Every so often a local Liberal Democrat newsletter drops through the door, and almost without fail they make me less likely to vote for them! The problem is that they include a graph like this (except that they seem to round down the Conservative votes, and they only include the top three parties)…
In the latest, Christmas & New Year, edition the graph is titled “It’s so close here!” Ok, personally I’d like to see the space used to explain why voting Lib Dem is worth doing, but I guess that isn’t so bad. Unfortunately they go on to claim, “Gordon Brown and Labour have already lost here!” and “Chris Huhne Wins!” Interesting, so the next election has already been decided based on the 2005 results? That seems like a fairly silly thing for the Lib Dems to be suggesting given the national results…
So clearly Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have already lost! Fail. Fortunately past performance is no indication of future results.
Both the claim that the choice is only between Lib Dem and Labour locally, and Lib Dem’s failure to convince people that there is an alternative to Labour and Conservative nationally, reminds me of one of my favourite Simpsons episodes (thanks to Big Dunc for this quote):
Kodos: It’s true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about
it? It’s a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
Man1: He’s right, this is a two-party system.
Man2: Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
[Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]
[Ross Perot smashes his “Perot 96” hat]
I haven’t decided who to vote for yet but one thing’s for certain: the next election can’t come soon enough!
Update: it seems that I’m not the only one this annoys and someone mentioned that Sandra Gidley has done the same thing in the past. Sure enough there’s a graph under the heading “With Labour out of the race, more and more people are switching back to Sandra and the Lib Dems!” on her web site. At least Chris Huhne’s web site discusses issues I’m actually interested in, instead of wasting space; I just wish the local newsletter would do the same. I had higher hopes for Martin Tod since the graph of election results on his site was a pretty reasonable reporting of recent council elections, rather than some assertion of future results. Sadly there’s a familiar looking, “Only Martin Tod or the Conservatives can win here” graph on a recent letter. Very disappointing. (19 January 2010)
Update: unsurprisingly, it looks like the Lib Dems don’t like it when someone uses similar logic on a national scale! I wish the lot of them would stop going on about who can’t win and start spending a little more time being constructive. (27 January 2010)
Update: Just spotted the latest version of the ‘Labour can’t win’ graph on Chris Huhne’s new web site, with the full results this time. Sadly I’m getting reminded that the Lib Dems can’t win the next general election every time I get their leaflets. Twice in the same leaflet on one occasion; guess they must have run out of news for that one. (3 April 2010)
Update: Instead of covering all their leaflets with these negative and counter productive graphs, the Lib Dems should be pushing the, somewhat radical, idea of voting for who you want to win. It seems a somewhat disingenuous to be tweeting things like this…
Amazing YouGov poll unpublished by Sun shows 49 per cent Lib Dem support ‘if u thought the Lib Dems had a signif chance’ @ChrisHuhne
…while telling me not to vote Labour so that the Conservatives don’t get in. (20 April 2010)
Update: It appears they like this kind of graph in Cambridge as well. Perhaps the Alternative Vote would help. (3 May 2011)