And so we see Plaid’s opening salvo in the by-election fray, with thanks to the party for sending it within the 5 days’ limit to ensure compliance with an irresistible offer. And what an underwhelming display it is.
Luke Nicholas has, apparently, “just the skills and commitment needed” to be MP. But we have no idea just what skills he possesses, since there’s no information about him other than that he’s young, local and a man. With such a heady array of attributes it must be incredibly challenging to get the Plaid nod to run for MP. To his credit he appears to be distancing himself from the incumbent by highlighting his difference in at least two of those characteristics.
The next section tells us what pretty much most mainstream political parties stand for (absent the ‘free… Wales’). There’s not a Labour or Conservative politician in Wales who wouldn’t want a better world for all along with international co-operation. And which politician doesn’t see the value in the Welsh language (well, at least in public!). So what’s Plaid’s USP – other than a free Wales?
I agree that reform of the banking system is very important to avoid repeat financial crashes of the same species as the last one. But this takes fully one-quarter of the space available on the leaflet – and it’s the only quote we have from the candidate himself. I’d rather see some decent content on Plaid’s priorities for Westminster rather than a highly specific article on banking followed by a bunch of guff. It’s not as if Luke is a lightweight candidate with nothing to contribute.
It’s actually a good idea to publicise regular party meetings, but does it really warrant so much space? And the final article simply reinforces the impression – which I’d thought Plaid had wanted to avoid – of being a Welsh language pressure group. Again, given that there’s an election in a few months’ time, surely it’s better to focus on Westminster priorities and why Plaid’s offer is so much more compelling than the alternatives?
I know that retro is in, but there’s a time and a place. And modern political campaigning probably isn’t the best forum for treating constituents to design that harks back to the 1980s. Add in a mix of fonts, font sizes, wholly amateurish layout… Plaid in Penarth (Cornerswell, at least) had design nailed back in April. It’s bizarre that Plaid has gone backwards 30 years in 5 months.
I’ve also been sent a Welsh language version of the Llais. But I’ve had reports that only one version made its way to people’s houses, and we can all have a guess at which one didn’t find its way to the printing presses.
So do I give them credit for having bilingual versions at all, or castigate them for deciding not to distribute the Welsh language version? I think the latter – with the note that they could so easily have fit a full bilingual version on 2 sides of A4 using some freely available graphic design software that Osian and Luke plainly got to grips with months ago.