In Dundee the red and yellow posters of Labour and the fluorescent yellow of the SNP have been appearing over the last few weeks, a bit like the appearance of mushrooms in autumn. I’ve yet to see any other parties' posters, but then there are still 2½ weeks to go!
Posters are stuck in windows, in cars, and even in gardens on gallows-like wooden constructions, to show that the owner, occupant or driver supports whichever political party. How much good they do only the experts will be able to tell us, but the one thing they do do is keep canvassers from other parties away. It’s the brave door knocker who goes forth to try to convince a person, so committed that they have a poster for Party A in the window, that they should be voting for Party B.
So the story in today’s 'Courier and Advertiser’s' dead wood edition about posters being put up in people’s flats, seemingly without their permission, is particularly disturbing, in that not only is this a breach of tenancy agreements, but it also potentially deprives the tenant of the opportunity to receive literature, and canvassing calls from any other party.
Dundee University Product Design and Engineering student, Karen Kerr, who is a supporter of the SNP, returned home from an Easter break with her family, to find the flat that she rents from “Easylets” had Labour party posters attached to its balcony. She was, not unreasonably, furious, and her dad who had come to Dundee with her, took them down immediately. Karen says that she thinks all political posters are tacky and would never agree to having display them, regardless of party.
The flats are owned by a company in which the Labour candidate and current city councillor, Mohammed Asif, has an interest.
When the Courier asked Mr Asif to comment, he agreed that he had asked for the letting company to put up the posters in their flats, but with permission from the tenants; permission which Easylet says they have for Karen’s flat. However, both Karen and her flatmate deny that any such permission was given.
So we have impasse!
It will be interesting to see how this story develops; if there are other tenants who come forward with the same story, or if in fact there has been some misunderstanding somewhere along the line and permission was indeed given.
Labour must ensure that no jiggery pokery is employed in the putting up of posters, as must, of course, every other party. It is not only an affront to people’s privacy to enter their flats to display posters without their permission, it could be seen as hindering the right of the tenant to receive information from parties across the political spectrum.
We surely don’t want to be in a position in Scotland where it is necessary to get Jimmy Carter or the EU to come and supervise our elections. We should be mature enough to do this on our own.
Let's hope that we are.