Friday, November 30, 2007

Lib Dem Voice: Man Drafted Letters to Local Paper

Goodness me. Greater Manchester Lib Dems will be wiping their hard drives furiously at the apparent news from Lib Dem Voice that politicians can be banned from office for drafting letters to papers to be submitted in other people's names.

They have a checkered history on this.

First, as super soaraway exponents of the fine art of writing and submitting letters in other people's names - with or without permission, including their own councillors, relatives of etc - some of them submitted over the names of authors totally and utterly incapable of the loquacity attributed to them.

Second, making moaning allegations about pen names being used by others. But allegations you'll be pleased to know there were not merely pompous wind-baggery but actually had some "evidence" to go with them.

Third, I rather think there are instructions on "helping" residents with letters in at least one of the hilarious campaigning manuals produced by the Lib Dems, most recently with the name Hywel Morgan on the cover as author. Though did he actually write the things? We'll never know.

Group Leader Cllr Simon Ashley himself backed up such assertions in the letters pages of the South Manchester Reporter by revealing that he had "checked the Electoral Register" and found no such persons at particular addresses.

If that were so there are a lot of innocent explanations for this. But given some of the disgusting ad hominem attacks that Simon and his Battalions of sock puppets were launching against anyone who called them to account in that paper - for their councilloring failures, for their fibs and for their misery - I would not blame any ordinary member of the public protecting themselves from such vilification.

But surely using a copy of an Electoral Register - provided by the local returning officer only for use in electoral canvassing - for this purpose is itself an election offence? With a potential fine of £5,000 and disqualification from office?

Where is special constable Chris Huhne MP when we need him?

By the way, apart from the drafting of letters on behalf of around 250 other persons the guy, a Labour guy, was caught with indecent images on his computer.

Which is probably a more important story really. And the sort of thing that Lib Dem Voice would follow up without fear or favour? Even if it were a Lib Dem councillor or candidate in the chair?


Paul Leake said...

I guess the difficulty would be proving it was the full electoral register checked, rather than having been down the library / to look at the public edited version.

Chris Paul said...

Well that would be an issue if Simon had not (a) talked about looking at his copy (b) been categorical (which was idiotic enough on a full register given churn, inaccuracies, unregistered etc and (c) it "all went quiet over there" when the problem was pointed out. Not like Simon.