The local LibDem leaflet landed on our doorstep yesterday and, seeing as I’ve reviewed the others already, it’s only fair that I review this one too. This now means we have had publicity from 4 of the 5 parties standing in this constituency, with only the Green party yet to furnish us with campaign material. Maybe they’re trying to save paper.
As yesterday was a Sunday, I’m guessing that the delivery was by hand as opposed to through the post like other leaflets have been. I later saw the LibDem candidate Mukhtar Ali out campaigning – well, sat in the back of a taxi with a megaphone on the roof – so yesterday may well have been their big campaign day in my area. I’ve yet to see any other candidates out in the same way so far but I may just have missed them.
The leaflet itself looks the cheapest of the lot, printed on standard white paper in black and white (click here to view it full size). It’s two sides of A4, but is folded three ways so that the ‘New Iraq War Outrage’ headline is the first bit that you see. Indeed, most of the leaflet centres around the Iraq war and the evidence that surfaced last week that Tony Blair ignored advice that the war would be illegal, with the issue occupying all of the front side and most of the back.
If there was any advice about not resorting to negative campaigning then it hasn’t filted down to Ali. While the other leaflets take digs at the other parties, this one gets personal and takes direct digs at two of the other candidates. Exhibit A:
The Labour candidate and ex MP voted strongly in favour of Foundation Hospitals, Compulsory Identity Cards and Student Top up Fees. (source www.theyworkforyou.com)
That he did, and the web site referenced says the same thing. The same web site also says that the Labour candidate and ex MP voted against the Iraq war, which does somewhat undermine the whole argument about a vote for Labour being a vote for the war (which seems to be what the leaflet is mostly about). Furthermore, it doesn’t say why these subjects are necessarily bad – I myself am undecided as to whether Foundation Hospitals are a bad idea so that means little to me.
Then there’s the dig at the Conservative candidate:
The Conservative candidate apparently believes the Conservative party to be racist and tried and failed to join the Liberal Democrats when he was in dispute with the conservatives
That’s 3 mentions of the word ‘Conservatives’ in one sentence, the last one missing a capital letter and no full stop at the end. Unlike his statement about the Labour candidate there is no web site listed to back up this claim so we’ll just call this hearsay for now.
Finally there’s a statement about the problems with Bradford Hospitals and how money channelled into the war effort could have been better spent here. Apart from this there isn’t really anything that covers any of the LibDem’s other policies – pretty much the whole leaflet is used for attacking Labour on the war. I wouldn’t say this was a good idea – while 41% of the constituents are from an Asian background, who mostly oppose the war, it does make the LibDems look like a single-issue party.
Photo-wise we get just the one mugshot of Ali on the back – George W. Bush and Tony Blair both, however, get two photos – one on either side. It seems to use the Arial font throughout.
So far, out of all of the leaflets, Marsha Singh’s Labour leaflet is the best, in my opinion – while it skirts around some issues it looks very swish. Haroon Rashid’s leaflet for the Conservatives comes in second – a bit low on text but otherwise it looks good. The BNP’s leaflet was on better paper but I still think it comes last, with this one on third. Alas, unfortunately for Singh and Rashid, I won’t be voting purely on how good I think candidates leaflets are.