Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Ipswich Local Elections Update: Review of Labour’s Local Voice

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A bit later than I hoped (unfortunately the job which pays the mortgage has to come first) I’ve taken a look at Labour’s election address which was pushed through my door earlier this week.

Unlike the Conservatives’ leaflet, the first word which jumps out of you is Labour. The headline is “Labour’s plan for jobs and growth” and immediately to the left in the side bar are the words “Vote Labour“.

It is clearly a generic leaflet, in a clever newspaper format, which looks designed to be distributed across the town so no one particular candidate is promoted. But as I said in my review of the Conservative election address the vast majority of people go to the polling station to vote for a political party and at local elections on the whole the electorate will a) not have met the candidate (I have not been canvassed at all during this campaign and never have been since I moved to my current home in 2006!) and b) frankly, they won’t care who the local candidate is. It’s the rose, the tree or the bird they are looking for and that’s it. Of course, there some people who are looking for the candidate’s name but they are in the minority by some margin.  Sorry to disappoint the egos of the candidates!

Labour’s Local Voice looks to the future with a number of policy announcements. I criticised the Conservatives for concentrating on the past but it is far easier for the incumbent, which Labour are at Ipswich Borough Council, to announce what they will do when they are already in power.

The Labour literature also ticks the boxes for a big picture and few words. The headline story is textbook with a large picture of a three rather suspicious looking characters with hard hats (Cllrs Mowles, Ellesmere, and Quinton) and two large headlines. The text in the article is mainly made up of easy to read bullet points and, importantly, lots of white space. More space is allocated to pictures than words in the sidebar. People will only scan political leaflets and this is borne in mind by whoever designed the front-page of Labour’s election address.

The inside pages also follow the same theme of lots of big pictures and white space. The coloured stand-out boxes are a good technique.  Page 3 has another picture of Cllr Ellesemere (any one would think he was Labour’s challenger to Ben Gummer at the next General Election). This page is not very well laid-out with far too much text about Labour’s achievements and the green stand-out box with italicised text does not encourage us to read it.

Labour do their usual trick of painting the Tories as evil, which they do with a classic ticks and crosses stand-out box:

Labour peddle the lie that they brought John Lewis at Home and Waitrose to Ipswich when they did nothing of the sort. These were cross-party planning decisions and if anyone helped bring Waitrose to the town it was the former Conservative-led administration and the work their transport chief, Cllr Tanya Maclure, did to improve the Giles Circus landscape which is situated right outside the new Little Waitrose store in the town centre – and is an improvement Labour were vehemently against whilst the Giles Circus new pedestrian and road scheme was being constructed.  Labour were also against £9million being invested by Tesco on the western end of the Waterfront with all Labour councillors voting AGAINST the jobs and investment when the decision was made at the Planning Committee.
Labour’s claim they introduced free tickets for serving members of the armed forces to see shows at the Regent and Corn Exchange is laughable considering it was a motion laid down at a Council meeting by Tory group leader Cllr John Carnall that brought in this policy.

Going back to style and format of Labour’s Local Voice, the back-page in contrast to the front-page is a disappointment. There is no clear message due to there being too much text. There is a picture of Adam Leeder, Labour’s candidate in Alexandra Ward, which is strange as the newspaper was delivered in Holywells Ward where Labour’s candidate is Elango Elavalakan. The articles on the back page look like a standard set from Labour HQ in Victoria Street, London which have been added to the locally produced pages – this means the formatting is inconsistent to the other pages but let’s face it most people will probably only read the front-page then bin it.

The ‘We want to hear from you’ section is very good and makes use of the thousands of copies which will be distributed to homes to drum up new activists and members and money for the Labour Party. The Conservative leaflet completely missed this trick, which as a former Tory constituency chairman, is quite grating.
There is also a banner at the top of page three letting readers know who to call or email to organise a postal vote – something which the Conservative election address also lacked.

Despite Labour’s economies with the truth, the leaflet pretty much does the job as the front-page is a classic example of a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) leaflet, having the words ‘Labour’ and ‘Vote’ and an action picture.

The front-page and back-page of the leaflet have been uploaded to ElectionLeaflets.org here.

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

One thought on “Ipswich Local Elections Update: Review of Labour’s Local Voice

  1. GavinAs a Former Conservative Cllr, not sure why you would expect to be canvassed – but glad you like our 'Local Voice'

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