I don’t know whether or not there’s zero activity in other wards in Penarth, but by jimminy, blog subscriber TW is keeping me abreast of developments in St. Augustine’s. If anyone has information on goings-on elsewhere I’d be very grateful to receive it (Penartharbyd[a]gmail.com).
And there’s a furious scuffle going on, with the third entry to the race being Anthony Slaughter. I’m sure the Conservative candidates will be delighted that someone else has an interest in fighting given how keen they both are on a good brawl. Like the Conservatives and much more impressively the Labour candidates, the Green Party isn’t too sure of its identity. Here we have Vale Green Party, Vale of Glamorgan Green Party, the Green Party, Cardiff & Vale Green Party, and, bizarrely, the document is printed and promoted by Cardiff Green Party.
And we’ve got a no-frills leaflet from a party that’s not famously associated with high-end production and splashy features. A quick tip though – free graphic design packages such as this one can do no end of good to an otherwise staid information leaflet. We’re not treated to anything other than information here, plus a photo that looks rather poor quality when reproduced and that would look more at home in a collection of Victorian memorabilia. So here’s my top tip to Anthony for next time – ask a friend with a half decent camera (not a camera phone) to take a photo of you with a nice smile and put a black (or green) border around it to make it stand out. Making a border is easy enough to do using the open source graphic design package I mentioned earlier.
Some people might think that content is all-important in political messaging. And of course, content is crucial. But producing something that looks attractive means that instead of someone being tempted to chuck your message – and all the hard work and expense that goes with it – straight into the recycling bin, they might actually read it. And if they read it, maybe they’ll lend you their vote. Now that’s got to be worth investing just that little bit of extra time and effort.
Rant over with, let’s get down to business. There’s really not an awful lot to say about design. I’m afraid it’s heading for a rather low score. Even the use of columns might have broken up the text enough so that the sentences are easy to scan. At least some of the articles are in boxes, which keeps them discrete.
On content, there’s a reasonable biography of Anthony, which tells us that he’s committed to Penarth and to sustainability. However, I’ve commented in one other post about making assertions – saying “he is very well known in the community” doesn’t make it so. Far better to let the reader infer that from the detail provided in the biography.
The Penarth Tree Forum sounds like a nice idea, although given the breadth of environmental challenges facing us in Penarth, I’m not sure it would be my choice for a prime slot in election material. It also sounds like the kind of thing that could happen through a group like Gwyrddio Penarth Greening rather than needing an elected voice to promote it.
The Beach Wardens also sound like a nice group. But again, is this really one of the main challenges we face, or is it something that the Greens think will go down well with the electorate? And the title ‘Green Party Beach Wardens’ is more than a little disingenuous and probably won’t go down too well with the Penarth Society. I’m also bemused by the claim that “litter is a main contributor” to the loss of 30,000 species per year. I don’t belittle litter as a costly public inconvenience in Penarth and in some places as a serious environmental problem, but I’m with the scientists who point the finger at climate change as the principal culprit for the slaughter of biodiversity. I’m sure Anthony would want everyone reading this blog to be reminded that far and away the main cause of climate change is burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.
The item on fracking is the only substantive piece in the leaflet, but the Greens have probably missed their target audience here. Given that Anthony is standing for election to represent the electorate of St. Augustine’s, an item relating directly to the ward would probably have been a better bet. Again, I know that fracking is an issue in the Vale of Glamorgan and I’m not decrying mentioning it – after all, the Green Party has been active on this issue for some time – but it’s an article that could probably have been briefer and allowed space for perhaps a non-environment article? This is particularly relevant given the assertion that the Green Party “is much more than… simply an environmental campaign group” and apparently has policies on “energy, the economy, health, education and more”. Just a thought.
Sadly, there’s not even a token word of Welsh on this leaflet. It could just as well be a leaflet aimed at the electorate of Penzance as Penarth. This isn’t altogether a surprise, because the Welsh Green Party is tortuously described as a ‘semi-autonomous political party within the Green Party of England and Wales’, which is a constitutional arrangement that makes the Government of Wales Act look neat and simple.
Layout 2/10, Content 4/10