Today in my own ward in Liverpool, and presumably in other parts of Liverpool as well, the Labour Party have been distributing a leaflet which is a tissue of lies. It is aimed at the elderly and is designed to upset and alarm people who we should be respecting and supporting. More of the details later.
Two things were clear about the leaflet. The first is that it says not one thing about Liverpool. Whilst we are trying to fight an election about the future of our great city the Labour Party are distributing a leaflet about three things that the mayor could do nothing about. The second is that the leaflet does not once mention their Mayoral (or indeed any other candidate).
I think that there are good reasons for this:
- The majority of people tell me two things when discussing Liverpool wide as distinct to neighbourhood issues:
- That they do not want an elected mayor and that if there was to be an elected mayor it should have been the people that chose to make the move in a referendum not a small cabal in the Labour Party
- They do not like the deal that Joe has got from the Government. People understand that Manchester and Leeds got 10 times as much as Liverpool and did not have to make a pledge to have an elected mayor either.
- 2. Just like Ed Milliband Joe is not as popular as his Party. I quite like the bloke but out there is a lot of antipathy to Cllr Anderson.
So as they cannot say anything about Liverpool or Cllr Anderson which strikes a chord with the people of Liverpool they choose to attack the elderly and try and confuse them so let me deal with their three issues:
- Liberal Democrats intend to cut bus passes. UNTRUE. The Government has made clear that bus passes are secure at least for the next 5 years and that they have no intention of doing anything after that period either.
- The Granny Tax will leave pensioners worse off. UNTRUE. For the past few years pensioners have rightly had a tax allowance on top of those given to other poor people on similar incomes because of their age difficulties. Now all poor people are being given the same allowance as Lib Dem initiatives take 1.4 million people out of paying tax altogether and leave 26,000,000 people better off through tax changes
- Winter fuel payment slashed. MOSTLY UNTRUE. Of course there have to be adjustments in some elements of spending but the winter fuel allowance is basically safe and its need recognised
And of course they forget or chose not to tell the biggest thing about pensions of all. The fact that for 25 years, 13 OF THEM UNDER A LABOUR GOVERNMENT, pensioners got progressively worse off than workers as Labour refused to index pensions to wages. Now that will NEVER happen again. A triple lock will mean that pensions will never again lag behind and indeed for this and the last year pensions have risen faster than wages.
So why all the strident lying? Well seasoned observers have noted that this all started when the postal ballot papers started to be opened. I don’t know what is happening there and it would be illegal for me to tell you if I did but perhaps the votes are corresponding to the canvassing. Joe is not getting the coronation that he deserved and the 63% they got last year is indeed an artificial high. Now they are once again having to fight the Lib Dems for every vote needed across the whole city.
On May 4th we will know. But I am sickened by what has happened to the Labour party in the past few days. Until now the election had been about concepts, ideas and the future. Once again Labour has tried, as they have done so many times before, to put the politics of Liverpool into the gutter. Shame on them. The people of Liverpool are watching what they are doing and are telling me so.