The Liberal Democrats in Montgomeryshire are currently distributing a 'newspaper' which they call 'Montgomeryshire Mail'. Normally, I don't read other party's promotional material, but I was advised to read this. I was both surprised and disappointed by what I read. This 'newspaper' has been written without any sense of political integrity, or even decency. It is based on an attempt to deceive the reader.
The Montgomeryshire Conservatives are just about to begin distribution of a major promotional 'magazine' of our own. I've been involved in approving the text and photographs. Standard policy for us is not to include any photograph without the express permission of every individual in it. Several good photographs were ruled out. The Montgomeryshire Lib Dems totally ignore this basic principle. There's even a photograph of me in it! Two thirds of the front page is taken up with a photograph of a march in Llanidloes, where the local MP and AM are portraying themselves as leading what was a locally organised campaign. There are perhaps 100 local Llanidloes campaigners who have been used as political extras. I've talked to Llanidloes people who resent this. It may be legal, but its just not right.
The other third of the front page is based on comments by Shrewsbury's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski concerning flood control in the Severn Valley. I've no argument with this, if they want to base their campaigning on attacking others. But the article includes the words "Kawczynski, a good friend of the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Montgomeryshire, said....described the farmland as mere scrubland." The clear intent is to create the impression that I take the same opinion as that credited to Daniel, who was quite upset when I let him know what had been written. The Lib Dems know this not to be true. They have used words that are not 'lying' but are deliberately designed to deceive. Those who wrote it, and approved it are deceitful people.
Over the page there is another headline which reads 'Assembly EID sheep-tagging DISGRACE'. Its important to understand the background. Every political party in the National Assembly opposed EID, a new electronic tagging system for identifying sheep. All worked together, with the farming unions to resist this crazy system. The Plaid Minister, Elin Jones has fought extremely hard. But the EU has been totally intransigent. In the end there was no alternative but for the Minister to agree. The farming unions understood this. Even the UK representative of Livestock Markets, who opened the new Livestock Market at Welshpool last Friday accepted the inevitability in his speech. In considering this issue, all Assembly Members know that the EU has the power to stop the Single Farm Payment. Mick Bates would have been involved in every discussion. He knows all this. He knows that in the National Assembly, no-one did more than Elin Jones, the Minister or Conservative AM, Brynle Williams. Yet, this 'newspaper' seeks to create the impression that it was only the Lib Dems who opposed EID. Again, there are no outright lies - just an attempt to deceive. Those who wrote this article, and those who approved it are deceitful people.
This particular issue of the Montgomeryshire Mail is an example of the very worst sort of politics - the sort that abandons decency and integrity. In my opinion it debases politics. Please someone tell me if I ever descend into behaving in anything like this deceitful way.