Failed Ideas and Career Politics

This is the first salvo from the Greens, introducing their candidate Anthony Slaughter, to whom I extend my gratitude for sending the pdf through so promptly.

The evidence of Anthony’s commitment to sustainability in the area is clearly laid out with his work on behalf of Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. The “policies that offer a genuine alternative to the failed ideas and career politics offered by the other parties” include:

  • a Green New Deal creating jobs in sustainable, clean industries
  • an economy working with nature rather than against it
  • quieter, cleaner, safer streets
  • stronger local communities
  • healthier, safer food

That strikes me as a wish list, rather than a set of policies, although it’s difficult to lay out a series of coherent policies in a 2-sider. Anthony’s party isn’t the only organisation to have a Plan B, by the way. Plaid Cymru even has a Plan C.

The incinerator story shows the Green Party’s position, although there doesn’t appear to be an idea of where the waste would otherwise end up. This is related to an issue I covered back here.

It’s good to have the party’s Wales branch leader’s backing, too (more detail on this confusing situation below). It’s a decent enough quote and the picture of the two of them at an event or campaign shows a nice level of activism (although it may be too fine detail for the printed version).

And the final article on air quality and sustainable transport is interesting – I like the Greens’ idea of a public consultation on Penarth’s streets.

I’m a little surprised that the leaflet is printed in Mountain Ash, some way from the constituency, although I admire the commitment to providing employment in more deprived parts of Wales. But was recycled paper used? I’m guessing not, because it’s easy enough to pop the little logo on your pamphlet.

But perhaps one thing that shouldn’t come as a surprise is the total lack of Welsh language on the pamphlet. That’s because this peculiar party is a throwback to a distant age, when EnglandAndWales was a meaningful political unit – at some point between the Acts of Union and the Act of Union. It’s the only political party in existence that has a geographical jurisdiction of EnglandAndWales. And a party with a political mindset 500 years old is scarcely going to be bang up to date on social or cultural issues. Even the Conservative Party, with characteristic self-loathing, has begun to tear itself away from the idea that the leader of the UK party is the leader of the Wales branch. And it makes me think – if the priorities of the Green Party in Wales were to differ from the priorities of the Green Party in England, which policy would be adopted? No contest.

And perhaps this helps explain the continuing languishing of the Green Party in the polls. After all, even the large Unionist parties have cottoned on to the paper exercise of putting Welsh in front of their names on the polling cards. It’s all the more surprising when you consider that the Scottish Greens (notice the difference?!) are one of the two pro-independence parties with a presence in Holyrood, along with the SNP.

I can’t tell whether it’s Anthony who’s doing his party a disservice or his party doing a disservice to him. Perhaps a bit of both. After all, there are plenty of people who are well-disposed towards the Welsh language who can speak not a word of it, alongside the 10% plus who are bilingual. And who knows, perhaps it might just start the long process of shaking off the tag of being one of the ‘English people telling us what to do’ parties.

It needn’t even take up any more space than the current format. As I’ve mentioned here (to Anthony) and here, some graphic design packages are free of charge and can enable even the most computer-illiterate to design an attractive leaflet, taking up half the space (and hence allowing space for a translation).

7 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Greens, Plaid Cymru, Westminster

7 responses to “Failed Ideas and Career Politics

  1. Cynon Davies

    There is one thing worse that not having any Welsh on your leaflet and that is having incorrect Welsh on your leaflet. As far as I can make out on this photo Labour are translating “Labour” as “Lafur”. I can’t see whether there is meant to be a word in front of the party name which would require a soft mutation If there is, then it’s OK. If there isn’t then it is wrong.
    Also I notice that Mr Stephen Doughty has discarded his jeans and trainers for a suit, black shoes and an MP-style winter coat.

  2. anthony2s

    As ever, an interesting read with some good points, would perhaps benefit from tighter editing. I do appreciate the fact that you have a link to the newsletter itself.
    A few clarifications:
    Paper – the paper used is obviously 100% recycled. (I have the receipts) I simply take this as a given in this day and age and would be surprised to find the other parties weren’t using recycled.
    Leadership – Leader of the Green Party is Natalie Bennett, leader of the Wales Green Party is Pippa Bartolotti. Two different people with different responsibilities.
    Language – I have to agree with you, it is regrettable that my newsletter is not bilingual. We are a small local party with limited resources, (no millionaire or union backers) and rely on the efforts of volunteers. I am waiting to hear back from a couple of people who have offered to provide Welsh language versions of any election material and hope to have a Welsh copy available shortly. Given the short notice of the by-election date following Alun Michael’s belated standing down we obviously needed to get whatever material we had out as soon as possible.
    Plaid Werdd is fully supportive of equal language rights and at our stand at the recent Eisteddfod many visitors were impressed with the range of material we had available in Welsh.
    On the subject of language, slightly bemused as to the lack of Welsh language content on your site. Merely having dates and some captions not in English strikes me as possibly confusing tokenism.
    Looking forward to your continuing by-election coverage

    • “Touche” Anthony – a good point on the Welsh language content of this site. In fact the Welsh content (date and captions) is dictated by the site that I chose to be in Welsh language format. I don’t plan to change the blog’s language at the moment, but whenever I get hold of evidence that suggests that 50% or so of people in Penarth are bilingual then I might well do that. Who knows, by that stage maybe I’ll have learnt!
      One day it’ll be good to have further information on the links between the Wales Green Party and Green Party and the different responsibilities that Natalie and Pippa shoulder. After the election perhaps.
      Glad to hear that you used 100% recycled content. Perhaps you’re right that it’s an industry standard nowadays.

    • glynbedda

      “Given the short notice of the by-election date following Alun Michael’s belated standing down we obviously needed to get whatever material we had out as soon as possible”.

      Come off it Most knew the days would be November 15th months ago

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