I realise I’m coming to this very late, but I’ve been busy. My first reaction when I heard that Labour had been allegedly caught out fixing postal votes in the Gipton and Harehills Ward in Leeds was “Harehills? Again?”. I’m amazed they’ve apparently been caught out doing this in a ward where their political rivals already consider them to have form. As well as being criminal, it would be surprisingly stupid.
In 2000-2002 I was campaign organiser for the Leeds Lib Dems. One of my abiding memories of that period were the increasingly bizarre stories coming out of the then-Harehills Ward. Maybe I’ll dig up the scan I have knocking about of the leaflet they were putting out in white areas about our Asian candidate at some point.
What shocked me most about the whole affair was how blase Leeds Labour were about it all. I remember in particular that the reaction from the Labour students was particularly complacent.
The most interesting thing about the Times sting for me therefore is the fact that Labour was apparently using students to do their dirty work. It makes me wonder if this is a new tactic, or whether its been standard practice for years. If the latter, then quite a lot of people, some of whom have gone on to do bigger and better things in the Labour Party, are now implicated.
It would be very interesting to see what those Labour students who reacted with a ‘so what?’ in 2002 have to say about this latest development.