I am writing to express my outrage at the latest Conservative Party electioneering leaflet designed to look like an official document that came by post addressed personally to me over the weekend.
I’m not sure how many people have received this or whether it is targeted at particular postcodes and/or in marginal constituencies.
The letter is headed Rt Hon George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and is signed by him. It purports to be sending the ‘good news’ about the recent pensioner bonds for the over 65s, which you might think was a Coalition decision – but is seen here to be George Osborn’s alone. Unless you look at the tiny writing at the bottom of the first and second pages, you would not know that this is from the Conservative Party, especially as accompanying the letter is a business reply pre-paid envelope addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Overleaf, laid out like a government survey, information is requested about interest in savings bonds, contact details, age, past voting habits and voting intention in May.
Tiny print at the bottom of the second page reveals that the information provided ‘will be retained by the Conservative Party’ to facilitate ‘our operation as a political party’, and for contact purposes ‘by telephone, text or other means’ without need for further permission even if registered by Telephone Preference Service.
The letter clearly by-passes local election funding limits by not mentioning the local candidate by name - so it is probably legal. It is clearly targeting older voters, many with poorer eye-sight, who may not be able to read the tiny writing about party political origins or who may be convinced that this is indeed an official form to which they have to respond.
I have returned the letter sent to me, not filled in, with a comment about my disgust as this attempted scam on older people. I suggest that others do the same.
Labour Party candidate for Lewes Town and District