Tuesday, 9 February 2010


THE LABOUR PARTY has been urging people to vote for them in breach of privacy rules, the information watchdog ruled today. They called 495,000 people, despite having agreed not to use unsolicited, automated telephone calls in the campaign.

People receiving the calls heard a message recorded by actress Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street, urging them to vote in the local and European elections last year.

Deputy Information Commissioner, David Smith, said that the calls could ‘cause annoyance and disruption’ to the recipients. He ordered the party to ensure that no further automated direct marketing calls be made without consent, and he warned that failure to comply would be a criminal offence that could lead to prosecution.

Mr Smith said: “The Information Commissioner’s Office has consistently made clear that the promotion of a political party counts as marketing. We have previously issued detailed guidance to all major political parties on this subject. The Labour Party has breached privacy rules by making automated calls to individuals who have not consented to receiving such calls.

“The fact that the calls were targeted at what were believed to be Labour-supporting areas confirmed our view that they were designed to promote the Labour Party’s electoral cause by encouraging Labour supporters to vote. Automated calls can cause annoyance and disruption, which is why it is so important for organisations making such calls to gain the consent of individuals.”

It has 28 days to appeal against the enforcement notice under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which the Labour Government itself brought in in 2003. A party spokesman said: “The Labour Party considered advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office prior to making these calls and believed that we had abided by this advice.

So it seems that they had agreed not to make this type of call, that it had been made clear that this type of call was marketing and that they had breached the rules despite clear advice which they had been given about their own privacy laws!.

You really couldn’t make this load of chancers up. We’d best prepare ourselves for a very nasty election campaign.


  1. I think they'll appeal, try and stretch it out till after the election and hope they win (or draw) then consider it money well spent.

    Personally I can't abide cold callers (door to door or telesales) so it would have been more likely to make me vote for anyone other than Labour.

  2. They stink on ice don't they.

    I hate cold calling too. I think almost everyone does. I can't for the life of me think why anyone does it. It seems guaranteed to annoy.

    But worst of all are automated calls with a recorded message. They can't even be bothered to get a real person to call you........ ARGHHHHHH

    Still, that's about that Labour thinks of people.

  3. A cold call from Nadine Dorries would be nice. Sitting in her warm bath with a glass of wine and lots of bubbles and oils. Pleading with me to help her to get elected. Promising me favours if I helped. I would delay telling her that I'm a UKIP man. Keep the deception going as long as possible.
    On a calmer note I have no problem with cold callers. I say please hold the line and I'll go and get the person they're after. Then leave the phone until the BT alarm sounds . They never call back. If I'm really bored I'll take the big clock off of the kitchen wall and sit the phone on top of it. Tick, tick, tick, tick for the cold calling tube to enjoy while he/she decides whether or not to hang up.

  4. Ahhhh.... Anon... now we know your fantasies, and you'd tell lies to get your evil way with that poor woman...

    Anyway it wasn't Nadine that was on offer mte, it was old Vera Duckworth.... Jeez you're easy pleased!

    Nice one with the cold callers though. Maybe you shoud try playing some Mozart on a kiddies xylophone as well. That's guaranteed to raise the blood pressure.

  5. I'd settle for Nadine Dorries too, but Vera is pushing the boat out a little no?

    Cold callers are rubbish, frankly I too can't believe firms think they work [do they? Anyone have sales stats?]

    Liebour...well this is just their kind of stunt isnt it? Piss of the very people they helped make unemployed by phoning them up..nothing like a little salt for those wounds..eh Comrade Brown!

  6. Tris
    Vera Duckworth ?
    Oh well any port in a storm I suppose.

  7. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksFebruary 10, 2010 2:16 am

    Interesting read Tris! Amazing that there are privacy laws in Britain which can control the type of telephone solicitation you describe.

    Here in the colonies, annoying phone calls were shielded for years as a first amendment, free speech issue. But finally, the public outcry produced federal and (often) state restrictions. Now, individuals can have their names enrolled on federal and (here in Missouri) state "no-call" lists. This prevents calls from commercial telemarketers.

    Sadly, the Congressmen and state legislators knew that restrictions on political speech could never fly. So the politicians and political parties still have free reign. And come election time (which is much of the time in the US), I get lots of recorded, computerized phone calls from politicians who I never hear from at any other time...including of course my own congressman and the occasional senator.

    Good that you folks have some recourse, thanks to an Information Commissioner who can rule that even political calls are causing "annoyance and disruption."

    And I'm not familiar with Liz Dawn, but I take it that, given the choice, I would prefer a call from one Nadine Dorries? :-)

  8. Danny:

    I seem to remember that we had a list that you could join and get no calls here too, but it must not have worked. Neither of course do the privacy laws. I still get sales calls from people who want to sell me double glazing, or a conservatory, or whatever. But it’s a long time since someone from a political party was stupid enough to call me.

    I deal with these calls differently, depending on my mood. I just put the phone down, of course, if it one of these automatic dial things, but if it’s a real live person I sometimes listen for a bit then speak fast French at them. That’s guaranteed to lose the average Brit who struggles with English. On a rare occasion I’ve actually been very rude... if I was woken up, for example. But then I feel guilty. The guys doing this are only trying to make a living in one of the most frustrating jobs in the world...

  9. Anon:

    I'm starting to get worried about you...

    There are ports and then there are ports.

  10. You would think, wouldn't you Dean, that someone would have worked out that only the very saddest loneliest people would be pleased to get an unsolicited call from a political party, especially if it's one that was pre recorded. The rest of us would just be pissed off.


  11. Labour's message:

    “Hello, this is Labour, we can't be bothered phoning you with a real live person, but we have this superannuated "actress", and we paid her to make a recording and we're playing this to you. Don't reply because she's not listening. Just like New Labour. Vote for us, we'll continue to treat you like dirt and not to listen.”

  12. Tris

    Vera must have a few bob so could show me a good time. Hang on. Isn't she from Blackburn or Accrington or somewhere. On second thoughts....

  13. Ahhh... it's a toy boy you want to be is it?

    I dunno where she's from but it's some where that they call "oup North", and the accent can be a tad grating...

    But like you say, she won't be a pauper after 50 years in Corry.....

  14. Anon the idea of Vera being anyones "oup north" is a strange, horrible thing..almost as bad my comment to Tris a few threats ago about "margaret thatcher naked on a cold night"

    as I say, frightening, jittery stuff!

  15. Dean: I'll thank you kindly never to mention that again. I had 3 sleepless nights because of it last time... and if the quality of my blogging deteriorates over the next few days as I stumble to my keyboard wearily, it will be your fault.

    So... that's an order..... No more naked Thatcher...OK :-)