May 4, 2010
Remember "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"? When Senator John Kerrey was the Democrat candidate for US President in 2004, and he had a heroic war record as a decorated Vietnam veteran, his enemies undermined him by claiming that he hadn't really served heroically after all. It was all utter garbage, and "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" was the group behind the "attack ads" making the false claims about the candidate. American electoral law allows people unconnected to a political party to produce adverts attacking a politician; in other words, the Republicans obviously benefited from these ads attacking their Democrat opponent, but the ads were not themselves paid for or produced by the Republican party. It's a great way to carry out dirty tricks without leaving your own party's fingerprints on them; in other words, it stinks, it's one of the things that's most wrong with American politics, and we don't want it over here. Well, here's the bad news: American-style attack ads, attacking one party but not paid for by an opposing party, have arrived in Britain. Take a look at this nasty video attacking Ed Balls: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/31346/ed-balls-nazi-costume-attacked-v.... Classic American-style negativity of the "How well do you really know Ed Balls..." variety. Look, I don't know Mr Balls personally and he's not in my party. I hope that the Liberal Democrat candidate wins in Mr Balls' constituency. But this is a very, very bad development for British politics. I hope the Mr Balls' Conservative opponent disowns this video.