Well you can’t fault the Liberal Democrats for enthusiasm – they’re first out of the traps for what could be a long summer of pamphleteering. So it’s thanks to DW for scanning and sending me this missive from by-election hopeful Bablin Molik. It would be nice if Bablin could follow the lead of both Labour and Plaid in the council election and send me copies direct: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps they’ve just started to answer my question at the end of this post:
…we’ve seen astonishingly little activity from the Lib Dems in Penarth – they simply don’t seem to exist in town, and the evidence from May’s election proved the point. Yeah, sure, we get a bunch of Focus leaflets at every Welsh national and UK election, but just because Dominic Hannigan has posed at every Penarth landmark (note for future candidates, this means the pier and the clock roundabout) doesn’t mean he knows Dock Street from Marine Parade.
… Where on earth do they go from here?
It’s hats off to the Lib Dems for producing a leaflet with the sole focus on Penarth. I daresay it’s an approach that other parties might struggle to emulate.
But it’ll be interesting to see if they find enough material to fill more Penarth-specific leaflets considering that this one notes “Penarth residents have welcomed news”, “concerns raised by residents”, “residents are concerned”, “local people are rightly concerned” and “local people are rightly concerned” (a second time), but doesn’t give any evidence that Bablin has spoken to a single local person or resident. One might be forgiven for thinking that she’s struggled to find anyone willing to publicly commit their name to the Lib Dem cause in a town where they picked up votes from just 3% of the voters in May and its only candidates were from Barry and Llantwit Major.
On to the content. I must ask Bablin what it’s like to live in the future. Because according to her, “massive investment in mainline services [was] announced last year”. For my money, the announcement she’s referring to is this one, which wasn’t even last month. So it’s peculiar to hear her refer to local Lib Dems having secured “extra investment to lines throughout Penarth…” when that news was also announced on the same day, at the same time.
And she happily refers to “promises to improve mainline services [but] not a single mile of Welsh track was electrified during Labour’s 13 years in power”. Bablin, not a single mile of Welsh track has been electrified during the Lib Dem’s 2 years in power, or any years of Conservative government either, so don’t get on your high horse until the sparks start flying out over south Wales. Let’s bear in mind that commuter lines into London were electrified in the 1930s before singing the praises of Westminster. Wales has been at the bottom of the heap, in happy company with Moldova and Albania, for almost a century. And we’re supposed to be praising the UK Government for finally giving us a fraction of what we deserve?
I’m sure that Bablin would make a great local councillor, and she’s setting out her stall 5 years early by focusing on potholes. So while I admire her ambition – presumably to stand in Plymouth ward given her interest in Plymouth Road – it doesn’t make sense to be crouching in the gutter when road maintenance is entirely the preserve of the Vale of Glamorgan council.
“It’s Bablin or Labour”, apparently. I don’t appreciate being lied to in election material. Bablin is well aware that candidates for parties other than Labour have already been selected. I know that she, like all candidates, will try to portray it as a two-horse race. But don’t try to mislead the electorate.
Overleaf we have more issues (the LDP and ‘green spaces’) that are going to be filling our local councillors’ postbags but are entirely irrelevant to a prospective parliamentary candidate. Unless that candidate actually has no idea what an MP deals with.
Finally, squeezed into the corner, we have one relevant article highlighting the Lib Dems’ pledge to a zero income tax bracket up to £10,000. Unfortunately she states that it is “well on the way” to being achieved. Which begs the question: how will an extra Lib Dem voice help if it’s already on its way?
The layout is a bit confusing. We’ve got so many different fonts – colours, sizes, bold, italics… Bablin, you need to sort out the publishing department in Cardiff South and Penarth Lib Dems. That most local of parties, with an address outside the constituency…
The photos are a mixture of good (next to train) and awful (out of focus by the station with a mystery person shoved into the frame). It’s a shame that Bablin hasn’t had time to get more than four photos of herself in Penarth because she’s had to re-use one of them.
The Welsh language apparently hasn’t entered the Lib Dem thought processes. But then that’s hardly a huge surprise if you look at the phenomenal Welsh language provision here.
And as for contact details, we’ve got a contact address and phone number in Cardiff Central constituency, an email address and website. A website which, I notice, is available not only in Welsh but in Haitian Creole, Azerbaijani and Chinese (simplified). Technology’s great, but Google’s no substitute for a real person who speaks one of the official languages of Wales.
You can also follow Bablin on Twitter @BablinMolik, although strangely for an electoral candidate keen – presumably – to gather support, she doesn’t publicise that on the leaflet.
Layout 3/10, Content 2/10