LibDems: bribe kids with sweets for campaign help
No wonder they're in favour of votes at 16. The Liberal Democrat's latest campaign manual contains an outrageous piece of advice for candidates in the forthcoming elections advising them to dole out "badges and toffees" as incentives for any children on an estate to help hand out leaflets. I am staggered that the party can condone exploiting children in this manner at the same time as encouraging them to accept sweets from strangers. This bribery could, after all, be their first and formative experience of the political process. Sadly, it's just another example of shameless and cheap LibDem campaigning.
Previous editions of the same publication have exhorted candidates to "be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly", amongst other dubious practices, and yet the LibDem response still tries to take the moral highground. Apparently, "rather than launching negative attacks on our opponents, Liberal Democrats will be campaigning during these elections on the issues that matter to local people, such as the environment, Council Tax, crime and anti-social behaviour." They see nothing wrong with this. Then again, it will help them get elected. No more Kennedy, no more "hohnest politics" for the Liberals.
UPDATE: This aspect doesn't seem to be getting picked up in the wider media but there actually is some concern for the consequences of using children in this way. An earlier paragraph says that "if they [the children] are being used as part of an overall system of rounds, make sure their parents understand your needs, and that the children are observing them. (Yes, we have found 300 election leaflets in a litter bin at the local bus stop)." The only concern expressed about using and exploiting children in this way is that the LibDems themselves may lose out! Nothing to do with the children at all. Let's hope Mark Oaten didn't pioneer this technique...