Lies, Damn Lies, And Conservative Electioneering

by richardhutton

David Cameron has a piece in the Independent today, discussing his party’s commitment to renewable energy, overseas aid, and eliminating child poverty.

In the first instance, the coalition government cut Green energy subsidies, and despite implying that most UK overseas aid is humanitarian, it’s not – it’s outlined in the section ‘Bilateral ODA spend by sector in 2013’ on page 36 in the Statistics on International Development published during October 2014: the bulk load is expenditure on health.

This takes the biscuit for shameless dishonesty, however:

At the same time as strengthening the economy, we’ve taken real steps to fight poverty. This has led to 600,000 adults and 300,000 children being taken out of relative poverty.

This is not because they escaped poverty; it’s because they entered absolute poverty. The Guardian reported on this last year: “600,000 people sank into absolute poverty”. Moreover, of these 600,000 people, 400-500,000 were disabled. This was outlined in the government’s own official statistics on household poverty.

The fact that 300,000 children sank into absolute poverty was also reported in a previous release of official statistics on household poverty:

“The percentage of children in absolute low income BHC increased by 2 percentage points, or 300,000 children, between 2010/11 and 2011/12”

So, Cameron did not merely oversee policies which increased poverty, he’s taking this very fact and in a fatuously disingenuous way, using it to pretend that poverty decreased.

Almost certainly of a piece, and at least as egregious, the disability activism charity Black Triangle Campaign have uploaded a letter on their Facebook page, which purports to be from the SNP to its supporters – urging them to vote Conservative. It appears to be not merely fake, however, but a piece of professional(ish) concern-trolling.

It says in its last paragraph:

“it is clear to us that any collaboration with the labour party would not work. So, in order to provide the SNP with the greatest chance of exerting real power in Westminster I must urge you to vote conservative, not SNP. We have sufficient SNP support already in your constituency”.

The signatory Hamish Mcleod appears not to exist; nor does an SNP department called ‘Strategy and Futures’.