Election Leaflets 2: the horror returns

Published on 3 May 2005 in , ,

Today there were some Labour party activists visiting our street. They spoke to the bloke next door, then didn’t bother with us and disappeared. So that means, two days to go, that still it’s leaflets or nowt.

But thankfully some more have come in since the last batch was reviewed. And it’s new entries from Labour, the Tories, but first, the Greens.

Not So Green?

Yes, the Greens are doing there bit for the environment by… sending us another leaflet. But never fear, I do recycle.

This Green leaflet (full colour, complete with a picture of the ever so friendly looking candidate Tom Walsh) starts by seemingly trying to grab the apathy brigade – comments about turnout and how the "stale" policies of the main parties. And then proceed to tell us why they’re different.

No tram inside the leaflet this time but the wind farms are there as well as a picture of a tube station and a fruit platter. And a pretty comprehensive list of policies too – in fact of all the leaflets received, the Greens have done by far the best job of spelling out a good, wide range of policies – no dumbing down from them. And noticeably, no mention of immigration! Thank goodness for that!

On the back, some more about their vision and how they’ve got seats in the London Assembly and the European Parliament.

True Blue?

Ah, the Conservatives. Are you thinking what they’re thinking? Or are you thinking about biscuits?

Someone obviously wasn’t thinking properly when this election leaflet was written – full colour, A4 glossy paper by the way – as the leaflet starts off like this:

I was born in Darlington, County Durham and moved to London in 1995 before making south-west London my home. Since 1999, Andrew has worked as an Independent Financial Adviser, basing himself in the local area.

Conservative election leaflet for Andrew Shellhorn

Yes, that’s right. In the first sentence it’s first person narrative, in the second we suddenly jump into third person – for no apparent reason.

Funnily enough paragraph two is entirely in first person, before returning in paragraph three to third person narrative, although in the form of a quote from our candidate.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s an amusing picture of said candidate trying to looking stern, arms folded, in front of some shop shutters which have graffiti on them, complete with the caption "Andrew is concerned about the levels of crime and social disorder"!

The pictures don’t end there as there’s a nice picture of said candidate posting a letter and standing next to a sign that says "Cricket Green". Oh and there’s some gumpf about immigration, education, crime and tax. Usual rubbish.

But ultimately the question remains, no matter what you think of the Tories, would you vote for someone whose literature uses first and third person narrative in the same sentence?

Pink Pink To Make The Boys Wink

Last but by no means least, to the sitting MP, Siobain McDonagh. A leaflet from her, and a letter, personally addressed – two sides of A4, letter head featuring a picture of Siobain. The letter is pretty straight to the point – what she’s pledging to do on health, education, home ownership, crime and illegal immigration, tax, childcare and ‘for you’ – this being talking about continuing her weekly surgery and doing around 20 neighbourhood meetings a year with residents.

At the bottom, a ‘handwritten’ PS telling me I can raise an issue, ask a question or whatever by phoning her hotline. Clearly not written by hand, but printed in blue to try and make it look like it’s done in Biro. Ah, she cares.

Her standard leaflet is, well to be quite frank, huge. By far the biggest leaflet on display, and printed in red, pink, black and white, the paper is folded in three. The ‘front’ features a huge picture of Siobhain smiling, looking slightly whimsically to the side.

Inside, the top half is basically ‘vote for us, else Howard might get in’ along with some stuff about how this was a Tory seat and if they get voted in again, they’ll ruin all Siobhan’s good work. To ram the message clear, a picture of Michael Howard, probably picked because he looks slightly sinister.

This is a leaflet on the attack – on one side of the bottom half, a ‘reminder’ of what the last Tory government was like, and a list of things they would do if they got in. Interestingly someone thinks that mentioning they’d scrap the ID cards idea is a good one for the negative pile.

On the other side of the bottom half, a nice heading about how all the "hard work" that has been done is in danger, so if you value X, vote labour.

Flip to the other side, Siobhain’s five pledges to you (to me? to you!) – crime, health, education, new homes and listening to people funnily enough. And at the bottom, a request:

On polling day, Siobhain will be busy calling on voters to remind them to vote. Tell her when you will be voting for her, so that she can use her time to visit others who may need reminding.

There’s then a coupon for you to send back to tell Siobhain what time you’ll be voting for her and on the back page, the piece de resistance. A picture of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown looking as if they’re in hysterics, with speech bubbles. Tony is saying "Gordon, Siobhain is a great MP, you know" to which Gordon (obviously) replies "Yes, Tony, people should vote for her she really knows her stuff" [sic]. A masterpiece of election literature and no mistake.

But they’re not finished yet! Oh no. A reminder not to stay at home as the Tories might get in. Or perhaps reminder is too gentle. Cos the leaflet actually says:

So, if you are happy with the work of Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh, then you must go out and vote for her.

Must eh? And what if I need a lift to the polling station? Ah, Labour have got that sussed. I can apparently ring for a lift! Hurrah!

There’s something about the leaflet that kinda implies that Labour think I’ve voted for them in the past. Maybe it’s a catch all leaflet because in the last election, 60% of the votes cast went to her. Or maybe it’s because I signed up to her email list – not for party reasons, but because I wanted to know what she, as my elected representative, was doing. Hopefully it’s the former, but if it’s the latter, it’s a dangerous assumption to make. Regardless of who wins this election, I will keep my eye on my MP. Even if it’s the man from Veritas. But that doesn’t mean I voted for them, or would vote for them.

Speaking of which…

On Friday I’d received literature from just half the candidates. Today it’s five sixths. And no sign of anything from our local friendly Veritas candidate. Whoever, wherever he may be… Still Adrian Roberts, Veritas candidate for Mitcham and Morden, there’s still time…

And one final word

We’re still getting post redirected from our old address, and in the redirection was a campaign leaflet from the Ealing Lib Dems which made for an interesting comparison with our local leaflet.

Needless to say that were very similar in many ways although the Ealing and Southall candidate has his leaflet in full colour. And inside, the cheesy pictures of Charles Kennedy? Nope. Cheesy pictures of local candidate in similar poses instead!

And remember children, this Thursday, you must vote. You simply must. Oh and if you’d like a lift, or would like to talk in a mixture of second and fourth person narrative in the same sentence, well the choice is yours. For this is democracy my dears. Even if you simply can’t stand any of them and spoil your ballot paper, do pop down to your polling booth and make your voice heard. Cos if you don’t, you can’t complain when someone shafts you three years down the line.

And remember, don’t have nightmares.