Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bogus Tory Endorsements in Moray

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. However, that is not how independent Moray councillors Tom Bothwell and Ron Shepherd see the letters that Mary Scanlon, the Tory candidate in the Moray by election has been sending out.

These created letters allege to be from these independent voices on Moray council endorsing the Tory candidate to replace Margaret Ewing in the vote on the 27th. Cllr. Bothwell has told The Scotsman:

'I didn't write any of the things in the letter. It was the last two lines I really objected to.'

Those last two lines said that the councillors wanted the people to chose 'an honest and approachable bonnie fechter (translation: a game chicken)' for their wards and then saying that they were endorsing the Conservative candidate.

If the Conservatives, who were second in this seat last time out, cannot even use real endorsements and talk about real issues in their literature and are sinking this low in terms of literature their camp must really be running scared.

Mary Scanlon's office issued a retraction which only added to their woes:

'At no time did Councillor Bothwell infer or state that he was supporting the Conservative Party. In fact Councillor Bothwell insisted that he believed in voting 'for a person not a party' and also emphasised a community irrespective of political party.

'Councillor Bothwell was elected as an independent, with no political ties, and he strongly holds his independent views,'

So far this shows remorse, until they carry on to add salt to the wounds with:

'irrespective of supporting Mary Scanlon. He has endorsed Mary Scanlon because she has pledged to represent all views and issues in Moray.'

Considering that this is clearly not Councillor Bothwell's position some Tory spin doctor in Tory campaign HQ obviously couldn't avoid one final spin of that same record undoing the repairity work they appear to have set out to do.

As Alex Folkes of the Electoral Reform Society said:

'[These letters] are clearly deeply dishonest and, if nothing else, clearly the voters will be able to take their own view on this sort of activity. It is incredibly unwise, and I hope the voters will bear that in mind.'

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