An Irresistible Offer

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] 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.

22 o Sylwadau

Filed under Communist Party, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Socialist Labour Party, Westminster

22 responses to “An Irresistible Offer

  1. Kevin Mahoney

    Well you are ‘ the wiser’ as I’ve already pointed out in response to an earlier article by yourself.

    You appear to be most insistent that candidates are negligent in some way because they didn’t or don’t send in literature to a blog which I would imagine very few of them know exists.

    I myself stumbled across your blog simply by chance weeks after the May elections and having no problem sending anyone any of my election literature mentioned in ‘comments’ that I would be more than happy to send you (or anyone else for that matter) any future literature.

    You acknowledged my comments at the time so I find it difficult to understand why you mention being none the wiser?

    I’m surprised that you would unfairly assume that most candidates would even be aware of your blog and even more surprised that having not established whether they are aware of it continue to be most insistent that they appear to dodging the democratic process by not sending literature to a requestee that they have never heard of or know exists.

    As you are well aware all candidates have freely available contact details published at any election, why not contact them and let them know of your offer to publicise and analyse their literature instead of unfairly constantly continuing to criticise people who are in blissful ignorance that you are constantly referring to them and harping on about their lack of cooperation in your private hobby blog?

    Communication is after all a two way street isn’t it?


    Kevin Mahoney

  2. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for your comments. Maybe we’re dealing with semantics here, but your comment on the post “Committed to St. Augustine’s”, to which you refer, doesn’t actually say that you had election material. But let’s be reasonable and accept that you and Bob Penrose provided electoral messaging. That still leaves every candidate in every ward except the Plaid candidates in Cornerswell and the Labour, Green and Conservative candidates in St. Augustine’s. So I know that one ward was heavily contested by pamphlets but nothing else. I’m not knocking the candidates for not knowing about the blog. But as I say in the article, it’s not great for democracy because there’s no other political blog in Penarth that I know of – or indeed, no other online format that’s used for discussing the pros and cons of election material in Penarth. This site is interesting but it’s not really that useful for local politics.
    In terms of publicising my offer to publish material, maybe you should get a twitter account. Of all the published candidates so far for the election, I’ve let 6 of them know by twitter. When you get yourself set up, you’ll notice that each time you’re mentioned in an article, you get a tweet sent personally to you. How’s that for two-way communication!
    While I’ve got your attention, I don’t suppose you can provide any information on my hunch at the bottom of “Sully 2012”?

  3. Kevin Mahoney

    Thanks for your response.

    It’s good to know that you have made the candidates aware of the opportunity to publicise their views and election literature here.

    The rest is clearly up to them, I’ve no idea why anyone would not take up any offer of furthering the circulation of their literature and of course the opportunity to respond to any negative or indeed positive critiques that you or others may have of their leaflets or statements.

    I’m always happy to debate and eventually agree or disagree with anothers viewpoints.

    As to your other question, I will not be standing in the Cardiff South and Penarth bye election. I understand that a candidate has been identified and no doubt will be announced in due course.

    I will make him aware of your site and the opportunity to publicise his leaflet here, whether he does or not of course is then up to him and feel free to comment if nothing arrives…… as I’m sure that you will appreciate, I can only answer for my own actions or inaction, not those of others.


    Kevin Mahoney

  4. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for offering to signpost the UKIP candidate to this site. Given what I wrote under “Sully 2012” I’m a little surprised that you haven’t been selected. But I look forward to giving the candidate the same publicity opportunity as I will afford the other candidates.

  5. Kevin Mahoney

    I had no intention of standing to be honest, having contested the Vale of Glamorgan seat at both Welsh Assembly and General elections I’m quite happy to stick with there on a national level if required in future elections.


    Kevin Mahoney

  6. anthony2s

    A very good offer. The Green Party will be contesting the by election. The candidate will be announced on October 2nd following a ballot of local party members.
    Will keep you posted.
    Anthony Slaughter

    • Thanks Anthony. I’ve also had confirmation that Stephen Doughty, the Labour candidate, is keen to participate.
      Meanwhile there are whispers that the first Plaid leaflet of the campaign arrived on people’s doorsteps yesterday. By my reckoning, that gives Luke Nicholas until Tuesday to send in a pdf version. Tick tock…

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  8. Martin

    Come on David. I’m all for a reasonable debate about Plaid Cymru. But if you seriously know about Welsh politics and start your comment saying Plaid is fascist, then my conclusion is that you are trolling. And yes, i’m taking the bait. Plaid Cymru participates in the anti-fascist fronts like UAF and Searchlight; it has a strongly anti-racist record. Copying and pasting the “Wikipedia definition” of fascism, really? If you use the Wikipedia definition of Plaid Cymru it says civic nationalism! Civic nationalism means welcoming all creeds- the opposite of fascism! We can be better than this. Penarth ar Byd can host a discussion better than this.

  9. For the record, I’m with Martin and John. I don’t think there’s any benefit in using that sort of inflammatory language David. In any case, you selectively quoted from the Wikipedia definition. Here is a fuller excerpt:

    Fascism ( /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology.[1][2] Fascists seek to unify their nation based on commitment to an organic national community where its individuals are united together as one people through national identity.[3][4] The unity of the nation is to be based upon suprapersonal connections of ancestry and culture through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilization of the national community through discipline, indoctrination, physical training, and eugenics.[3][5] Fascism seeks to eradicate perceived foreign influences that are deemed to be causing degeneration of the nation or of not fitting into the national culture.[6]

    I don’t think that even Plaid’s most hardened political enemies would describe them as seeking a “totalitarian state” or seeking to “eradicate perceived foreign influences”. Plaid has had a long stance of internationalism that is completely counter to fascism.

  10. Most political parties have changed since the 1930s.

  11. John Davies

    Wikipedia: “a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[3]extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[4] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion”

    Let’s not bring this useful and informative forum down to the level of trolls by taking the bait from these idiots. The fact that the forum has the facility of approving comments before they are posted gives us (the readers and contributors) the opportunity to avoid deliberately off-topic discussions such as this one.

  12. Martin

    David, none of that actually means or proves Plaid Cymru is a fascist party. I am glad you knew Gwyn Alf, and that he was a Communist and at one time a member of Plaid Cymru. He definitely wrote those things about Saunders but he didn’t write that Plaid Cymru was fascist as a party. Do you think Gwyn Alf- considering his writings on the Spanish Civil War- would have joined a fascist party? You do know that at Gwyn Alf’s funeral (perhaps you were there) Plaid Cymru figures attended and a well-known Plaid Cymru politician read the obituary? To suggest that the Plaid of today, standing in elections in Penarth, operates as a fascist party is grossly misleading and insulting and adds nothing to the good discussions we can ahve at this blog. To suggest that a party that has shared power with Labour in the National Assembly (and indeed on the Vale Council) is a fascist party is completely wrong. Also, the idea that that Western Mail story shows Plaid working with fascists is wrong. The ‘Free Wales Army’ doesn’t exist, but people carry its emblem at various demonstrations (also important to point out it isn’t was fascist organisation)- it proves nothing more than people who go on the same demonstration as the Communist Party (which is fine by the way, as i’ve been on a number of demos that the Communists also happened to support). We can keep this discussion relevant to Penarth ar Byd by relating it to the elections in Penarth. If you are seriously alleging that a fascist party is participating in these elections then that is a very poor accusation.

  13. I think it’s time to call it a day on this discussion.

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