Available for hire: Professional smilers

lynnefeatherstoneFRUSTRATING election leaflets from all political parties have featured on these pages over the years, so the Liberal Democrats should not feel unduly picked on. But Lynne Featherstone’s latest dispatch in Hornsey and Wood Green is a bit of a corker.

It’s pullout starting with a picture of her next to the re-located bus stop in Muswell Hill. This is a genuine local achievement because it means the less mobile no longer have to struggle halfway down the slope to get a bus. The uncharitable response from her opponents has been to nickname her the ‘Baroness of the W7 bus stop’ for her efforts.

More interesting, perhaps, is the decision to use a pulled tweet over the picture which exclaims that she is line to hold the constituency for the Liberal Democrats in May. Maybe she is, the battle is close. In the presentation, however, readers will not get a feel for the fact it was a forecast sent by @TweetUKElection, a handle no longer in use on Twittr. It looks to have been replaced by @Election_UK , which in the influence stakes has less than 1,000 followers. That’s not a crime in itself but the account has not so far explained in depth the maths or logic behind its constituency-by-constituency predictions.

Inside the leaflet, Lynne’s campaign claims she ‘led the campaign to save the Whittington A&E’, which is a boast that will not go down well with the volunteer campaigners who gave up so much spare time to stop services at the hospital in Archway from being closed. In claiming it was her gig, she also *cough cough* scrubs out all the work New Journal and Islington Tribune did on the campaign, for which we won two awards. In fact, there was such a people power, community feeling to the whole thing, it always feels a shame when a politician, on their own, claims to have been the prime leader. The same goes for any Labour politician who dares to take a singular credit for those campaigns.

The picture in this section, by the way, is so old that Lynne is standing next to Jo Shaw, the party’s former candidate in Holborn and St Pancras who quit in headline-stealing style by resigning live on the party conference stage.

But the page of Lynne’s leaflet which really catches the eye is the promise that the Liberal Democrats are delivering for pensioners and parents. The reports of extra free childcare and boosted pensions may be a fair call, but if the policies were causing such celebration in the constituency, where are the real life parents to tell us about it.

Not here. It doesn’t take too much internet research to reveal that the delighted clan in the Lib Dem letter are actors, posing for stock photography which anybody in the world can buy. Search BigStock for ‘happy family relaxing on the couch’ and there they are, a Jamie Oliver look-a-like and his beaming, beautiful brood of professional smilers, available for hire. 



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