Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Nuisance callers

Nuisance callers, we shouldn't tolerate them.

The Lib Dems agreed and even set up a website to explain to people how they could make a complaint and get the calls stopped. So far, so wonderful. In fact, was originally a redirect to the Lib Dem website:

You've got to love the wayback machine, haven't you? Strangely, the TPS pages are now missing from the Lib Dem website - I don't know why.

Who's the latest nuisance caller? Lib Dem leader Clegg of Clegg Hall. There's an interesting bit over on Iain Dale's site.
M'learned friend says:

From SNP v. Information Commissioner (Sean Connery calls case):

18. On 23rd February 2005 the Liberal Democrat Party launched a Stop Nuisance Calls Campaign on behalf of households registered with the TPS. The campaign was
targeted at the Conservative and Labour parties who were alleged to be planning to
ignore TPS registered numbers in an automated calling campaign.
22. On 1st April 2005, the London Evening Standard reported use of automated calling by the Labour Party. Around this date, the Liberal Democrats raised the issue of the automated calls with the Information Commissioner.
25. By letter dated 6th April 2005 to the Information Commissioner, the Liberal Democrats, alleged further evidence of breaches of the law by the SNP, the Labour
Party and the Conservative Party.
The SNP case was, I believe, the first time that the law had been tested in the political sphere and the party desisted as soon as the judgement was made.
Here's Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson pontificating back in 2005, and a Lib Dem in Bristol doing the same. A wee quote from the Lib Dem website in 2005:
Labour, Conservatives and the SNP have been flouting the rules - and they will continue to do so unless you help us put a stop to it. The Liberal Democrats will respect and champion the rights of consumers to block cold-calling.
Here's a screen-grab:
Here's what the Lib Dems said before they added the SNP bit in 2005:
The Telephone Preference Service exists to stop you receiving unsolicited and unwelcome calls to your home or mobile phone.
The Liberal Democrats respect the rights of an individual to opt-out of receiving cold-calling telephone calls, and we work hard to try and ensure we do not call TPS registered numbers unless the person being called has given us permission to ring them.
Labour and the Conservatives have been, and will continue to, flout the rules unless you help us put a stop to it. The Liberal Democrats will respect and champion the rights of consumers to block cold-calling.
Only if the Information Commissioner changes his previous advice would we even consider such telephone calls, and only then to ensure a level-playing field between all parties in the upcoming election.

Published and promoted by and on behalf of Liberal Democrats, 4 Cowley Street, London, SW1P 3NB. Hosted (printed) by NetBenefit, 11 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DP
who are not responsible for any of the contents of the site. Phone photograph
courtesy of Dania Lolah. Privacy Policy.
So has the Information Commissioner changed his previous advice? Nope, he repeated it on April 25th of this year. Specifically this bit:
The Regulations also forbid organisations from making wholly automated unsolicited marketing calls to individuals, unless consent has been given to receive such calls.

So when they were questioned on it today, did the Lib Dems show any sign of remorse, were they embarrassed, or did they promise to stick within the rules? Nope. Chris Rennard said that what they were doing was quite different to what the SNP did:
"In the same way as perhaps MORI or ICM or organisations such as that might ring people and ask them which issues concern them most and what are their views on those issues - that is exactly what we are doing."
"We want to hear from people and our prognosis of the government is it's out of touch and not listening and Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are a party who do want to listen to what people think."

Right, so;
The Lib Dems plan a 30-second message from Mr Clegg, followed by questions on education, health, tax, crime, environmental and economic policies.
The SNP had a 30-second message from Mr Connery, followed by questions on education, health, tax, crime, environmental and economic policies.

Other than who you would rather hear on the other end of the phone, can you spot a difference?

Lib Dems, eh? Go back to your constituencies and prepare for a phone call...


Anonymous said...

Its remarkable how often the Lib Dems and breathtaking duplicity go together...

David Gerard said...

The cold calling thing isn't "duplicity", more "suicidal stupidity." If they do it in marginal seats, I'm sure the voters will show their appreciation come polling day.