18 April 2010

The Liberal Democrats - an apology

Earlier in the week, I wrote of the Liberal Democrats' election literature, that it says "that 'in many areas' only the Lib Dems can beat Labour. It tries to give the impression that I am in one of those areas, without being so dishonest as to actually say so."

Possibly they were stung by my remarks into stepping up their dishonesty, because I got a leaflet yesterday claiming outright "It's a two horse race here - the Conservatives can't win in Luton South."

If I wanted to know about horse races, I would, as the Labour and Conservative parties did, look at what the bookmakers were saying, and they do indeed have the "can't win" Conservatives as odds-on favourites, and the Liberal Democrats as fourth-place outsiders, behind even Esther Rantzen.

I wouldn't criticise the LDs for claiming they have a chance when impartial observers say they don't, but when they claim that the odds-on favourites can't win - why should any intelligent observer believe a word they say about anyone else?

There is a slight moral conundrum. Tactical voting, like other coordination games, can exhibit self-fulfilling prophesies. If the Lib Dems can lie well enough that they are bound to beat the Conservatives, it would become true, as tactical anti-Labour voters who believed them would vote for them. So if they do come third or fourth, will their offence be that they lied, or that they didn't lie enough?

No comments: