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).