By Anne-Marie O’Donnell
The Conservative Party has been ridiculed after eagle-eyed Scottish voters spotted the right-wing party had distributed duplicate anti-independence leaflets attributing word-for-word views to different party politicians.
The Wings Over Scotland politics blog published the various versions of the leaflet distributed around Scotland, in which Tory MP David Mundell (pictured), MSP John Lamont and Tory candidate Alexander Burnett all expressed exactly the same views and gave the same answers – word for word – to identical questions posed by allegedly different constituents.
In Mr Mundell’s leaflet, the story of why couple ‘Keith and Michelle’ will be voting No was featured in a family-friendly interview, although there was no mention that Keith is actually Conservative councillor Keith Cockburn.
Bizarrely, the exact same article was also printed in Conservative candidate Alexander Burnett’s constituency leaflet, except he and his wife Lavinia were the featured couple and were attributed identical quotes to the Cockburns.
On the Wings blog, poster JWil commented: “You would have thought that Mundell might have picked a genuine Tory supporting family, with no specific political responsibilities, for his endeavour.
“Is the only Tory MP in Scotland saying that he could only find this one family group from all of the people who voted for him? The Tories in Scotland really are in a worse state than we imagined.”
Another poster, Eric D, questioned why the replicated leaflets story had not been picked up by the Scottish mainstream media.
“The media would be in a frenzy if Yes Scotland had been caught doing this,” he wrote. “The bias sickens me, and I now see journalists and editors the same way I see those MPs exposed in the expenses scandals.
“The only different is that some of those MPs went to prison for lying and dishonesty. Those media hacks get away with it – or are promoted.”
The leaflets fiasco adds to a bad week for the anti-independence campaign after Yes Scotland countered claims carried in national newspapers that Better Together had been “inundated” with small donations since Alistair Darling appeared on a television debate with Alex Salmond.
A Yes Scotland spokesman said: “As the Financial Times reported recently, the No campaign is funded by ‘billionaire bankers, property companies and Conservative Party supporters’ – the very people who are least likely to support a fairer, more equal society in Scotland, and many of whom do not have a vote in the referendum.
“The snap post-TV debate poll showed support for Yes at 47 per cent and the First Minister won the debate by a margin of some three to one among undecided voters.”