I’ve decided to do my own assessment of the people I could be voting for, a bit like I did a couple of years ago for the Welsh Assembly elections. This time around I have an added bonus opportunity for candidates – those with an email address got an email from me asking 5 policy questions. Only two candidates got back to me, which was a bit disappointing. But those candidates will get a bonus 10 points each.
I’m awarding points based on the following categories up to today:
Number of items posted through my door ~ 1 point each
Local residency/links of candidate, up to 3 points based on background, current residency, reference to local issues
Campaign promises ~ 1 point for each one (even if I don’t agree with them)
Negative things said about another political party (slanging match points) ~ -1 for each one
Plus 10 points if they got back to my email
I’m also going to list each candidate’s “big plus” i.e. a reason to vote for them, and a “big minus” i.e. why not. And I’m basing my ratings on the info they have supplied (ie pushed through my door).
I’m going to list them in party name alphabetical order, so first up is:
Christian Party of Wales
Tagline: ‘Raising the Standard’ (also ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’)
Candidate: Clive Bate
Big plus: Attends a local church
Big minus: Policies tend to be along the lines of monarchist, anti-Europe, climate-change-denying crazy nutters. Talks a lot about the ‘constitution’ even though we don’t have one.
Local residency: “Born in Cardiff and lived in Wales all his life” goes to local church, but doesn’t say he lives in the area, so I’m going to award 2 points
Campaign promises: 6 (My favourite one is to incorporate the black and yellow cross of St David in the Union Jack. Because, you know, that’s important.)
SMP: general swipes at the establishment, but no particular SMPs
Tagline: ‘Britain for the People not the Bankers’
Candidate: Robert Griffiths
Big plus: 5 commendations from noted trade unionists; promises “peace, jobs and socialism”
Big minus: Many, many promises, but I’m not sure they’re deliverable
Local residency: educated in Llanrumney and Cardiff High and currently living in Splott. Promises to continue living in Splott if elected. I didn’t know Splott was in our constituency but according to the fount of all knowledge (Wikipedia) it is, so a solid 3 points.
Campaign promises: 22 (4 are Wales-specific)
SMP: -16 (including a list of 10 ways the current MP, Alun Michael, has voted in Parliament)
The Conservative Party
Tagline: ‘It’s Time for Change’
Candidate: Simon Hoare
Big plus: One of the two candidates to respond to my email
Big minus: Quite a negative campaign – one election piece was a ‘crime special’ designed to spread a little bit of fear
Local residency: “Simon’s family came to Cardiff in the 1820s and have lived here ever since”, but Simon now lives in Oxfordshire and apparently says he isn’t going to move if elected. However, he seems to know a lot about local community issues, so I’m going to give him 1 point.
Campaign Promises: About 20, but lots of vague promises rather than specific points. They say they’re anti ID cards though, which is unexpectedly left-wing.
SMP: Loads. I counted about 12 anti-Labour/Gordon Brown points. There was one local issue where the candidate was “appalled” at the Lib Dem, Plaid and Labour politicians involved. So: -12.
BONUS POINTS: Simon was the only main party candidate to reply to my email: 10 bonus points.
Tagline: ‘2010 year of the independent’
Candidate: George Burke
Big plus: the other candidate to reply to my email, and I liked all his answers
Big minus: what chance do independent candidates have?
Local residency: Lived in the area for 33 years, writes a column for the South Wales Echo. 2 points
Campaign promises: 10
SMP: mentions “The recent mistrust of politicians, from all parties, has led me to make the decision to clean up politics for good.” No specific swipes. No minus points.
BONUS POINTS: 10
Labour and Co-operative
Tagline: ‘Winning the fight for Britain’s future’
Candidate: Alun Michael
Big plus: He’s a seasoned pro and has been MP forever (well, since 1987)
Big minus: He had to pay back £19,000 in the expenses scandal after listing his Penarth residence as his ‘second home’
Local residency: Lives in Penarth. Doesn’t say he’s Cardiff born and bred, but I think he is. I’m going to ding him a point for the second home thing. 2 points.
Campaign promises: 15 (and an impressive ‘record of achievements’ while in government)
SMP: 5 negative references to other parties, although he makes specific criticisms rather than just flaming them, so as far as slanging match points go, these are the most civil. Still: -5.
Tagline: ‘The Local Choice for Change’
Candidate: Dominic Hannigan
Big plus: Dominic Hannigan stood in the Welsh Assembly elections, and I think in the last general election. He is a very prominent campaigner in the area most of the time. He obviously really wants to win.
Big minus: The Liberal Desperates, sorry Democrats, look, well, desperate as usual. Their material is insanely negative. Apart from venomously attacking Labour on everything and dismissing the Tories and Plaid’s chances, I couldn’t really tell you what they stand for. They do have policies, but they are hidden behind all the bile.
Local residency: Dominic leaves in Butetown, part of the constituency. 2 points.
Campaign promises: 12 (mainly just reiterations of national policy)
SMP: Unfortunately, the more stuff I get, the more slanging match points tot up. Not counting the many repetitions of Alun Michael’s expenses or the fact Simon Hoare lives in Oxfordshire, I’m awarding a score of -39.
Tagline: ‘Think Different. Think Plaid.’
Candidate: Farida T Aslam
Big plus: The only woman and the only minority candidate standing (as far as I know, like I said these ratings are based on what’s come through the door)
Big minus: Nice policies, no real chance of getting in
Items: 2 (identical leaflets)
Local residency: No way of knowing, but pledges to be “an independent-thinking Plaid MP who always puts our area first”. 1 point.
Campaign promises: 10 (including an “ethical policy”)
SMP: Says the other 3 main party candidates will “toe the London party line” and that’s about it. -3 points.
Independent George Burke: 23
Labour & Co-operative: 15
Plaid Cymru: 10
Christian Party of Wales: 9
Liberal Democrats: -18