Sunday, July 29, 2018

Labour accused of training candidates to smear opponents.

A report in the Sunday Times today says that the Labour party has been accused of giving its parliamentary candidates lessons in smearing their political opponents.

Around 60 prospective parliamentary candidates attended an awayday in Nottinghamshire last weekend and were given a seminar on media training, which several sources claim involved a discussion on how to sabotage their rivals.

One attendee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said:

We were told that it was all right to make up stories about our Tory opponents even if they were on the edge of legality. We were basically told we could say what we liked about them as long as it was on the right side of the law.

“I was quite surprised, to say the least, and this certainly isn’t the way the party has previously operated or encouraged us to behave.”

Another source said:

The suggestion was that you could use the media and social media to smear your opponents and that even if you had to later retract your claims the damage would already be done. It was even inferred that you should be prepared to brief against other Labour MPs.

The Labour party denied the allegations.

However, they have "form" for doing this sort of thing. 

Earlier this year a Labour activist, Dan Evans, issued an apology for spreading smears about the Tory Byron Davies during last year’s general election, and paid a "substantial" donation to a charity chosen by the former MP. Mr Davies had been defending the government’s most marginal seat, Gower, which he had won two years earlier with a majority of just 27.

The smears against Byron Davies included baseless slanders that he was under investigation for election fraud, which Mr Evans, pictured with Jeremy Corbyn in the online version of the Sunday Times article, admitted was not true.

In 2009 the then Labour Prime Minister was forced to sack one of his closest advisors, Damien MacBride, for plotting to publish "hugely defamatory" and "obscene" untrue smears about prominent political opponents.

Telling lies to damage your political opponents is wrong whoever does it and whoever it is aimed at. I hope this story is not true and that if it is, Labour thinks better of it.

But I would also suggest that a wise voter should take any derogatory statements made by any Labour supporter about any of their political opponents with a whole truckload of salt.

1 comment:

Chris Whiteside said...

For the avoidance of doubt the original title of this post which suggested that Labour stood accused of training candidates to "spear opponents" was a typo and has been corrected.

In some cases one might almost wonder if this was a Freudian slip!