Here we go, the Tories are charging up the negative campaign, and subtly displaying their interest in bear-baiting and other blood sports.
So much for Dave's 2005 claim to "Put an end to Punch and Judy politics"
However, it looks as if Dave's researchers have let him down. Again.
Far be it from me to defend Labour, but it is by no means clear that the Gordron has increased the gap between rich and poor.
There were BBC reports in 2008 that the rich poor gap (RPG) had increased since 1997, but in the required-reading-for-all Spirit Level book, there is a slide that shows that the RPG (rich-poor gap) has in fact lessened under Gordon's chancellorship.
Run this slide show through to no 33:
The Spirit Level - slides from The Equality Trust
It does show a slight decline in the RPG. Not a lot, and a nasty little uptick at the end, but nevertheless, is has come down, and it is certainly better than the disgusting sight of the rapidly widening gap under Thatcher, who, some readers may remember, was a leading member of Dave's Conservatives.
There is other data showing how pathetically marginal Labour's efforts have been, and how they have pandered to the rich, (cf. Lord Mandelson of Sith: "I am intensely relaxed about people getting intensely rich"). Here is a PPT from the IFS, and the last slides do show a re-distributive effect.
Here's the Office of National Statistics take on the matter:
Income inequality narrowed slightly in the early 1990s, widening again in the late 1990s. It narrowed again between 2001/02 and 2004/05, only to widen once more between 2004/05 and 2006/07.
This makes it sound like a description of someone learning the accordion.
The Conservative posters assert that Gordron increased the gap between rich and poor. The evidence does not back this up. It is unclear, and the bean counters would have to wade in and do weightings and disaggregations and all the things that bean counters do, which is fine in theory, but they have more important things to do, such as lunch with their bank managers.
In the end, the Tory are asserting as fact something that is a matter for debate. Their advertisement have got it wrong.
Will Labour have the nous to complain? I doubt it. The thing about Labour politicians is that they are not really very aware of what is going on, and if they are aware of the problems with this Conservative campaign, they will probably send it to committee, to report on May 9th.
So it is up to those of us whose bitter disappointment with NuLabour is only exceeded by our dread of an overall majority for Double Dip Dave to take action.
I find that the Advertising Standards Authority does not have a remit over political advertising, and, with a sinking heart, we learn that it goes to the Electoral Commission, 0207 271 0500. The Information officer's voice mail box has my number, and will ring back, hopefully some time before May 8th. (He didn't: but I rang back, and this is what they said).
It will take a lot of pressure to get them to make the Tories pull this advert, but it must be done, for the sake of the peace prosperity and security of the country and indeed the world, because the Tories are stuffed with climate change deniers, will increase the RPG, and support FPTP 100%*.
Do not expect Labour to thank you for defending them and defeating the Tory menace. When I was on Woodspring District Council, the Tories were making a particularly vicious attack on the Poor Old Labour group, who were sitting in a line, silent, like a tray of seed potatoes, chittin. So I got up to defend them. Afterwards, the leader of the Labour group came up and warned me quite emphatically never to defend his party again. But here we go again, Silver Surfer Green defending the ingrate weak and vulnerable old NuLabour.
*as opposed to the 95% support offered by NuLabour.