I've been reviewing election leaflets since 2007 - here's a page with links to my previous reviews. I didn't do the general election in 2019 because I was profoundly depressed with politics at that point and I couldn't face it. But I did count up the leaflets and record them on my chart of election bumf.
Retroactively, we can see that Labour gave out a lot fewer leaflets in 2019 than they did in 2017, the Liberal Democrats reappeared and UKIP was still flat-lining.
Anyway, this year I'm picking up the reins again and will soon be reviewing the leaflets we have received. However, I am changing how I review these leaflets this year by reviewing what the parties promise as SMART Goals versus Vague Objectives. A SMART Goal is something that has specific, measurable promises that can be assessed as being delivered. So, for example, "we will build 20 new schools in Wales by 2025" is a SMART Goal. In 2025 we will know whether or not that promise has been met. Saying something like "we want every child in Wales to receive a high quality education" is a vague objective. Yes, that's very nice, but how will you know that's happening?
Alongside points for SMART Goals, I'm also going to award points for the following:
- number of items (double points for leaflets that are bilingual)
- contact details (a point for each method)
- points for each candidate photo with a bonus point for photos with the party leader
- a point for each "endorsement" from someone else on their leaflet
And I will ding points for each Vague Objective and the following:
- throwing shade (basically who do they slag off? A point for every target regardless how many times they go for it)
- photos of politicians from other parties, photos of the area that don't include the candidate, and using stock photos of people (photos of news events don't count)
- any typos I spot
Plus there will be a bonus category of "Pandemic Points" for how many times the pandemic gets mentioned (directly or indirectly), which could be used as a tie-breaker if the points equal out.