Monday, May 04, 2015

Election communication review 2015

I can’t believe it’s three years since the last review I did, back when we had a by-election in 2012. I’m getting quite an archive of reviews.

This year some parties are standing who haven’t been in touch yet. According to one website the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Class War Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition are standing. But no election communication, no ratings on this blog.

The rules for scoring this time round are: 
Candidates score points for:
~ number of pieces of bumf through the door
~ number of definite promises they make
~ number of ways they offer you to get in touch, not including generic websites
~ number of different candidate photos, with bonus points if they are with the party leader
~ a point for bilingual Welsh/English leaflets
Candidates are dinged points for
~ the number of other people they blame for the mess we're in,
~ number of negative comments about other parties
~ photos of politicians belonging to other parties
~ meaningless ‘slogan’ promises e.g. ‘I’m going to fight for Welsh jobs’
As before, I'm going to list them alphabetically by candidates’ surname. That means we start with our current MP, Stephen Doughty. I’ve also included who they think will win.

Candidate: Stephen Doughty
Party: Labour
Bumf: 3 = 3 points
Definite promises: 12
Contact: 4
Photos: 9 (including one in an orange jumpsuit and hard hat). No pictures of him with Ed Miliband.
Bilingual: 2 (both leaflets are at least partly bilingual)
Blame: 0
Negative comments: -9 (mainly the Tories, one reference each to the Lib Dems and UKIP)
Photos of other politicians: 0
Sloganeering: -10
Comment: Nice use of endorsements on one leaflet and also a list of things he’s done as MP. He’s apparently responded to over 5,000 letters in his three years as an MP.
Who will win? Stephen would like you to re-elect him as part of a Labour Government.
TOTAL: 30 – 19 = a score of +11

Candidate: Ben Foday
Party: Plaid Cymru / Party of Wales
Bumf: 2
Definite promises: 6
Contact: 0 – all generic contact details
Photos: 6 (one used twice on the same leaflet). There’s a picture of Leanne Wood in each leaflet, but evidently Ben hasn’t met her or didn’t have his camera with him when he did.
Bilingual: 2 – (both fully bilingual with Welsh first)
Blame: 0
Negative comments: 0 (although they do say that ‘Westminster isn’t working’ and ‘Don’t let the others take your vote for granted’ so they neatly side-step getting dinged)
Other politicians: 0
Sloganeering: -5
Comment: Ben needs a better designer as several of the photos in his leaflet have been stretched out of proportion. One leaflet included a good bit talking about what Plaid have done in Parliament in the last few years.
Who will win? Plaid reckon it’s going to be a hung parliament so vote for them to ensure Wales has a stronger voice. Interesting strategy.
TOTAL: 18 – 5 = a score of +13

Candidate: John Rees-Evans
Party: UKIP
Bumf: 5 (but 2 don’t mention the candidate at all)
Definite promises: 49 (mainly based on a detailed ‘Policies for People in Wales’ leaflet – not counting any that just say UKIP supports... or UKIP opposes...)
Contact: 3 (including a QR code)
Photos: 3, possibly 4, it’s hard to be sure. Being generous, so will give him 4 points.
Bilingual: None
Blame: 2 (“the Tories and Labour have failed us”)
Negative comments: 11
Other politicians: 2 unflattering pictures of Ed Miliband, including the famous bacon sandwich pic
Sloganeering: 40 (Again, a lot of these came out of the Policies for Wales leaflet.)
Comments: UKIP are at least up front about what they want to do, but there are times when they are a bit disingenuous, e.g. talking about developing shale gas without using the word fracking. There is also a laughable disconnect between their leaflet’s promises to prevent the privatisation of the NHS and what their leaders are on record as saying. But no one gets dinged for that, so, they are off the hook.
Who will win? “UKIP are trailing Labour only very narrowly in Cardiff South & Penarth and the final result may be extremely close.” So, predicting Labour to win then...
TOTAL: 61 – 55 = a total of + 6

Candidate: Emma Warman
Party: Conservative Party
Bumf: 1
Definite promises: 2
Contact: 4 (including a Facebook profile)
Photos: 5 + 1 bonus point for a picture of her with David Cameron
Bilingual: 1
Blame: 0
Negative comments: 2
Other politicians: A bumper crop of 5
Sloganeering: 5
Comment: Emma needs to smile more in her pictures. She looks downright miserable in the photo of her handing over a big cheque to charity. (Insert your own joke here.)
Who will win? Vote Tory or get a “Coalition of Chaos” says Emma. Serious warning because the last coalition has been chaotic, I guess.
TOTAL: 16 – 12 = a total of + 4

The verdict. It looks like the Liberal Desperates have finally got tired in this constituency and given up. There’s been nothing from them. Plaid Cymru seem to have a nice candidate. UKIP are regressive, most of their definite promises are about repealing stuff or leaving various different parts of the EU. The Tories have parachuted in someone, although she did get to go down Cardiff Bay with a camera to take some photos. Shame she didn’t smile in them a bit more. Our current MP is proud of his record and his local links to the area. It’s a shame there haven’t been any minority parties pushing stuff through the door. That’s always good for this kind of blog post. 

The other thing I wish I'd done is ding people for using obvious stock photography. Ah, well, maybe in 2020.

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