There's a reet old row brewing up in Doncaster between the local LibDems and Labour MP Denis MacShane. The LibDems put out one of their lovely Focus leaflets which said "Labour selected this non-British citizen who cannot vote in general elections". The councillor in question was Danish born woman Eva Hughes, who has lived in this country for 22 years.
Denis MacShane threw a wobbly, saying the leaflet was the "using the language we normally associate with the BNP" and he asked Nick Clegg to apologise. Instead, Lord Rennard was despatched to calm things down, but it doesn't quite seem to have worked. He retorted: "The leaflet in question was self-evidently in no way xenophobic; instead it was a perfectly legitimate attack on the recent conduct in office of a Labour councillor."
Labour are now no doubt searching for LibDem councillors or European candidates who were also not born in this country to prove that the LibDems are hypocritical.
It is a bit of a storm in a teacup, as the national party cannot monitor every local leaflet which is being put out. But one can just imagine than if the boot had been on the other foot, the LibDems would have been jumping up and down in synthetic outrage. That's why I am surprised Rennard didn't just issue a short apology and close the story down.
Because as it stands, Denis MacShane has got the bit between his teeth and shows no sign of letting go.
Was what the LibDems said true?
If so, what's the problem?
I can't see that there's any race hatred there.
This is hardly a surprise. The Lib Dem Focus leaflet is one of the most scandalous publications in the country. If a well known Labour or Tory figure dies and causes a by election, there will instantly be a Focus "Tribute" edition shamelessly appealing to that individual's personal voters, no matter how badly they treated that individual when they were alive.
The Lib Dems believe in P.R but the Focus leaflet disgracefully exploits the FPTP system by ramming down people's throats the idea that some parties cannot win in some constituencies.
Focus leaflets routinely exaggerate the credentials of Lib Dem candidates whilst personally slating their opponents, regardless of how much service they have contributed to their communities.
Virtually everyone who has been a candidate in this country can give a hundred examples of how the Focus leaflet has dragged their campaign into the gutter.
Oh shut up.
I hate Lib Dems. But I hate whingers about tgheir campaigns even more.
You have to do them the "Chicago way" - they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue.
Ask Jody Dunn.
Daniel you are irnoring the fact that every single time and Labour figure dies (I can't account for Tories as haven't fought a Tory by election here in Scotland since movning in 2001) there is a memorial Rose leaflet coming out with comments from the sucessor of how much they respected the late Labour representative even if they hated each others guts.
However, if this comment on this leaflet is correct it is a step too far and does have repercusions on a number of elected representatives I do know.
It doesn't seem to occur to MacShane that 'using the language of the BNP' is actually what many people want.
McShane appears to have forgotten Crewe and Nantwich fairly quickly. And that was entirely the work of Number 10, unlike Cowley Street who are not orchestrating Doncaster's focus leaflets.
Labour need look no further to this little gem:
Back in 2003, the LibDems had a council member in Longsight (Manchester) who was at the time of election, a Pakistani asylym-seeker who spoke little English. The council then had to stump up for a translator for him to conduct day-to-day business as he only spoke Urdu.
Since he was from a Commonwealth nation he was legally allowed to hold office. The problem was that he couldn't speak directly to the majority of his constituents or many on the council.
The Guardian at the time quoted the councillor, through a translator ...
"I think it is party-political nonsense," he says. "This is scaremongering and will create tension between different parts of the community."
The article goes on to state "Others have accused the council leaders of playing directly into the hands of the political far right."
A Lib Dem Councillor in Camden had to resign because he had gone to live in Arizona, U.S.A. secretry, and was still pocketing his allowance.
They have the cheek.
ALL EU citizens and most Commonwealth citizens can vote in any UK election if they live here. Whether she is a Danish or UK citizen, she can vote. So the leaflet is not only somewhat xenophobic, it is completely ignorant of the law.
The Lib Dems are a disgusting party! The are led by a useless gimp called Nick Clegg! They are the dad's army of British politics: A joke!
The LD's are a petty obnoxious bunch of shisters. With regard to the LD Camden cllr - the LD leader/spokesperson said that the experiemnt of whether someone could be a representative and live thousands of miles away had failed!
LD = LOOOooooooooooooooooOOOL!
This would be the same Denis McShane who attacked the British media because when an Iraqui mass grave of 300 was found their front page reports weren't sufficiently pro Labour. Also the Denis McShane involved in, successfully, keeping out of the media ALL reports of the Dragodan Massacre where at least 210 civilians were buried in a mass grave by NATO police (formely the KLA) a few hundred yards from the British HQ in Kosovo.
Whatever one thinks of the BNP at least they are not 1,000th as supportive of genocide & Nazism as Mr McShane.
Is it me or does Denis Mcshane sound like he needs to blow his nose?
King - only british citizens can vote in General Elections. Residents of EU countries can vote in local and European elections. So whilst it's a dumb statement on many levels it's still factually correct.
The Lib Dems don't have any kind of brand consistency.
There isn't anything inherently wrong with this. It may well be liberal to allow local parties to be free to follow their own agendas, according greater or lesser importance to concepts such as equality as they see fit. As at least one astute Lib Dem blogger has recently noted, liberalism does not always equate to being morally right.
Where this becomes a problem is that the electorate in general assume that if they hear Nick Clegg on tv or radio, that their local Lib Dems will be local reflections when this isn't necessarily the case. Some will, others will not.
If Lib Dems cannot self-evidently establish any kind of consistency in terms of their principles, then might it be considered to be misleading the electorate to use nationwide branding such as the Libby Bird to rope in deliverers, funds and candidates? Wouldn't it be more honest to say something along the lines of:
"Let us earn your support as local and private individuals seeking to further the cause of liberalism, as we understand it."
If local MPs such as Denis MacShane take this up where they see an issue, it might result in better democracy overall with more informed decision making by the electorate.
If people truly want this local liberalism, they'll vote for it anyway.
Daniel Clarke, with former Tory PPC Ian Oakley just sentenced for his ‘vile’ attacks on Liberals, is it fair to say all Tory PPC are like Oakley? No of course not, and it is equally ridiculous of you to claim all Lib Dem Foci are scurrilous
Last year's mayor in Ipswich was a Danish-born Liberal Democrat
What a stupid pathetic decision by the Doncaster Lib Dems.
There was a terrible mix up. Sorry. Someone sent out for a coffee and a Danish.
As a matter of fact citizens of the Republic of Ireland can also vote in and stand for Westminister elections. If elected they CAN take a seat in Westminister.
However with regards to the hypocracy of the Liberal Democrtas and their Liberal predecessors in their Focus leaflets - remember the disgusting "Which Queen do you support..." Focus flyer used to defeat Peter Tatchell by Simon Hughes in the Bermondsey by-election.
On a bridge in Durham this at the weekend, I saw stalls both for the "Socialist Party" (Militant as was) and for the BNP.
Those manning the Militant one were clearly undergraduates, and were merely collecting signatures for two petitions, one to renationalise the energy companies, the other against the BNP.
But those manning the BNP one were older, they spoke with local accents (I mean really local - Durham itself or its immediate environs), and they were clearly doing a roaring trade in recruitment among the Saturday shoppers.
I had assumed that, with only three seats to fill, the North East, alone among the English regions, would be spared a BNP MEP in June, never mind the two that they are on for in each of London, the North West and the South East, at least.
But after this, I am not so sure. Neil Heron gave a seat to the Lib Dems rather than UKIP last time. Having won his cause, he is unlikely to stand again, and if he does, then he will only be giving the BNP a ninth, if not a twelfth, seat. He really does need to think about that. As, in BNP-infested Sunderland, I have no doubt that he does.
Who can stop this from happening, both in the North East and throughout the country?
Well, if I may, see my blog on that one. But almost nowhere else. I know, I've tried; but because media types don't know anyone who could conceivably need to be reached like this, they don't believe that such people or places exist.
is this another Danny Alexander classic
he botched badly at the Moray by-election for the Jock parliament
Why is this Danish flavour suddenly. Anything to do with Windbag Kinnock's daughter-in law's inspiration?
The LibDems are as usual being hypocritical, but does no one share my misgivings about the promiscuous way in which this nation confers voting rights?
True, EU citizens only get to vote in local elections (does anyone check?), but local elections include (e.g.) the Scottish Parliament where, at the last election, around 100,000 Eastern Europeans had a right to vote for or against a party with the declared aim of achieving Scottish independence. Similar considerations apply to Welsh Assembly elections. This is not a local matter and should not be within the compass of people whose presence On this island may well be transient.
Local election success is, in any event, a recognised building block for national political success. It really ought to be a matter only for people either with some roots in the country (born here) or who have a demonstrable commitment to its future (have taken citizenship and given up any other citizenship).
The Irish exception is particularly galling. They get to vote in general as well as local elections and can stand for Westminster, but Ireland does not, so far as I can ascertain, extend similar rights to British citizens in the Republic. A hangover, no doubt, from the time when Ireland was in the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth still meant something, but long overdue for revision.
And no, I do not support the BNP.
The libdumbs could always have told Him to get stuffed. Its surprisingly effective and more people should try it.
Another strange thing is that although Zimbabwe is no longer a member of the Commonwealth, Zimbabweans in this country are, I understand, entitled to vote here.
Actually Salmondnet UK citizens can vote in Ireland for the Dail and Local Govt and EU elections. The Lib Dem Focus is always a lie and always nasty, certainly in my area, it galls me that they protry themselves as the "nice" party when in fact they are the most disreputable bunch of Tossers going.
David Lindsay said...
"But those manning the BNP one were older, they spoke with local accents (I mean really local - Durham itself or its immediate environs), and they were clearly doing a roaring trade in recruitment among the Saturday shoppers"
Anonymous 1.36. You say that UK citizens can vote in Dail and in EU elections. What is you source for this information? I have twice asked the Irish Embassy in London to confirm this and they have twice failed to do so. Perhaps they think it is an unfair question. I will try again.
Remind me: isn't Mr McShane's party the Labour Party, New or otherwise, whose leader last year proclaimed the BNP slogan "British jobs for British people". Went down really well with asian voters in West Yorkshire. Not.
Anonymous 7.16. I think it was "British Jobs for British" workers". Difficult to see how anyone could disagree with that as an aim, although, because of our EU commitments it was obviously hot air. Are you saying that ethnic asian voters in West Yorkshire do not think of themselves as British? If so, that is surely the problem, not the Labour party statement.
2Lib Dems "nasty" ? Now what happened in Watford ?
salmondnet, below is the quote from the Irish law
British citizens may vote at Dáil, European and local elections
I lived in Irtelkand and did vote in the Dail.
Anonymous 3.16. Thank you for that. To the extent that rights are reciprocal I withdraw may particular complaint about Ireland. However, they are not entirely reciprocal. Unlike Irish Citizens in England, British Citizens in Ireland can not stand for elections to the Parliament/ Dail or vote in referendums (or in Presidential elections, although that is fair enough, since no one gets to vote for the Monarch).
In any event it is still an anachronism. Irish residents of the UK should not be voting in UK national elections and British residents in Ireland should not be voting in theirs.
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