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Tory leaflet accuses government of committing a “saga of atrocities”

Conservatives forced to withdraw opportunistic leaflet targeted at Muslim voters.

The Tories have been left red-faced this morning after being forced to withdraw a leaflet, targeted at Muslim voters, which claims that the British government is responsible for a "whole saga of atrocities" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In language reminiscent of George Galloway's Respect, the leaflet, distributed in Jack Straw's Blackburn constituency, also launches a crude and opportunistic attack on the Justice Secretary over his remarks on the veil.

It claims:

We should not forget that to day [sic] they are criticising our women's veil, tomorrow it will be our caps and our beards they will attack. What shall we do then? It is time to think before you vote.

The leaflet is perhaps most noteworthy for not making a single positive policy suggestion. Has David Cameron pledged to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan? Did the Tories do anything to prevent Israel's "inhuman killing" of men, women and children in Gaza? If the leaflet is intended to present the Tories as an anti-war party, it makes little sense.

If, however, it is simply intended to whip up tensions in the Muslim community in an attempt to "decapitate" Straw, then it makes perfect sense. This is electioneering of the most grubbby and cynical kind.

Were a Labour leaflet to suggest that British troops were responsible for a "saga of atrocities", it's not hard to imagine how the right-wing press would react. The Sun, for instance, would run a front-page splash accusing Labour of a grave insult to "our boys".

But can we expect to see such headlines tomorrow morning? Funnily enough, if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath.

UPDATE: A Conservative spokesman has emailed me to say: "We completely disown this unauthorised leaflet. It does not represent the party or the candidate in Blackburn."

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