LibDem FreeSheet Review

Just after promising to only do one non-food blog every 30 months, the LibDems post a freesheet through my door that is so bad I just can’t stop myself.

A series of omissions, half-truths, outright falsification and unsupported statements, I have to share it with you.
So here’s the front page, cleverly mocked up to look like a proper newspaper.
LibDem Page 1

I can’t say I’d heard of the Ceredigion Herald before, but look at that unequivocal headline – “Mark Williams Set To Win!”
And what evidence is presented for this?
Wait, just above this confident claim, it says “Mark Williams edges ahead”.
Ah-ha, they MUST have evidence for that claim – maybe an opinion poll?
Err, no again. “More and more local people are getting behind the man with blah blah”. Evidence?

In real life, Mark Williams was a teacher. Imagine handing in an essay with unsupported fact, unsubstantiated rumours, and omission.
“I will fight tirelessly to protect local health services”.
Great, but why is such a fight necessary? Oh yes, because the government Mark supports has cut public spending, including the grants to the Welsh Government who pay for the local health services he cares so much about.

And I nicked this off of the Twitter* – look how similar the front pages are to Montgomery’s freesheet:
QuotesThat’s a coincidence, isn’t it?
Marvel at how the front page is the same in both papers, with just the names of the candidates and constituencies changed.
Direct quotes used, yet Jamie is a real person who has been paraphrased.
He is actually full of praise for the work Mark Williams has done for him, but you wouldn’t know that from this.
Indeed, you wouldn’t know that Mark Williams has been an MP for ten years from this.
More stories about real things he has done for real people like Jamie would have made a far more persuasive read.

The next page makes the point that Plaid are the main competition,
LibDem Page 2But it’s pretty dull fare.
I’m not sure Plaid do want Wales to leave the UK (unfortunately) nor am I sure that claims of a stronger economy hold water (unless you are super-rich).
Most people are only just getting back to the levels of 2009, and haven’t most prices risen a lot since then?
Mark Williams supports Austerity, a successful plan to hammer the poor while making the rich richer.
(Evidence – link to recent article by Nobel Prize winner: Austerity Delusion)

But what do the real, local people think?
There are three voxpops at the bottom of the page.
Mair Benjamin provides a nice quote about local LibDems, as well she might, having been a LibDem councillor herself.
Liam Clements’s Twitter feed is all about the LibDems, so hardly unbiased there either.
I couldn’t link Elwyn Richards to the Libdems in ten seconds, so gave up. Maybe he is a normal person “rallying behind Welsh Lib Democrats”.

The final page is quite alarming.
LibDem Paper 3

Who is that stern-looking lady, and why is she so cross?
Is she coming round to shout at me? Does she support Mark Williams?
It isn’t Arianna Huffington, or the person who wrote the article, so what is she doing there?
The article ends “all eyes would be on that progressive alliance to sway the result of any important bills.“, which shows the author wants to have it both ways. (It’s quite a poor article – have a look.)

The revelation that Plaid will have no influence is rich, as Mark Williams, lovely though he is, clearly has no influence either.

He agrees he has voted with the government 97% of the time, but points out much of this was procedural stuff, or things he supported.
” … and where I didn’t agree (e.g. bedroom tax, tuition fees) I rebelled”  he says.
Fair enough, but raising the tuition fees to £9,000 happened, as did the Bedroom Tax.
So he is as impotent as Plaid.

After a half-hearted attempt to repeat the claim Plaid want to exit the UK (they don’t, the cowards!) we move to what looks like an opinion poll.
There’s a bar chart, and I see “Plaid support collapsing” and “too close to call”
And in tiny text an admission that is a graph for 2010 in “many parts of Wales”!
Which parts of Wales is that? And hasn’t a lot changed since then? Isn’t this clearly just made up?
More unsubstantiated claims dressed up as facts.

Very poor indeed. I suppose it isn’t lying, or is it?

We can tell that they are worried about Plaid, and feel the need to imagine a huge surge of popular support. But is this the way to get it?

None of this really matters, of course.
It will cheer Plaid activists to see the LibDems so panicked, but won’t change the result.
That’s the students’ job.
The students helped Mr Williams win in 2010, when the firm LibDem promise not to increase tuition fees would have sounded very attractive.
There 7,500 of them, many paying £6,000 a year more in fees because of the LibDems. Actual evidence shows they’re going to be less supportive this time.

Mark’s a nice enough bloke, who doesn’t really deserve the kicking his party are about to get.
But disingenuous marketing hardly marks him out as an honest man in a murky business.

* Freesheet comparison photo from Mike Parker’s Twitter feed.
Next time one of his propaganda’s come through, maybe we’ll have a look at that.
And then maybe sometime I’ll review a restaurant, or something.

** 30 April Post Script – Nice Article From The Guardian Highlighting Many of the Mistakes Made Here **


3 thoughts on “LibDem FreeSheet Review”

  1. The Brecon and Radnorshire Courier landed on my doorstep last week, trotting out the same old “it’s (insert candidate name here) or the Conservatives. I wonder if the stories match up. Front page this time: Kirsty Williams, Brecon and Radnorshire’s Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly member, has won a huge victory for nurses and patients across Wales.” Etc. Second page she’s always been a woman on a mission.

    If yours is similar, contact me by email and I’ll take photos of it.

    1. Well – I called that wrong.
      I’ll keep my Mystical predictions to myself in future.
      Mark Williams had a great result – I spoke to many people who praised him as a constituency MP and that trumped the national trend.
      No idea why Plaid had such a bad result.

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