Many thanks to Plaid Cymru Cornerswell for biting the bullet and sending me their election literature direct. If other parties would follow their lead we’d soon have a comprehensive library of leaflets.
Osian Lewis and Luke James are the young Plaid hopefuls for Cornerswell ward, and their short biographies certainly reveal them to be local lads. The pledges are simple enough and for the first time we see genuine recognition of a bilingual Wales with full parity for both languages. Conservatives, Greens and Labour, take note.
A fully bilingual offer means that you need to be a bit cleverer about your use of space if you want to make sure the electorate is getting the information it needs. You might want to look at the Conservatives’ latest offer to see one way of getting more information into a space-constricted leaflet (not that theirs is perfect or the only way).
So while the council tax freeze is fairly self-explanatory, we’ve got no real idea how Osian and Luke will make sure there’s enough affordable housing for young people locally. Perhaps they need to look for inspiration towards places such as Islington, where there is a strategic target for 50% of all new housing to be affordable. Some developments in areas of affordable housing stress are now 100% affordable. Let’s face it, the only reason that developments such as Penarth Heights shouldn’t be substantially more than 20% affordable is if you feel for the hard-pressed developers (profit in 2009 £47.3M and with headquarters in down-at-heel Surrey) and think that they should be extracting more profit at the expense of people in Penarth.
Meanwhile, extension of business rate support is the purview of the Welsh Government, not local authorities, so it seems impotent to talk of “working with the Welsh Government to extend business rate support”. If the leadership of Plaid can’t persuade the Labour administration to adopt this, it seems unlikely that two additional councillors would swing the balance. Still, there’s nothing like ambition eh!
In design terms, the leaflet appears to be considerably more sophisticated than a standard ‘Word’ structure. The pictures are crisp, appropriate and bordered. I do wonder whether or not Rhuanedd Richards was strategically placed in order to make her appear the victim of a cartoon assault. Perhaps the picture was taken in Rhodri Morgan’s lounge.
The font is sans serif, which is good, but I can’t help feeling that a little more consistency in the font throughout the leaflet would be beneficial – particularly in the top half of the leaflet. I’d avoid underlining headlines and capitalisation. Osian’s biography in the English language side seems to be making a break for it – exit stage left – while on the Welsh language side, Luke’s is off kilter up north.
Another thing to watch out for on the Welsh side is hypenisation. As far as I’m aware most word processor programmes hyphenise in places that are appropriate for English words, not Welsh. Might be worth checking next time.
But given that this leaflet has two languages, the fact that there are only four names (Plaid, Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cornerswell and the Party of Wales) should cause some embarrassment to a few of the other parties.
Layout 7/10, Content 5/10.