Richard Willis's Blog

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Labour Lies and Dodgy Lib Dem Bar Charts – It’s Business As Usual

All election campaigns produce occasional suspect claims and counter-claims but here in Reading Labour and the Lib Dems are plumbing new depths in the last few days of the campaign. The worst example by far is a very poor quality leaflet (above) distributed by Labour in the town centre Abbey ward. It makes the entirely false claim that Conservatives would scrap the free residents’ parking permit. This comes in a long line of false claims from Labour. Conservatives have said that we would keep the free first permit and it is in fact Labour that are proposing to remove that free permit from anyone who has any off street parking. To the best of my knowledge neither have the Lib Dems said that they would scrap the free permit. However, a desperate Labour party is clearly prepared to resort to any lie and any scare in order to try to keep some of their crumbling vote.

The Lib Dems are not immune from misrepresentation either. One of their most infamous tricks is to use very dodgy bar charts based on odd combinations of previous election results or other statistically dubious methods. The most dodgy technique is usually reserved for Parliamentary by-elections and that is the use of so-called “latest canvass figures”. These can be anything the Lib Dems want them to be and they never say whether the canvass figures in question are from the whole of the constituency and the whole of the campaign, or just a selection that suits their needs. It would be more honest of the Lib Dems to show real recent election results or Council seats in Reading East. Of course they won’t as these would show them in third (or even fourth) place. It is a sign of desperation that the Lib Dems have resorted to dodgy bar charts in their latest Reading East newspaper in order to try to show them “closing on the Conservatives”.

If Labour collapse, it is just about conceivable that the Lib Dems could overtake Labour in both Reading East and West but there is no sign of that in the Conservative canvass returns to date. Once again I suspect that the Lib Dems are trying to use their dodgy bar charts to boost their electoral chances as their opinion poll ratings wane.


May 2, 2010 - Posted by | Local


  1. Surely all parties at times produce “dodgy bar charts”! Here in Birmingham it is the Tories who have produced charts that totally misleading, in a Ward which the LibDems won last time, where they claim that the LibDems have no chance.

    They also produce a chart from the Euro election, totally failing to include the UKIP figures. Not surprised they have done that given that the truth is that the Tories have actually come third in the last three elections fought in the Ward concerned. No one reading their bar chart would have guessed that.

    Comment by John | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Just looked at the odds for Reading East on a couple of bookies websites. Those sites confirm that it is indeed a two horse race, and Labour is nowhere.

    Anyone who thinks that Labour has a chance of winning in Reading East, well, I point out that 35-1 is available for a bet for Labour …. on Betfair.

    Comment by John | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. John: you are quite right it’s a two horse race in Reading East but from talking to people, Lib dems are a poor second I’d say..But give credit where it’s due they are trying hard. The local Lib Dem PPC is a cocky chap who thinks he will win by promoting the local pubs! He is a one trick pony! Just like Nick..

    Comment by Mousey | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. I blogged about this here,,
    the LD squashed the Lab vote to make them look a distant third. They averaged the last 3 years results to massage the appropriate result.

    Not every party does this, its mostly a LD tactic.

    Comment by Adrian Windisch | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  5. The Times –
    has Lib Dems in a very distant second place for Reading East with a 15% chance of winning the seat. Labour are third with a 5% chance and the Tories are a near certainty with a 77% chance of winning.

    In Reading West, Labour are a bit stronger, and the Tories and Lib Dems a bit weaker, but the Tories are still ahead with a 65% chance of winning the seat.

    Labour look like facing almost complete wipe-out in the South of England outside of London. If you draw a line from the Wash to the Bristol Channel, or indeed anywhere below Coventry, and look south of it, it looks like the will hold onto Luton North, Slough, two seats in Southampton, two seats in Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth Moor View, and only three of those look like safe seats.

    Comment by Jonathan | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  6. Nice Article

    Comment by Manish | May 3, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks Manish!

      You wouldn’t be a Labour PPC would you? 🙂

      Comment by Richard Willis | May 4, 2010 | Reply

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