I’m eternally grateful to the army of readers who furnish me with scanned copies of electoral material. But do I get every pamphlet sent through?
At the local authority elections in May I didn’t get any contributions from Sully, Plymouth or Stanwell wards. Did the candidates not produce any literature, or did I simply not get hold of what they produced? I’m still none the wiser – but it wasn’t great for democracy because readers of the blog living in those wards had no independent analysis of the election missives.
There’s another problem with relying exclusively on blog readers: often the quality of scanning just doesn’t capture the quality of the original publication.
At the local authority elections in May, Lis Burnett from Labour and Luke James and Osian Lewis from Plaid took the trouble to send me their electoral briefings either by pdf or as links to an online version.
So I’d like to extend that practice for the Penarth and Cardiff South by-election with an irresistible offer.
On sequential days running up to the by-election I will publish an election message from each candidate in the election. The election address should be no more than 500 words, and I will publish it unedited (provided it doesn’t include defamation, incitement to violence etc.). The order of publication will be in the same order as the ballot papers, so based on nominated candidates, this would be the running order:
- Stephen Doughty (Labour)
- Robert Griffiths (Communist)
- Andrew Jordan (Socialist Labour)
- Bablin Molik (Lib Dem)
- Luke Nicholas (Plaid)
- Craig Williams (Conservative)
For information, I will not publish an election address from the BNP should they manage to dredge up a candidate from somewhere.
The quid pro quo? You need to send me copies of your electoral material no later than 5 days after it arrives through people’s letter boxes. Electronic copies only, please, either as pdfs (penartharbyd[a]gmail.com) or as links to permanent copies online. Failure to send them through will automatically disqualify you from this irresistible offer. Those candidates who provide no electoral information are still eligible for the election address.
So why should you bother? Well, this blog received 237 hits on 4 May, so there’s a fairly active readership out there. I’d expect this to have increased come election day as the reach of the blog has extended over time.
And let’s be frank. If you opt out, you’re sending a clear message to the electorate that you don’t want your election material to be subject to independent scrutiny.
That doesn’t go down well with me, and I don’t think it will with them.