Dead Men Left

Friday, April 29, 2005

New Labour smear operation: details

Previous smears and slanders from New Labour regarding Respect have been detailed on this site. The current episode is perhaps more serious than usual, involving what appears to be a direct lie and the shameless exploitation of an injured old man. Lenin has the details, which I'm going to reproduce in slightly edited form below. As he notes, no national newspaper has touched this shoddy story, leaving only the credulous oafs at Harry's Place and to run with it.

The Claims

Let's get the claims right, first of all. The story goes roughly as follows: The 69-year old Les Dobrovolski was approached in Poplar by Respect canvassers last Thursday, 21st April. When he refused to accept a leaflet and said he would never vote for George Galloway, he was followed by the group, who then attacked him near Spitalfields market. They pushed him to the floor, and one man stamped on the pensioner's hand before dropping a leaflet on him as he lay in agony - a trophy gesture. He was then taken by ambulance to the local hospital where he was x-rayed and given stitches. Harry's Place follows up with the sentence: "The police were informed of the attack and are currently investigating." Then a few pieties from Oona King.

The Facts

On Thursday 21st April, Les Dobrovolski told the police that he had been attacked, but there was no mention of him having been assaulted by Respect supporters or of any leaflet. The first time such a claim appeared anywhere was in the Labour Party's press-release. The police have confirmed, categorically, that no such claims were made to the police when Mr Dobrovolski was interviewed, and that they are not investigating the Respect party in connection with this. They issued it as a general statement to the press, which is why most papers did not touch it.

The claim that Mr Dobrovolski encountered Respect canvassers in Poplar is highly improbable, to say the least, since Poplar is not in the constituency being contested by George Galloway. There were no canvassers out there. The leaflet that was allegedly dropped on Mr Dobrovolski following the attack was still in the printers on the day of the attack, and was sent out as a postal drop - ie, sent by the printers directly to Royal Mail, and not to Respect leaders or canvassers. The earliest the leaflet could have been sent out was on Saturday's post.

This is quite staggering. As I said before: whatever your opinions of Respect and George Galloway, New Labour simply do not deserve to win here. Vote Respect; join the campaign, 10.30am Liverpool Street station, this Saturday, or call the office to help out.

Lenin concludes:

The tactics used by Labour in Bethnal Green & Bow are becoming dirtier and dirtier. They bear the signature of despair and are the hallmark of a party without any principle, and a campaign without any appeal.

(Update: Harry's Place are backpeddling. Perhaps they are recalling this trial.)

(Update two: The Times has been foolish enough to run with this, despite being informed of its dubious provenance.)