Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where Did Labour Get the Data From?

Labour is defending its cancer scare leaflet by refuting claims that they have "targeted" people with the mailshot. They have denied obtaining data from the NHS or other medical sources. But this does provoke one to ask a question...

Why then, haven't these postcards/leaflets been sent out to voters in Scotland? Could it be because they don't have access to NHS data in Scotland? The SNP's Stuart Hosie certainly thinks so...

"Elections do result in the use of emotive language but this tactic by Labour goes well beyond the pale of decency. To even try and suggest that a voter could die because of another party’s policy is grubby politics and desperation. I challenge Labour in Scotland to state categorically that they will not adopt this tactic in Scotland and to also make clear that any databases they use are legal and above board. That there are also allegations about how Labour came upon this data? This raises questions about why it has not – yet – happened in Scotland where the SNP run the NHS compared to England where Labour are in power. This campaign tactic just adds to the dissembling and disarray that we have seen falling over the Labour campaign in the past few days in Scotland."


It is simply not tenable to say, as Labour do, that these leaflets aren't targeted. Only a quarter of a million have been sent out, so some sort of targeting must have happened. If they didn't get the data from inappropriate sources, then they must have used Mosaic or Experian to target likely current or future cancer sufferers.

Either way, it's a disgusting way to campaign.

31 comments:

Dick Puddlecote said...

Where did they get it from? It's exactly what I'd like to know.

And, as you say, it's not true to say that they didn't target cancer sufferers, it's implied in their own words and in the fact that their SureStart cards are quite definitely targeted. It's just that they've been caught with their fingers in a nasty, unethical till with this one.

Labour have used scaremongery regularly and cancer above all else, especially in the past 5 years, but this is beyond the pale.

Martin Wellbourne said...

It's bound to be something slimy, like data technically not belonging to the NHS 'cos it's been transferred to some minor sub-department, or it's not medical because it's been deemed "medo-scienologic" by some bizzare outpost of government somewhere. Something sly and just - but only just - on the right side of the truth or lie dividing line.

Not guilty on a technicality but no-one would go near them with a bargepole sort of thing.

Easy to get away with that sort of thing when no-one knows you, I suppose, but once word gets round, everyone goes elsewhere.

Darren said...

Got to wonder if the agency used data which was provided by previous clients (the NHS and Cancer Research UK). If so, it's still disgusting, and questions need to be raised about sharing data in this way, as well as who paid for it.

If it's experian, then effectively someone there has 'cracked' the code which was used to anonymise the data (presumably by postcode). If the code has been cracked, and the Labour Party knew about it, then they as current custodians of the Department of Health should have moved to stop publication in that manner because clearly it's not secure.

Either way, they've proved the NHS, and our personal data, isn't safe in their hands.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Iain,

For heaven's sake, Labour haven't "refuted" anything; they've denied something, which is very different.

To refute something means to prove it to be incorrect, and I think Labour will be struggling to do that.

And before I switch off pedant mode, don't start mentioning "epicentres".

lifeentrance said...

Why on earth does that man Vince Cable get the credit for highlighting this?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/11/labour-cancer-postcards-vince-cable

Oh, I see, the Grauniad...Say no more

golden_balls said...

I recall you saying you'd do anything to get the conservatives elected at least you were true to your word.

Your tweets with andrewlomas and others are interesting go look if your finding yourself persuaded by this garbage.

JuliaM said...

"It's bound to be something slimy..."

Indeed. Consider the source...

Englishman said...

Gordon Broon, the Scottish first Minister of England has no say whatsoever over the Scottish EU Region....ONLY England, where he is unelected, unaccountable and without mandate.....and his actions and Policies dont affect the Scotch voters who elected him....they have their 'own' Parliament and 'own' Government dont you know.

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/2919/broonland5.jpg

Nigel said...

Agreed, it's a revolting campaign tactic. I hope it loses them hundreds of thousands of votes.

The Conservative Party needs to keep its own house in order, though:
http://tmik.co.uk/?p=312

% said...

I in 3 of us will get cancer, so any mailshot of 10,000 of residents is bound to mean that some letters will reach cancer sufferers. The older the age group you send them to the higher the chance that you will reach a cancer sufferer.

see http://bit.ly/cNckQL produce by cancer research uk.

Does this mean that parties should not send out anything that might alarm people on the chance that they might actually contact some-one who has a personal experience of of that issue.

Englishman said...

Says it all...

http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/7816/justbroonmclabourfs6.jpg

norman said...

@% What a disgraceful apologist for Labour.

Andy JS said...

O/T:

The returning officer for two local authorities in Oxfordshire is still refusing to count on election night.

Could David Buckle be the man who makes Cameron wait around on Friday May 7th when he could be in Downing Street?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8614196.stm

Chris said...

http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/2010/04/11/would-the-tories-scrap-cancer-guarantees/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Peter said...

You've answered your own question about 'why not scotland?', Iain.

Labour are not in charge of the NHS in Scotland, the SNP are, so why would they send the cards to Scottish voters when they cannot claim success as 'the government' north of the border?

Jimmy said...

"Does this mean that parties should not send out anything that might alarm people on the chance that they might actually contact some-one who has a personal experience of of that issue."

Of course not. Just Labour.

Fenrir said...

There is no depth to which the Labour party will not sink, no depth of mendacity they will not plumb. They will lie, they will cheat, they will break laws if they think they can get away with it. They are the most unutterable scum ever to infest the British political establishment and deserve to be condemned to destruction.

Nigel said...

That Labour apologists like 'goldenballs' are defending this crap is a perfect illustration of why they deserve electoral wipeout next month.

Btw, you can get what seems to me extremely generous odd of 7:10 on a Conservative outright majority at the moment. Made my first wager of this electoral cycle.
(Word verification - merci.)

Aspiring Rainmaker said...

i understand that expreians mosaic takes data from a variety of sources to come up with its profiles. one of those sources are things like magazine subscription lists. so quite possible that if there are any specific cancer type magazines could have come from there.

i am still suspicious though where the data has come from! the common denominator (taangent) is interesting to say the least!!!!

incidentally, i received a letter from gordon yesterday!

norman said...

A poster in the Times on line blog is saying that his wife got a letter from Brown saying "if the Conservatives got in,you and your family would lose that right" (to prompt cancer treatment". This needs further digging as it appears that Brown knew about this and it is the deliberate ploy to seek out cancer sufferers.

This imbicile called Brown looked tearful about describing the loss of his infant,and does not hesitate to inflict misery on cancer sufferers whose life may be shortened. Brown lives in the gutter, ans McBride sags should surface again as brown knew about it andperhaps sanctioned what McBride did.

trevorsden said...

Correct Norman.
"Does this mean that parties should not send out anything that might alarm people"

Dear % - No what it means is that people should not send a pack of lies to a vulnerable group.

The lexicon does not contain words to adequately describe what I think of the Labour party. 'Disgusting campaigning' hardly begins to cover it. Still it ought to energise the conservative base - how on earth can anyone even consider voting UKIP when it can only mean helping Brown cling to power?

Gordon Brown is simply the vilest scum - lower than vermin. His government have been denying vital cancer treatment drugs to English people - whilst allowing it for Scots and Welsh.

Anna said...

Labour's campaigning is disgusting, period. Ditto Lib Dems. I'm slightly wary of condemning just those two parties, but is there any known instance of a Conservative candidate telling outright lies about his/her opponent? I'm not talking about rubbishing policies, that's politics, but has any Conservative candidate actually told LIES about their opponent's policies, the way Labour & LibDems do?

Paul said...

Why didn't it go out in Scotland?

Maybee because health is devolved?

You torries really need to get outside of the M25!

norman said...

Now we know when Blairites said sometime ago that Brown can play very dirty politics. His son I understand suffers from a serious disease and more than any one he should exercise compassion rarther targetting the vulnerable people who are fighting with the disease to survive.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Err, has Gordon lost his moral compass?

Barnacle Bill said...

It would be interesting if someone could post online these letters/postcards that they have received.
Or if you know of anyone who has had one ask them for permission to post it.

rob's uncle said...

'%' is correct. 1 in 3 of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime and 1 in 4 will die of it. So a random mail shot to people over 60 will go to many of who have just had the diagnosis or who are living with cancer [in some cases for many decades before dying of something else] or have a family member with cancer. If you are of low social class, the risks are higher; if you smoke, they are much higher.

Tasteless, I agree, but it may be nothing more than a list of subscribers to Reader's Digest!

Unsworth said...

The Data source is the real issue. That Nulab have sent such a letter is, however, entirely unsurprising

JMB said...

Perhaps someone should ask Broon how he would have felt if he received a targeted postcard about the deaths of infants and claiming one party would or would not have a policy to reduce it.

Of course it would presumably be OK if they denied using NHS records and just predicted people liable to lose a child.

Chris said...

"Why then, haven't these postcards/leaflets been sent out to voters in Scotland? Could it be because they don't have access to NHS data in Scotland?"

No, presumably because it is a devolved matter and this election has no bearing on health provision in Scotland. Whether there should be an offer of an appointment with a cancer specialist within 2 weeks in Scotland will be a matter for the current SNP government there. So far as it is an election issue, it will be an issue in the 2011 elections for the Scottish Parliament.

I am surprised you didn't notice Gordon Brown's promise, in his address outside 10 Downing Street immediately after asking for a dissolution, that he would offer "everyone in Britain" that promise (as well as promises on policing), none of which he can constitutionally deliver. It was completely wrong for him to suggest to people in Scotland (including his own constituents) that he could.

Lady Finchley said...

Yet another reason to opt out of their sinister NHS database.