Thursday, 30 June 2011

What if the campaign is delegitimised after the result ?

When voting on a break between countries, that is too permanent and serious to expect you can undo the result if it loses its legitimacy at a later time because one side's campaign gets shown to have majored on a lie.

"* That if, either during polling hours or after them, the winning side lets it be known, either voluntarily or by an admission under questioning, that one of the factual claims made in their campaign, against the other side's position, had been false, then the result should not stand as valid. "
is what I lobbied to my MSPs after the AV referendum. It is vital for the independence one. Should we choose either way on it, as a result of factual claims made by the winning side that later get proved to be lies? How clear will Scotland's status be then, and how happy will you be with it?

Then make sure this proposed rule gets adopted. yes it reopens the legitimacy of the AV result too. Here is today's news from the Press Complaints Commission, from the AV campaign: the Daily Mail the Sun
had both reported that an organisation supporting the Yes campaign would profit from selling voting machines if they won. Yet the AV proposal never required voting machines. 8 weeks after the result it influenced, this report is now found to have been not true. i.e. - and another thing...PCC says the Chancellor lied for #No2AV

I think Andy May who posted this here on another Lib Dem blog, wants to spread the message and will be happy to have this quoted:
" Let’s just think about the context in which this fallacious claim was printed:
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up and makes false claims designed to damage the credibility of the Yes campaign at a point in mid-April when the campaigns were running neck and neck in the polls.
  • 2 newspapers with a combined daily circulation of 6 million reprint these controversial claims several days before the postal vote ballots drop and give no right of reply to the organisation involved.
  • A central plank of the No2AV campaign was the £250 million claim which, as David Blunkett later admitted, was also made up. The Sun and Mail took the lie one stage further, making it appear that not only did AV cost the taxpayer large sums of money but that the Yes campaigners were being made rich out of it. All totally false.
  • Polling day is May 5 yet the Press Complaints Commission takes nearly 2 months to rule against the papers despite the impact of their false claims potentially affecting the referendum vote of millions of people.
  • Despite the original prominence of the stories on page 2 of the sun and the front page of the Mail, 2 short letters are the only required retraction.

This case and plenty of others like it in the referendum and the last general election highlight a huge imbalance in election media coverage between broadcast, which has strict balance guidelines and print which has no balance guidelines and near impunity when it comes to what they can print. Not only can print journalists take an angle on a story and decide whether or not the target individual or organisation has a right to reply, they can get away with repeating false or dubious claims safe in the knowledge the PCC will do little or nothing about it.

The PCC is toothless, stuffed full of self interested journalists and so weak it is unable to stop unscrupulous party hacks and biased journalists and editors misleading their readership on serious political issues.

What does this example actually demonstrate? That there was collusion between press and politicians to repeatedly mislead the public over a crucial constitutional issue to secure their own power base through illegitimate means. "

Both sides' plans for our next referendum will need to sound less corrupt than this.

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