Party politics

PUBLISHED: 10:58 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

SIR – Doug Leedham (Herts Advertiser, January 28) completely misunderstands my point about why it is important not to misrepresent election statistics. During the 2005 general election campaign, the Liberal Democrats used local election results to back u

SIR - Doug Leedham (Herts Advertiser, January 28) completely misunderstands my point about why it is important not to misrepresent election statistics.

During the 2005 general election campaign, the Liberal Democrats used local election results to back up their slogan "Labour can't win here", despite there being an incumbent Labour MP at the time.

The result of the 2005 general election was that St Albans returned a Conservative MP because of a swing away from Labour and towards the Lib Dems, not because of any great increase in Conservative votes.

It is reasonable to conclude that there was a contingent of voters who mistakenly tactically voted Lib Dem as a result of the party's misrepresentation of statistics. This is a dishonest way to gain votes.

Exactly the same tactic is now being followed in advance of the 2010 general election.

If the Lib Dems stand by their reasoning that local elections are the "most recent expression of voting intention", why do they try to hide where the figures come from?

The only thing that we can be sure of is that local election results are not predictors of voting patterns in general elections and it is dishonest to suggest that they are. Nothing that has happened in the last five years is going to suddenly and miraculously make this true, no matter how much the Lib Dems want it to be.

Distrustful as I now am of the St Albans Lib Dems, I looked to see if I could find evidence that commentators in The Guardian, Observer and Daily Mirror had indeed said they were likely to gain the seat, as Doug claims.

Unfortunately, The Observer and Daily Mirror don't seem to have said anything about the matter. The Guardian has said that Lib Dem "strategists are confident of their ability to win St Albans", but this is markedly different from calling it a likely Lib Dem gain.

So it appears that the Lib Dems are misrepresenting national press coverage to counteract claims that they are misrepresenting election statistics. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised.

CHRIS BRACE

Folly Avenue, St Albans

SIR - Doug Leedham and the rest of the St Albans Liberal Democrat Party obviously want to delude themselves with their usage of inappropriate statistics in their general election campaign.

Many St Albans residents have shown in the past that they prefer to vote differently in local elections than in general elections, the Lib Dems benefitting in local elections and the Tories or Labour in the General Elections.

I find his comments that the local Labour Party is "moribund" arrogant and patronising. I ask any resident to look at the St Albans Labour Party website to see what is being done locally. Can I also remind Mr Leedham that the Liberal Democrat party has been a political irrelevance in the UK since the days of Lloyd George.

D BENSON

Address supplied


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