Some political parties are really getting into the swing of sending me their election addresses. So thanks to Lis Burnett for sending through a Labour election leaflet for St. Augustine’s. The only parties not in on the fun now are Conservatives, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP. And I’m assuming that the Lib Dems and UKIP don’t actually have leaflets, and that the Green candidate has done enough already. So what have the Conservatives got to hide?
The latest offering comes from your Local Labour Team, from Labour/Llafur and Co-operative (I’ve yet to find out what the purpose of the Co-operative ‘Party’ is), the Labour Party, St. Augustine’s Labour and Penarth Labour. They seem to be taking the scattergun approach – use enough names and one of them will resonate with someone.
Someone they presumably weren’t hoping on eliciting resonance with might be the Electoral Commission. However, that’s exactly who would be most interested in noting the absence of ‘Printed by…’ on this leaflet, which is a legal requirement of all electoral material. Of course, we’re only seeing the proof version here; hopefully by the time it was printed, that detail was rectified.
Time to look at the content. Gwyn and Lis claim that their pledges “already demonstrate our commitment to local residents”. Actually, pledges do nothing of the sort – they’re a type of mini-manifesto on which the performance of elected politicians can be judged. But commitment to local residents is one thing that is likely to keep politicians in office – and I don’t mean to be cruel, but Lis was ousted in 2008.
Their pledges are now down to three, from the heady days of April 2012 when they had 12. A strong voice for St. Augustine’s, those celebrated Grime Fighters and re-introducing traffic wardens. Lis and Gwyn know that I have a much simpler suggestion to deal with the ‘problem of parking in Penarth’ which would actually raise revenue for the council. Hopefully traffic wardens as the solution to parking issues isn’t something they’ll be dogmatic about just because it’s one of their pledges, should they receive the blessing of the electorate next week.
I like the candidates’ approach to public services, with a commitment that residents be able to speak at scrutiny and planning meetings and some Cabinet meetings held in the evenings. I’m intrigued as to how much influence a Youth Mayor would have – and is this for Penarth or the Vale as a whole?
Lis is apparently Chair of the “welsh coalition for Social Enterprise”. I’ve looked around and can find no such organisation, but I have uncovered the Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition, of which Lis was recently voted Chair. It seems peculiar that someone with long involvement in this organisation – including becoming its Chair – hasn’t taken the time to verify its name.
I’m glad Lis and Gwyn have been ‘campaigning for the developent of community facilities’. Perhaps they can campaign for spellcheck on their computers next. But both these candidates have strong local connections, and there’s a nice, clear section detailing the myriad of ways in which they can be contacted.
Lis and Gwyn claim to have campaigned in favour of Pont-y-Werin, renovation of the Pier Pavilion and St. Paul’s Church, but it’s not a matter of public record so we have to take their word for it. One thing they are keen on, as with so many other candidates, is fighting. Whether it’s planning proposals, neglect, or just lack of a voice, they’re certainly in bellicose mood.
And talking of bellicose, I hear rumours that other candidates are a bit put out by the things Lis and Gwyn claim to have ‘delivered’. I have some sympathy with this – after all, it’s fine to say that you’ve campaigned in favour of these things, but it could be stretching things to claim ownership of delivery. Decisions on St. Paul’s Church, for example, were taken on 28 April 2010 and 29 February 2012 by the Vale Council (although Mark Wilson in on record as having raised St. Paul’s). ‘Gained agreement from Vale colleagues’ on the Pier Pavilion? Decisions were taken on this topic on 19 January 2011 and 20 July 2011 by Cabinet, which was necessarily comprised solely of Conservative Members. And ‘delivered Pont-y-Werin’? I’m not convinced that having Lis and Gwyn fighting was the crucial factor in delivery.
On design, this leaflet is, on the whole, well designed and attractive. They still haven’t taken note of the recommendations I made last time – such as the use of ‘sans serif’ font, making sure the font is consistent across the publication, evening out the spacing between lines… and sadly, the Welsh language is once more airbrushed from existence. Indeed, they even go as far as adding the unnecessary and cumbersome ‘Bridge’ after Pont-y-Werin. Note for people unable to speak Welsh, French, Catalan, or Latin: Pont means bridge.
Layout 8/10, Content 2/10