Tag Archives: local elections

Use Your Vote

The elections to determine which individuals and political parties will represent Penarth at the local authority level (as well as town councils) for the next five years are tomorrow. Use your vote.

Voter turnout at local elections in Wales runs at 44%. That means that 56% of people are happy to have no voice in decisions that affect social services, education, waste, local transport, planning, housing, libraries, parks and gardens… Use your vote.

We know that older people are much more likely to vote than younger people – twice as likely, by some counts. Does this mean that younger people trust older people to make decisions on their behalf? Look at the mess Wales is in today and ask yourself: have older people done a great job on my behalf? Young people, use your vote.

Older people know that other older people are most likely to exert political influence, and because they aren’t happy with other older people running their lives, that makes them more likely to vote. Older people, your peers are much more likely to vote than younger people. Do you really want your peers to be exerting more political influence than any other portion of society? Use your vote!

We know that poorer people are less likely to vote than richer people. Poorer people, do you really want richer people to be exerting more political influence than you do? That’s one of the reasons that they’re rich and you’re not – because the political system protects its own. Use your vote.

Women are less likely to vote than men. Think about all the men exerting political power in the world. Do you have faith in them? After all, they only gave you the right to vote (if you were over 21 years of age) in 1928. Women, use  your vote.

People from ethnic minorities are less likely to vote than white people. Is everything so hunky-dory for people of different skin colour that you can leave it to the white people? Use your vote.

Even if you spoil your ballot paper, you’re making a statement. But better than that, look into what the various candidates have to offer. I’ve given you a head start in this blog – there’s more than enough information here to help you come to a decision.

Use your vote.

3 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Penarth Town Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Your Local Party

Is it just me or are there just two wards where there is anything approaching political activity in Penarth? I know I forecast easy wins in certain wards, but surely these elections should be worthy of at least one pamphlet per ward? If you’ve been deluged with activity in, say, Plymouth ward, scan me the copies and I’ll do my best to review. Time’s running short though!

It’s no surprise that the two ‘active’ wards are St. Augustine’s and Cornerswell, since these are the only wards where the election will result in a changing of the guard. What has come as a surprise is that the only electoral information that’s made its way to me from Cornerswell has come from Plaid Cymru. I’m assuming that the Labour candidates do actually want to win this ward and have been knocking on doors with leaflets. It’s a shame that they haven’t followed Lis Burnett’s lead in sending me their copy. No free publicity for Rhiannon Birch and Peter King then – but that’s their loss. And has anyone received Conservative leaflets through the door? They’re the incumbents after all – or have they effectively conceded defeat in this contest?

I’m making an assumption here, which is that anyone who sends me copy is actually printing and distributing it. After all, this isn’t just a publicity zone for political parties. If anyone thinks I’m being taken for a ride please do get in touch: penartharbyd[a]gmail.com

On to the latest Plaid leaflet then (that’s Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cornerswell and Plaid Cymru Penarth).

It seems that the Plaid Cornerswell candidates are switched on to local media channels. Apparently there’s an independent community website that ranked the Conservative incumbents Dorothy Turner and John Fraser just 1/10, and described them as ‘elect at your peril’. I bet that site is well worth a read. However I don’t think the conflation of the local councillors with a Leader of a different council works. I see what they’re trying to do – fling mud at the Labour parties generally and hope it sticks to the local candidates – but it’s a step too far removed to gain traction.

The three pledges on this leaflet mirror the three in Osian Lewis and Luke James’ previous version – namely, freezing council tax, affordable housing and support for business. That’s good for consistency and credibility, and all of them are (somewhat or entirely) local issues. Osian and Luke are keen to raid the council’s reserves to pay for a freeze on council tax. Mind you, Plaid is only following the lead from another party that’s been playing fast and loose with reserves.

I’m not sure exactly what’s on offer in terms of support for local businesses other than fighting for “more grants and loans”. That may be because actually there’s rather little that local authorities can do in the way of supporting local businesses. I’d be delighted to be proved wrong, by the way. It seems to suggest that this manifesto pledge hasn’t really been thought through, and has been put in to make it look like Plaid’s on the side of business.

But I’m delighted to see that Osian and Luke have settled on a 50% affordable housing criterion for new developments. This is absolutely within the remit of local authorities. It’s not like Penarth has a chronic deficit of ultra-expensive housing, so a few more developments for people with less in their pockets than the captains of industry would be very welcome.

I’m also impressed by the quote that they’ve squeezed out from new party leader Leanne Wood (even if her grammar isn’t up to scratch). This is the kind of thing that takes a bit of effort to achieve, but gives the appearance of both a leader who has time for local candidates (and by extension, Penarth), and candidates who are influential enough to avail of their party leader’s time.

In terms of layout, I think these guys have cracked it. A nice mix of text and images, the fold-up section that means the householder can put the pamphlet in their window to show support, pleasing off-set of the green sections, consistent branding with the logo, and I’m a sucker for those bright quotation marks. They’ve even mastered the art of making a photo cut-out. Bravo!

I’m assuming that this leaflet is bilingual based on these candidates’ track record. The other parties could take a few tips from Osian and Luke.

Layout 10/10, Content 7/10.

7 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Plaid Cymru, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Committed to St. Augustine’s

Some political parties are really getting into the swing of sending me their election addresses. So thanks to Lis Burnett for sending through a Labour election leaflet for St. Augustine’s. The only parties not in on the fun now are Conservatives, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP. And I’m assuming that the Lib Dems and UKIP don’t actually have leaflets, and that the Green candidate has done enough already. So what have the Conservatives got to hide?

The latest offering comes from your Local Labour Team, from Labour/Llafur and Co-operative (I’ve yet to find out what the purpose of the Co-operative ‘Party’ is), the Labour Party, St. Augustine’s Labour and Penarth Labour. They seem to be taking the scattergun approach – use enough names and one of them will resonate with someone.

Someone they presumably weren’t hoping on eliciting resonance with might be the Electoral Commission. However, that’s exactly who would be most interested in noting the absence of ‘Printed by…’ on this leaflet, which is a legal requirement of all electoral material. Of course, we’re only seeing the proof version here; hopefully by the time it was printed, that detail was rectified.

Time to look at the content. Gwyn and Lis claim that their pledges “already demonstrate our commitment to local residents”. Actually, pledges do nothing of the sort – they’re a type of mini-manifesto on which the performance of elected politicians can be judged. But commitment to local residents is one thing that is likely to keep politicians in office – and I don’t mean to be cruel, but Lis was ousted in 2008.

Their pledges are now down to three, from the heady days of April 2012 when they had 12. A strong voice for St. Augustine’s, those celebrated Grime Fighters and re-introducing traffic wardens. Lis and Gwyn know that I have a much simpler suggestion to deal with the ‘problem of parking in Penarth’ which would actually raise revenue for the council. Hopefully traffic wardens as the solution to parking issues isn’t something they’ll be dogmatic about just because it’s one of their pledges, should they receive the blessing of the electorate next week.

I like the candidates’ approach to public services, with a commitment that residents be able to speak at scrutiny and planning meetings and some Cabinet meetings held in the evenings. I’m intrigued as to how much influence a Youth Mayor would have – and is this for Penarth or the Vale as a whole?

Lis is apparently Chair of the “welsh coalition for Social Enterprise”. I’ve looked around and can find no such organisation, but I have uncovered the Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition, of which Lis was recently voted Chair. It seems peculiar that someone with long involvement in this organisation – including becoming its Chair – hasn’t taken the time to verify its name.

I’m glad Lis and Gwyn have been ‘campaigning for the developent of community facilities’. Perhaps they can campaign for spellcheck on their computers next. But both these candidates have strong local connections, and there’s a nice, clear section detailing the myriad of ways in which they can be contacted.

Lis and Gwyn claim to have campaigned in favour of Pont-y-Werin, renovation of the Pier Pavilion and St. Paul’s Church, but it’s not a matter of public record so we have to take their word for it. One thing they are keen on, as with so many other candidates, is fighting. Whether it’s planning proposals, neglect, or just lack of a voice, they’re certainly in bellicose mood.

And talking of bellicose, I hear rumours that other candidates are a bit put out by the things Lis and Gwyn claim to have ‘delivered’. I have some sympathy with this – after all, it’s fine to say that you’ve campaigned in favour of these things, but it could be stretching things to claim ownership of delivery. Decisions on St. Paul’s Church, for example, were taken on 28 April 2010 and 29 February 2012 by the Vale Council (although Mark Wilson in on record as having raised St. Paul’s). ‘Gained agreement from Vale colleagues’ on the Pier Pavilion? Decisions were taken on this topic on 19 January 2011 and 20 July 2011 by Cabinet, which was necessarily comprised solely of Conservative Members. And ‘delivered Pont-y-Werin’? I’m not convinced that having Lis and Gwyn fighting was the crucial factor in delivery.

On design, this leaflet is, on the whole, well designed and attractive. They still haven’t taken note of the recommendations I made last time – such as the use of ‘sans serif’ font, making sure the font is consistent across the publication, evening out the spacing between lines… and sadly, the Welsh language is once more airbrushed from existence. Indeed, they even go as far as adding the unnecessary and cumbersome ‘Bridge’ after Pont-y-Werin. Note for people unable to speak Welsh, French, Catalan, or Latin: Pont means bridge.

Layout 8/10, Content 2/10

9 Sylw

Filed under Co-operative Party, Democracy, Elections, Labour, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Local Action

What a thrill to receive the latest election missive (with thanks, via blog subscriber MD this time) from the Conservative candidates in St. Augustine’s ward. Incumbent Councillors Paul Church and Sophie Williams must certainly have the ear of someone special because in these times of financial hardship they haven’t had to scrimp on a full-colour A3 publication.

It’s good to know that our priorities are their priorities. Like increasing and ‘simplifying’ recycling (by fair means or foul), encouraging biodiversity and promoting sustainability and of course those strong enforcement measures for dog fouling (zero prosecutions or penalty notices for the last two years, and three in total for the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan in the four years since the Conservatives took office). Paul, Sophie, you’re better off not even mentioning topics about which you have to lie. Sooner or later, you’ll get found out.

This ‘priority’ section is a bit wishy-washy for me. I confess that I like the sound of improving the standards of school buildings, ensuring that every child in our county is safe and supported, and seeking further investment in all of our towns. But then show me the candidate in these elections that wants to drive down the standards of school buildings, put children into harm’s way and let our communities degrade. In fact, out of 17 priorities, the only one that’s partially identifiable as a Conservative idea (shared with their Liberal Democrat UK Government colleagues) is to publish the Council’s transactions above £500 online.

There’s a ‘promise’ of more action overleaf. Paul and Sophie have noticed the heralded demise of St. Augustine’s ward and are setting out their stall early for Penarth North, with the claim that the Vale has spent £15M on improvements to this area over the past four years. Presumably the bulk of this is via the renewal area – which resulted in expenditure of £15M, but over the ten years of the scheme, not just the four for which Paul and Sophie could conceivably take credit. And I can’t help noticing that the Welsh Government “provides local authorities with grants for housing renewal areas“. So how much of this £15M is the result of our councillors’ graft, and how much fell into their laps as a result of whichever administration secured the renewal area status in 2000? More importantly, is their claim that the “Conservative Council has spent £15M on improvements to north Penarth” true or false?

There are lots of stories on this page from elsewhere in the Vale, with Llantwit Major, Cowbridge, Barry Island and Barry all in the mix. But we’re also treated to a picture of the Pier Pavilion (at least they get the name right) and the news that they’ve invested £1M in this project, alongside £200,000 in Windsor Gardens.

They’re keen to highlight council tax. Just for the record, here’s the details of past council tax banding. Regrettably, the Vale’s institutional memory only goes back to 2006/07 (so much for transparency eh!), so I have no way of verifying that the Conservative administration has kept council tax increases low by historical standards. Ok, so the average percentage increase for the past four years at 3.4% is less than the last two years of the previous administration, at 4.8%. But it’s not entirely fair to compare four years with two, so we’re left guessing.

Also, given that increases last year and this year are less than the rate of inflation, things must be getting tight. To make the sums add up there might be some pretty serious ‘efficiency savings’ going on, or they’re raiding the reserves, or services are being cut. It could be a combination of the three. Certainly we’re given bald evidence of pillaging the reserves by £12.7M in their own information leaflet, and we know that financial pressure contributed to the Vale’s short-sighted move to an illegal system of recycling collection. According to their Labour opponents, social services spending is ‘out of control’, and certainly a £3.6M overspend in one financial year seems worthy of this description.

Finally, there’s a personal message to their constituents from Paul and Sophie. They claim to have kept their promises to the burghers of St. Augustine’s over the past four years. Unfortunately we haven’t got the historical record to see what they actually promised back in 2008. But given that in all three election messages we’ve had from the incumbents a quick scan seems to have unveiled a grand total of zero promises for the next term, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they had delivered on all their promises. After all, 100% of zero is, well, 100% (or is it zero…?!).

On the layout, it looks suspiciously like Paul Church has been dragged around this community over the course of 2 hours in one day. Or maybe he always wears the same blue tie, white shirt, cream jacket and black trousers. Perhaps the vacant expression is a result of his being in unfamiliar surroundings. Or perhaps he’s just coming to terms with the likelihood of not being re-elected, and losing the £28,780 annual income that comes with being a Cabinet Member (in addition to his £13,175 councillor’s salary – a grand total of £41,955 and just outside the higher rate of income tax). Sophie at least creates the impression of being out and about, or maybe she’s wiser and has the odd change of clothes out of shot. But overall the layout is professional and attractive. There’s a good proportion of text to images (even if several of the images under ‘local issues’ appear to be from places other than St. Augustine’s).

You know I’m picky and striving for perfection, so here are my comments for improvement of layout. Under ‘your priorities’, there’s no need to change the colour of the font on numbers 2 and 4. And under ‘a record of action’,  left-aligned typesetting would work better than justified, which in these short lines creates too much spacing between and within words. There’s also too much spacing between the lines in this section.

As we’ve come to expect from the Vale Conservatives, the Welsh language is a non-existent irrelevance. Ironically, although they concede that there is “growing demand” for Welsh language investment in the western Vale, it’s not worth the Conservatives using. And just look at all the resources they’re pouring into supporting this growing demand. One portacabin, at the looks of things. Meanwhile, they’re itching to get on with a “major refurbishment” of Llantwit Major (English Medium) Comprehensive, having just spent £21.5M on Cowbridge (English Medium) Comprehensive. Go figure.

Paul and Sophie are incredibly wide-reaching in their vision of ‘our community’. Given that “when local Conservatives win our whole community wins”, their winning community used to stretch at least as far as Derby. Happily, after the fiasco of their last publication, this publication was printed by Barry Advertiser Limited – a company I specifically highlighted in this post as losing out from their generosity to our brethren across the border. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of Vale Conservatives exporting Welsh jobs to the English Midlands.

Layout 9/10, Content 2/10.

2 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Predictions for 3 May 2012

Well, there are just two weeks to go until the election, so it’s about time for my predictions for who’ll be popping the champagne corks on the morning of 4 May.

I’m basing my predictions on a combination of recent polling at the UK level and the most recent poll that includes Plaid Cymru as a separate entity. I’m looking at what happened in Penarth last time as compared to the 2004 results – in particular, what effect the poll ratings at that time might have had on the results, and forecasting a similar equivalent effect this time.

So at the UK level, in 2004, the average of three polls gave Conservatives 32%, Labour 34.3%, Lib Dem 20.3% and Other 13.3% – a Labour lead of 2.3%. In 2008, the average of four polls put the Conservatives on 40%, Labour 30%, Lib Dem 20% and Other 11% – a 10% lead for the Conservatives.

For 2012, the BBC’s poll of polls indicates that as of 10 April, the Labour lead over the Conservatives in the UK was 9% (42% to 33%). The Lib Dem share of the vote has shrunk to 8% in total. The most recent all-Wales poll indicates that Labour have 47%, Conservatives 20%, Plaid 16% and Lib Dems 7%.

So back to the results. The fascinating thing is that on first glance there’s no consistent pattern across the wards. A 10% Conservative lead over Labour before the 2008 elections translated to the following:

  • Cornerswell – Labour vote decreased by 3%, Conservative vote increased by 29%
  • Plymouth – Labour vote decreased by 15%, Conservative vote increased by 3%
  • St. Augustine’s – Labour vote increased by 2%, Conservative vote increased by 39%, Plaid vote decreased by 8%
  • Stanwell – Labour vote decreased by 1%, Conservative vote increased by 30%, Lib Dem vote decreased by 28%
  • Sully – Labour vote decreased by 31%, Conservative vote increased by 20%, Independent vote decreased by 31%, Plaid vote increased by 63% (from a very low base)

So with a Conservative opinion poll lead of 10%, the Labour vote held up in highly contested wards but collapsed in Sully and Plymouth (wards where Labour stands no chance even in a good year). Meanwhile, the Conservative vote barely increased in the shoe-in ward of Plymouth but increased by 29% or more in the competitive wards of Cornerswell, St. Augustine’s and Stanwell. Incidentally, this seems to be decent evidence in favour of adopting the alternative vote system for local elections (as they have in Scotland).

So what does that mean for our hopefuls on 3 May? Broadly, I’m expecting the reverse of last election, with a slightly increased Labour vote (considerably higher in Sully and Plymouth) and a substantial decline in the Conservative vote, with one exception in St. Augustine’s where Sophie Williams’ vote will  remain high enough to grab one of the two seats on offer. Plaid’s share of the vote will increase across most wards, but particularly where the historic vote has been low. It’s going to be a miserable night for the Liberal Democrat hopefuls; both of them will record fewer votes than the Green candidate.

  • Cornerswell will elect two Labour councillors, Rhiannon Birch and Peter King, despite whispers of an energetic Plaid campaign. Turfing out John Fraser and Dorothy Turner will be a very welcome result for the people of Cogan.
  • Plymouth will keep its two Conservative councillors forever. Councillors Maureen Kelly Owen and Clive Williams will retain their seats until they drop.
  • St. Augustine’s is the most interesting ward of the lot. It’s got a history of electing candidates from different parties, and that’s going to happen again in 2012. It’s going to be the first ward in living memory to have two women councillors as Councillor Sophie Williams is returned alongside Lis Burnett.
  • Stanwell will keep its current Labour Councillors Janice Birch and Mark Wilson. Presumably life will be interesting in the Birch household since Rhiannon lives at the same address as Mark Wilson.
  • Sully will also keep its incumbent councillors, Conservatives Anthony Ernest and Sarah Sharpe.

Penarth/Sully will end up with an even split of councillors, 5 apiece for the Conservatives and Labour, which brings us back to the same result as for 2004.  Regardless of what happens elsewhere (and seats will almost certainly change hands in Barry), this result alone means that the Conservative-run administration in the Vale will come to an end on 4 May. We’re looking at a coalition running the Vale of Glamorgan for the next five years.

It’s also the end for our Penarth wards which will dissolve in 2017 when the recommendations of the Local Government Boundary Commission come into effect. We’ll end up with the 4-member super-ward of Penarth South (Plymouth plus Stanwell) and the 5-member Penarth North (Cornerswell, Llandough and St. Augustine’s). Sully will remain stand-alone with two members.

19 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Scores on the Doors

The time has come, ladies and gentlemen, to award marks out of ten for our current crop of councillors. They’re all bidding for your votes for re-election, so this post is particularly important. And once they’re in, they won’t be going anywhere for 5 years. I won’t be commenting on other candidates because there’s a consistent track record of performance that the incumbents have revealed over time that will help voters decide whether or not they deserve the blessing of re-election.

In the spirit of transparency and open-ness, I’m going to lay out in full my scoring criteria.

Initially I’ll award each councillor a score of 5/10. There you go, who said I’m not the generous type? I think it’s fair to give our councillors the benefit of the doubt, too, because most of them go into this politics lark with the genuine intention of making life better for the residents they serve. Perhaps some of them have been in the game too long or have lost track of those worthy aspirations they once had. But let’s save judgement for later.

Communication has always been important in democracy. It’s as true today as it was back then. The ability to get in touch with our elected representatives is important for the electorate – even if we don’t take our politicians up on the offer of making contact. That’s why I find it especially galling that Cllr. Clive Williams has no means of email contact. How does he think people communicate in this day and age? Carrier pigeon? Or is it some evil plot of the Vale of Glamorgan webmaster to discredit him by refusing him – and only him – a VoG email account? Compare his page with that of Cllr. Anthony Ernest who has not one but three twitter accounts for us to follow. Not that the communications officers at the council will be too pleased with him for having taken the ‘@ValeofGlamorgan‘ twitter account, but perhaps they should have been a bit quicker off the mark. And Cllr. Ernest is living proof that twitter is a valuable way of communicating with your constituents whether you’re 18 or 80.

So it’s minus one point for Cllr. Clive Williams who hasn’t moved on from the stone age. And it’s plus one mark for Cllr. Ernest and Cllr. Sophie Williams (who also has an active twitter account @CllrSJCWilliams). If any of our other esteemed representatives has an active twitter account, do let me know for that extra point (and signing up tomorrow doesn’t count!).

Well as far as I can tell, our good councillors haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory over the past while, so I’m afraid that’s it for the bonus points. It’s downhill from here on in. But who’s got furthest to fall?

I’ll subtract one point from any councillor who’s been eagerly pushing through a project to incinerate the black bags from everyone’s houses that will see us all paying increased council tax for the next 25 years, and who cut off any chance of escaping from the decision by signing us up to as much as £3,000,000 in expenses if we pull out from the agreement.

I’ll knock off a point from anyone who voted in favour of one of the most incomprehensible decisions in Vale history to change our recycling system from one that achieves the best environmental outcomes at least cost to one that is illegal under European environmental law and that will have to be reversed to our old system in a few months.

I’m definitely removing a point from those councillors who have blindly let officials pull the wool over their eyes – and opened the council up to a European legal challenge and massive fines – by consistently allowing unlawful pollution loadings for the undeserving residents of Cogan. But on this subject I’ll save my most severe opprobrium for the incumbent Cornerswell councillors. What an unconscionable dereliction of your democratic duty to defend your constituents. I suppose it’s difficult for someone living with the fresh Bristol Channel breeze on their face to empathise with people choking on car fumes. Shame on the pair of you – and the gall of seeking re-election! I hope the hundreds of people reading this blog include large numbers registered in Cornerswell ward. So it’s an additional minus point from these two.

For those of you struggling with your abacus, I’ve done the maths myself. Drumroll, please:

With a fabulous 4 points – Cllr. Sophie Williams (St. Augustine’s, Conservative)

A thrilling 3 points – Cllrs. Janice Birch (Stanwell, Labour) and Anthony Ernest (Sully, Conservative)

A tortuous 2 points – Cllrs. Paul Church (St. Augustine’s, Conservative), Maureen Kelly-Owen (Plymouth, Conservative), Sarah Sharpe (Sully, Conservative), Clive Williams (Plymouth, Conservative) and Mark Wilson (Stanwell, Labour)

An ‘elect at your peril’ 1 pointJohn Fraser (Cornerswell, Conservative) and Dorothy Turner (Cornerswell, Conservative)

5 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Labour, Vale of Glamorgan Council

New Voices for Penarth

Many thanks to Plaid Cymru Cornerswell for biting the bullet and sending me their election literature direct. If other parties would follow their lead we’d soon have a comprehensive library of leaflets.

Osian Lewis and Luke James are the young Plaid hopefuls for Cornerswell ward, and their short biographies certainly reveal them to be local lads. The pledges are simple enough and for the first time we see genuine recognition of a bilingual Wales with full parity for both languages. Conservatives, Greens and Labour, take note.

A fully bilingual offer means that you need to be a bit cleverer about your use of space if you want to make sure the electorate is getting the information it needs. You might want to look at the Conservatives’ latest offer to see one way of getting more information into a space-constricted leaflet (not that theirs is perfect or the only way).

So while the council tax freeze is fairly self-explanatory, we’ve got no real idea how Osian and Luke will make sure there’s enough affordable housing for young people locally. Perhaps they need to look for inspiration towards places such as Islington, where there is a strategic target for 50% of all new housing to be affordable. Some developments in areas of affordable housing stress are now 100% affordable. Let’s face it, the only reason that developments such as Penarth Heights shouldn’t be substantially more than 20% affordable is if you feel for the hard-pressed developers (profit in 2009 £47.3M and with headquarters in down-at-heel Surrey) and think that they should be extracting more profit at the expense of people in Penarth.

Meanwhile, extension of business rate support is the purview of the Welsh Government, not local authorities, so it seems impotent to talk of “working with the Welsh Government to extend business rate support”. If the leadership of Plaid can’t persuade the Labour administration to adopt this, it seems unlikely that two additional councillors would swing the balance. Still, there’s nothing like ambition eh!

In design terms, the leaflet appears to be considerably more sophisticated than a standard ‘Word’ structure. The pictures are crisp, appropriate and bordered. I do wonder whether or not Rhuanedd Richards was strategically placed in order to make her appear the victim of a cartoon assault. Perhaps the picture was taken in Rhodri Morgan’s lounge.

The font is sans serif, which is good, but I can’t help feeling that a little more consistency in the font throughout the leaflet would be beneficial – particularly in the top half of the leaflet. I’d avoid underlining headlines and capitalisation. Osian’s biography in the English language side seems to be making a break for it – exit stage left – while on the Welsh language side, Luke’s is off kilter up north.

Another thing to watch out for on the Welsh side is hypenisation. As far as I’m aware most word processor programmes hyphenise in places that are appropriate for English words, not Welsh. Might be worth checking next time.

But given that this leaflet has two languages, the fact that there are only four names (Plaid, Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cornerswell and the Party of Wales) should cause some embarrassment to a few of the other parties.

Layout 7/10, Content 5/10.

8 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Plaid Cymru, Vale of Glamorgan Council