It’s definitely election season again. The first clue was the local MP dusting off his campaign against local housing. I feel fairly certain all the local parties will be campaigning to protect our green spaces but only one party I know of thought filming a campaign video in the middle of the third national lockdown constituted a reasonable excuse to leave home.
Talking of the pandemic, the Conservative Government have got a lot wrong as they repeatedly failed to control the virus and save lives. In fact we are at the relax lockdown restrictions too early phase of the UK Covid19 groundhog day. Soon to be followed by the Eat Out to Help the Virus Out reboot. Not to mention the “why aren’t you all back in the office?” accusations in June. While the NHS is doing an amazing job rolling out the first dose of vaccines, it’s worrying that those vaccines seem to be giving everyone a false sense of security. Let’s hope we’re not just creating the perfect conditions for a world-beating vaccine resistant UK Covid variant.
Anyway, despite all that, one thing the government hasn’t been accused of mishandling through the pandemic was not being tough enough on leaflet deliveries. Not introducing effective quarantine has been mentioned. PPE has been mentioned a lot. Why won’t they stop people delivering takeaway leaflets not so much. Strange then that election leaflets should be such a hot topic of debate in Eastleigh political circles. Is it just Eastleigh?
I don’t know about anyone else but none of the leaflets are actually helping me decide who to vote for. All the favourite NIMBY issues are covered, lots of helpful comments about who can win, who would ‘get in’ if you wasted your vote, where people live, what terrible deeds the other party has committed, and so on. They do waste a tiny bit of space on their own policies, but practically none on anything as boring as evidence.
To be fair, all the leaflets are a complete waste of paper, but somehow the Lib Dem leaflets always manage to wind me up the most. Perhaps it’s because they really don’t just appear at election time- they annoy me all year long! That and their habit of being ever so slightly economical with the truth. After years of campaigning on protecting green fields the most high profile exposure has been green field gate gate. Shortly afterwards we got a leaflet with three ‘facts’ about the Boorley Green development- perhaps it would have been better to be up-front about the complexities of local planning. A step in the right direction but they seem to be suggesting that it’s a choice between the golf course and all the other countryside that’s helpfully coloured in green. Let’s see how that map looks in 50 years.
Amazingly they’ve moved on from protecting the countryside. (The last leaflet didn’t mention it once!) Unfortunately the new topics are about what the Conservatives are doing, not about what the Lib Dems are promising to do. So negative as well as misleading.
Apparently the county council has been wasting money on new offices. No mention of the Lib Dem’s own office move but it’s the £12,000 price tag for 6 taps that really stands out. It would be nice if they explained how you can spend that much on taps, except that might make them appear even more petty.
And finally, my personal favourite is how the county council is ‘wasting’ money on streaming meetings. Now you could quibble about the exact cost (I expect you get what you pay for to some extent) but it seems to me like they’re actually saying it’s not worth spending money on improving transparency and democracy. Given the track record of the town council, I can understand that. It would have been great to see what happened in Botley recently as well, but that wasn’t available online either. Sadly, democracy costs money. I wonder how much money the by-election is costing. Remind me why we actually need a by-election?