Peter Hoskin

Dirtier tactics

Dirtier tactics
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I think we all expected this election campaign to be fought a few inches below the belt.  But, as Iain Dale and Dizzy say, Labour's tactic of mailing scaremongering leaflets to cancer sufferers is some new kind of low.  I mean, just imagine how it would feel to receive, as a cancer patient or an immediate family member, a leaflet which politicises the problem to the point of suggesting that your care would be jeapordised by voting for another party.  And then imagine how it would feel if you have been specifically targeted because of your connections with the illness, as seems to have been the case here.  Well, it defies belief that this is how the party of government is going about "restoring trust in our broken politics," or whatever they say.  This goes well beyond any acceptable level of campaign rough and tumble.

Labour now, of course, have questions to answer about how they've targetted cancer sufferers with this campaign.  So far, they claim that they've used public data in a kind of scattershot approach – but Dizzy points out in a second update to his post that there may be "more to this than meets the eye".  And then there's the case of Diane Dwelly, a breast cancer survivor, whose image and words are used on the leaflet.  As the Times puts it:

"This weekend Dwelly, 48, from Rugby, admitted she had 'probably been used by Labour'. She believed her photograph had been taken for use in a magazine for the National Health Service, not as part of Labour’s election campaign."

If so, then this story has a while left to run yet.  And, at the very least, it's unlikely that these leaflets will cross any more letterboxes for the rest of the campaign.