The other day on the morning commute, I was handed a leaflet outside the train station for Herts Passenger Power. It had a picture of a big season ticket on the front (Price: £Lots) and a freepost address for one Katherine Chibah. It provided a link to their website and urged people to sign up online.
Reading it through, it had no mention of a political party.
Good! I’m all for a genuine grassroots group that wants to do something about the trains.
Hang on, what’s this in the small print at the bottom:
“Printed and published by Mark Walker on behalf of Katherine Chibah and the Labour Party”
Hmm, isn’t that a bit ...well.. underhand?
Similarly the website doesn’t say it’s not an independent campaign except for a section all about our Katherine that tells us “Katherine, who is the Labour candidate for Hertford and Stortford, has supported the campaign from the throughout.” (sic)
...and the section for the campaign video (featuring one K. Chibah) tells us “Labour Candidate for Hertford and Stortford, Katherine Chibah, is supporting the campaign”.
In the video itself, she tells us:
"I’m really pleased to have been asked to lead this community campaign"
Ah well, maybe she has just been asked to support this long-standing independent campaign, I’ll have a quick look at who registered the site and when:
Oh, where have I heard of this Mark Walker before?
On her own website, Katherine tells us, in an update published by one "Mark" on 31st December (well there's always a lull between Christmas and New Year):
"It's been great to be asked to support the Hertfordshire Passenger Power campaign"
Having said all that, when I animatedly told Mrs. L all this, her reaction was: "meh".