Birmingham, B29

Monday, 8 March 2010

Dawko goes electioneering ...

posted by birmingham b29
We've had our first election leaflet, from Nigel Dawkins, the local Conservative parliamentary candidate, and uploaded it to the excellent The Straight Choice website so you can also enjoy it.

We weren't expecting much, but this is pretty lame. He has focused on a single issue (Cadbury takeover) and managed to blame the Labour Party for the failure of his letter to Lord Mandelson preventing the takeover. It's also simply not true that Steven McCabe failed to support Cadbury: we imagine he felt as an MP he might be able to do more in Parliament than co-signing a Tory councillor's letter. Plus Dr Lynne Jones, our current MP, has been quite busy asking questions.

Also, it's not every day you get a Tory getting outraged about a free economy: apparently, Nigel will launch a "Let's Keep Manufacturing" campaign to "make it more difficult for our manufacturing companies ... to be taken over by foreign concerns". This might come as a surprise to Conservative head office, whose business policy contains the promise of "Reducing the burden of regulation", and whose whole microeconomic stance could never been summed up as protecting ordinary people against "banks, the shareholders, the city whizz kids". Plus anyone who can remember the Tory privatisation bonanza in the 80s might feel a bit sick at his accusation that Labour is pursuing a policy of "everything is for sale".

We imagine that Kraft might be a bit surprised at him borrowing Cadbury's trade mark too ....

Odd policy wonks aside, one thing really concerns us: Nigel's use of a graph to explain why you have to vote Tory in Selly Oak to get rid of Gordon Brown. Here's the offending "chart":
From b29

The only label is "recent polling results" - there's no indication of numbers, location, date, who carried it out, etc. etc.. Does he really expect voters to make a decision to vote for him on the basis of a ridiculously badly constructed graph? We have emailed him to ask him for the following info:
  1. when was the poll conducted?
  2. what were the raw data results? (We cannot see any numbers on the chart)
  3. where was the poll conducted?
  4. who was the poll conducted by?
  5. what was the poll methodology?


Nigel replied, saying that the chart was based on national polling figures, possibly from Jan. So, no figures, no provenance, but it's national polling figures, from earlier this year.

If you would like to see the wide range of national polling figures for yourselves over the past few months (actual data), here's a handy summary.

Frankly, we don't think Nigel's response is good enough. We replied saying "We think it's unusual to publish a chart with no figures or provenance, especially when your leaflet specifically implies that it was a local poll by using the text "only by voting Convervative in this constituency ..."". Perhaps they were not expecting people to actually look at the leaflet :).


He ended up getting a little snippy with us, saying that he thought it unusual to be contacted via email by someone without a name (we signed our email birminghamb29) and snail mail address. Is it? We noted that he doesn't put his own snail mail in his emails ....

So we replied:
"Does that mean you don't want to send us the figures? Or you would like to if we identified ourselves? We don't think we should have to identify ourselves directly when asking about your election leaflet." And asked again about the figures.

Nigel reiterated that the chart was drawn from national polling figures from Jan, of which there are loads. Looks like he doesn't want to share :(.

Oh, and just to be clear - this blog doesn't endorse any particular party. We're looking forward to receiving more leaflets from the other parties to pick apart :).

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