Thursday, January 26, 2006

Simon Hughes and THAT Bermondsey Leaflet

This is Simon Hughes's by-election (or should that be 'bi-election?!) leaflet which caused a storm. Notice the middle of the leaflet which proclaims THIS ELECTION IS A STRAIGHT CHOICE. Imagine if the Conservatives had put out such a leaflet when campaigning against Peter Mandelson. The defence put up by LibDems is that they use this on leaflets all the time. Indeed, someone has posted an example in the Comments section of the story below. But in genera they don't. They use the well worn phrase, IT'S A TWO HORSE RACE. And for one they're probably right. It's now between Huhne and Campbell.

For more on the Bermondsey by-election click HERE. I would also highly recommend Peter Tatchell's book The Battle for Bermondsey. It's a truly horrific tale. Buy it HERE.

Now at the risk of being accused of being in very poor taste I can't resist repeating the LibDem Twelve Days of Christmas as posted on by Sean Fear. And to any LibDems reading this, please remember that a sense of humour can get you through even the most trying of times.

“On the Twelth Day of Christmas my True Love sent to me……

Twelve Lords imbibing,
Eleven rent boys telling,
Ten gays denying,
Nine journos digging,
Eight hit men missing,
Seven Mayors exposing,
Six MPs plotting,
Five Sexual Deviants.
Four dodgy gifts,
Three jammed guns,
Two drunken Leaders,
And a cartridge in a Great Dane."


Anonymous said...

Conservatives would never be subtle enough to use a slogan like "this election is a straight choice" - "if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour" was always more their style. Sorry, that's a cheap shot, but I'm fighting fire with fire here. A less offensive and more amusing example would be "Don't vote for a Frenchman and a Catholic" which was used against Liberal MP Hillaire Belloc in 1904.

You don't even need the reading skills of an 11-year-old to see that what's being described in the leaflet as a straight choice is the election, not Simon Hughes or any of the candidates. The descendant of this phrase is present in Lib-Dem campaign material to this day: "it's a two horse race". The phrase is clearly intended to mean that there are only two options.

If using the phrase "straight choice" is anti-gay, then why are you not accusing the Scottish Labour party of blatant homophobia?

I know that you and your fellow Tories have been having your fun in the last few days and I don't mind admitting that, were the boot on the other foot, there'd be people on our side doing the same. I don't mean to get on my high horse about this issue, but I do think that you're making far more out of the leaflet than the facts merit.

Paul Evans said...

I think most of us have done a pretty good job with the gallows humour!

It's being called a scumbag (as I have been today) on the basis of a by-election that took place three months before I was born that I find upsetting; in my time in the Lib Dems I've never once encountered homophobia, or racism for that matter, so I find the vitriol we're now facing pretty bizarre, especially as in recent years the Conservative Party party has fielded candidates like Adrian Rogers, who called homosexuality "sterile, disease-riddden and God-forsaken"?

Incidentally, the wikipedia 'story of Bermondsey' seems to be agreed by most Lib Dems to be pretty fair, and is hardly damning on the party.

Paul Evans said...

Schadenfreude is not a nice quality, and in this instance I think it is very sad, and very misplaced.

Iain Dale said...

dynamite, er, see above about a sense of humour...

Anonymous said...

The Conservatives are much more straightforward. In Smethwick 1964 they had a catchy slogan 'If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Liberal or Labour'.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "it's a straight choice" isn't nearly as rare on Lib Dem leaflets as you think Iain.

It's very common - not quite as common as "two horse race", but still very common.

Indeed, one out gay Lib Dem candidate from the last general election pointed out on that he used that phrase in his own leaflets. Presumably prejudiced against himself ... !

Adrian said...

There were "if you want a n..." stickers seen in the Erdington constituency at the last election. I've got a photo somewhere.

Ian Ridley said...

Same slogan, different by-election. Brecon by-election in 1985:

Face it - it's a standard Alliance squeeze message. A two horse race is more usual nowadays (see Dunfermline & West Fife literature for up-to-the minute examples).

The homophobia is just another urban myth propagated by enemies of Simon and the Liberal Democrats.

A lot of the Bermondsey byelection literature from the Alliance can be found here:

Anonymous said...

Actually the Liberals used to say 'If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Labour' as well