Finally, the Liberal Democrats have bothered to deliver their election address to the voter, albeit two days before polling day. You could call it a Get Out the Vote leaflet but considering it is blanket-distribution and as they put it through the door of a former Tory councillor and a current Tory councillor (well at least for another 48 hours) it isn’t.
I don’t think the Lib Dems are taking Holywells ward very seriously despite saying on page two of their leaflet that Holywells has only ever had Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors. I can only remember Tories in Holywells and I’ve been knowledgeable of Ipswich politics for ten years. Last year’s election results saw the Yellow Peril come a distant third in with only 213 votes so I’d suggest they are being a tad optimistic with their rhetoric.
The Lib Dems would seem to have a big problem in attracting people to stand as candidates. Robert Chambers, son of defeated councillor Jane Chambers in last year’s elections, is their Holywells candidate. Next door in Alexandra Ward, her daughter, Catherine Chambers, is the Liberal Democrat candidate. The Chambers are either trying to create an Ipswich political dynasty or the Yellow Peril are desperate for candidates and activists – I bet it’s the latter.
The front-page of the election address – Holywells Ward Focus – promotes the candidate over the party – oh dear, that’s probably lost them a few votes. No one is going to go to the polling station (apart from may be ten people for a completely new candidate) and look for Robert Chambers – if they want to vote Lib Dem (and I suspect only about 200 will again want to) then they will look for the bird. The Yellow Peril really have lost their campaigning touch!
The leaflet is poorly laid out throughout. It’s looks as if it was designed using Microsoft Publisher. I bet they wish they had a graphic designer like local Tory Stephen Ion in their camp who only uses state-of-the art Apple desktop publishing. Better text formatting, rather than inconsistent fonts and spaces in the wrong place, plus more action pictures on the story subjects would be more hard-hitting. Political campaigning is advertising, that’s all.
Putting aside the dreadful text formatting in the middle section of the leaflet where you can’t separate the wood for the trees it is so poorly laid out, the Yellow Peril have included a poster, which majors on both the Party brand and the candidate’s name. A good tactic!
The back-page is just plain dreadful. It makes one’s eyes hurt just trying to read it – and I don’t mean because it has a picture of Andrew Cann. Writing in block capital letters is a school-boy error – it never helps to shout at your electorate! The mixture of stories is confusing – what is the central message? The white text on yellow looks washed out and can’t be easily read. “£45 a Month better off” and “£90 a month better off” (note their difference in case for the word ‘month’ – oh dear!) but better off for who and why??
On a positive note, the Lib Dems have used their mass-distribution leaflet to drum up financial and activist support for their Party. Labour never miss this trick but the Tories did this year (which as the former constituency chairman, I find particularly grating!).
The Lib Dems used to be a campaigning force to be reckoned with but along with their vote their skill-base is draining away as well. Whoever designed and wrote this leaflet needs to be assigned duties elsewhere in the party machine. Not that it matters in Holywells – they will be lucky to beat the Greens into third place!
UPDATE: I have uploaded the front and back of the Liberal Democrats election address to ElectionLeaflets.org at http://www.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/7216/