You wait ages and ages and then two turn up at once. Conservative election leaflets, that is. So here’s the first one, with thanks to blog reader BD for sending it through.
And the headline issue of critical importance for a newly elected Conservative MP for Penarth and Cardiff South? Problem parking in Penarth. Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll rest a lot easier at night knowing that if Craig Williams is elected he’ll be busying himself about the place, “leading a petition to the local council for enforcement of resident parking”.
What Craig doesn’t appear to grasp is that the roads are provided for the benefit of all the people of Penarth, visitors, businesspeople and residents alike through public taxation. They are a public provision. The availability of spaces to park in close proximity to one’s home is a privilege, not a right – so Craig is wasting his time if he thinks he will be able to legislate for residents having “every right” to “park near their homes”.
Craig makes some bold claims, including that unemployment is falling and nearly 1.2 million private sector jobs have been created since the coalition government was elected. However he doesn’t tell us how many public sector jobs have been eliminated in the interim, nor does he reveal that the number of long-term unemployed in Wales increased by 8.9% for the year ending 30 June 2012. Meanwhile, the debt – which Craig’s Conservatives are “dealing with” so admirably – has reached the highest level (as percentage of GDP) at any time since the 1970s.
I’ve already pointed out that people with much more knowledge about policing than myself or, it turns out, Craig, consider it a bad idea that police “spend more time on the beat”. Yet that is exactly what Craig is looking to encourage. Perhaps he’s on the wrong ballot paper?
I’m glad that the basic state pension has seen a large absolute increase under the coalition government. As ever, the question remains of who is paying for this generosity when public finances are coming under exceptional strain.
And trumpeting cutting income tax without telling people that one of the taxes to be cut is the 50% rate on those earning £150,000 is disingenuous. Even if there are a few super-wealthy households in Penarth, how many of those big earners live in Cogan, Butetown and St. Mellons?
The Conservatives have obviously learned tactics from their Liberal Democrat colleagues in Westminster, because the ‘two horse race’ raises its tired nag’s head once more. I dislike these for the following reasons:
- The graphs universally use misleading axes in order to distort the statistical reality
- They lie (look no further than one recent by-election)
- Worst of all, they attempt to stifle democracy by telling people not to vote for any other than two parties
Finally, Craig is getting excitable about a National Health Scandal. While I’m sure there’s no small room for improvement in the NHS in Wales, things are not exactly smelling of roses across the border. And given that this is a field that is entirely devolved, perhaps he would be better off waiting until 2016 before standing for election.
What is a scandal – not unexpected, of course – is the absence of any Welsh language anywhere on the leaflet. So the Conservatives tell us they’re “caring and campaigning for Penarth” – but only if your language of choice is English.
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating:
…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… 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).