23 February 2012

Lib Dem candidate invokes Godwin's Law in fundraising letter

Godwin's Law is the internet rule that means anyone raising the spectre of the nazis or fascists as part of an internet debate is automatically deemed to have lost that debate.

So I am somewhat saddened to have received the following missive this morning:
When the votes are counted on Friday 4 May, it'll take only a small change in votes from last time to defeat the BNP and elect myself to the London Assembly. To make that happen and kick the BNP off the GLA we need to raise more funds for our campaign.

It will only take a small increase in the Liberal Democrat list to elect myself - and to push the BNP below the threshold for winning a seat. Any donation you can make really could make the difference between having a racist member of the BNP on the GLA - or myself, a Asian muslim woman who grew up in Tooting and has lived in London for decades.

Please help make this happen and donate today.

Thank you,

Shas Sheehan, Lib Dem London List candidate

Two things strike me. One is the almost 80s trot/Livingstonite highlighting of who she is rather than what she has done and second the somewhat unusual tactics of the message. The collapse of the BNP vote is highly unlikely to elect any more Lib Dems in London. To avoid the same fate as the BNP the Lib Dems need their candidates to come up with strong campaigns and clear messages about why they are different and their voices are needed on the London Assembly.

Sadly if this is the sort of thing the London campaign comes up with it will be a case of how many seats the party loses, rather than how many additional members are returned.


  1. That's not really "Godwin's Law". It simply states that the longer a discussion goes on, the closer to one becomes the probability that someone will make a comparison with Hitler/Nazis etc.

  2. Interestingly, Neil Stockley comes to the exact opposite conclusion:


  3. It's not a bad message, but, 'elect myself'? Really!

  4. It's not really a campaign message - it's just a means of frightening the recipient into parting with some cash.

  5. Anon 1 - there's a reason why Neil Stockley was the party's director of policy, not campaigns...

  6. Thank you Jock Coats. If Godwin's "law" really prohibited all mention of one of the most significant political movements in history it would be pretty ridiculous form of censorship. Sadly many ridiculous people do interpret it that way which is a worry as there is actually a lot to learn from the Nazi era.

    An appropriate use of Godwin’s “law” might be in response to “vegetarians are evil; Hitler was a vegetarian.”

    An inappropriate use would be in response to “X uses propaganda techniques pioneered by Goebbels and used to great effect to inflame racial tension in 1930s Germany.”