty party' tag.

The 'Tory Boy Timpson' leaflet was perhaps the lowest point. Combining personal attack politics with appeals to anti-foreigner sentiment, it caused some party members to question Labour's tactics in the campaign.

It was backed up by a stunt described by Daniel Finkelstein as "stupider than the chicken", in which two young men dressed up as 'toffs' in a top hat and tails were sent to follow the Tory candidate around.

It was later established that not only was one of the two 'toffs' educated at a £9,000 a year private school, but also that the Labour candidate (despite describing herself as "just a single, unemployed mother of five fighting for a job") is, unlike Tory candidate Timpson, listed in Burke's Peerage & Gentry and (like Timpson) owns a farmhouse.

The 'Tory Boy Timpson' leaflet was followed up by another lowest common denominator attack, this one an appeal to fear of crime (despite the relatively low crime-rate in the constituency) that would not look out of place adorning a far-right party's campaign material.

The imagery is violent and, combined with the tenor of Dunwoody's associated statement (entitled 'Get the Yobs'), clearly panders to suspicion of and hostility to young people. Dunwoody promises that police will "harass yobs, and get in their faces" - in other words, oppress young people who have committed no crime.

So, in order to try and win in Crewe & Nantwich, Labour have tried (rather hypocritical) class warfare, appealing to anti-foreigner sentiment, and whipping up fear of crime and of young people. Could they plumb any further depths?

IN-TEXT IMAGES: Via Guido Fawkes

1 comment:

Roger Thornhill said...

The Soft on YOBS poster is almost Soviet.