Friday 29 May 2009

Election Mail (Northern Ireland Style)

I've finally got some election literature (not that the writing exactly warrants that description) for Northern Ireland. So far I have something from all of the major (and some not-quite-so-major) parties, except for the UUP/Conservatives' Jim Nicholson. Here's a quick overview for anyone who wants a taste of NI political leafleting (you know who you are):

DUP/No Group (Diane Dodds):

Medium-sized booklet promising "Strong Leadership in Challenging Times". The chief concern is on preventing Sinn Féin from topping the poll and the state of Unionism in general. It is almost entirely composed of one-line long bullet points (European issues are mentioned in 2-3 out of 22 of them on the inside pages). EU-wise the DUP is for the "best deal from Brussels for business, farmers and fishermen" - it doesn't elaborate, but my impression from their campaign so far is that they want less regulation and CFP reform.

Sinn Féin/GUE-NGL (Bairbre de Brún):

Tiny stretched postcard of a leaflet; tagline: "Putting Ireland First". Has "MEP" written beside Bairbre de Brún's name, which I thought wasn't allowed (but that might only apply to election posters). Contains a mere two paragraphs - one English, one in Irish. Talks about delivering for Ireland, supporting various communities (agriculture, business, etc) and mentions the potential of a green economy. No policies outlined or even general stances on policy areas mentioned.

Jim Allister/No Group (Traditional Unionist Voice):

Booklet with the most writing out of the bunch. Tagline: "Experience, Principle, Integrity". Main points are the need for a full time MEP (claiming that 70% of laws originate in the EU), outrage over Sinn Féin being in government (the NI regional government) with the DUP (his former party), and his principles on moral and constitutional issues. Highlights his number of speeches, oral questions and written questions versus the 2 other NI MEPs and the NI MEPs of the previous EP, and his ability in "Opposing Sinn Féin 24/7".

Talks about local government issues, but he does talk about European issues - EU funding (he wants more), farming (wants fewer Brazilian imports), CFP (against), regulation (proposes a "regulation holiday"), traditional family values (for), Euro (against) and the Lisbon Treaty (against). Has quotes from Farage and Hannan praising him.

The Alliance Party/ELDR (Ian Parsley - not connected to the more famous Ian):

Fold-out leaflet; tagline: "Replace the Politics of Fear with the Politics of Hope". Pro-European, but not much that stands out - wants to make Europe closer to its citizens, to make it work for citizens, and is pro-green investment - but no policies. May be what Julien Frisch has yearned for in terms of "European experience" - Parsley has lived in Germany, Spain and England, speaks fluent German and Spanish and he has set up his own business (though it doesn't mention if this business was outside NI).

SDLP/PES (Alban Maginness):

Small fold-out poster; tagline: "When we Win, You Win" - in English, Irish, Polish and Spanish. Highlights his online campaign, which in website terms is on all the usual suspects; though his blog makes a play on the old Guinness ad slogan, calling it: "Maginness is Good for EU". Describes himself as "passionately pro-European", and there are some bullet points, which is pretty much the same sort of stuff as in the other parties, except the anti-CFP and defensive CAP stance of NI in general is gentler in rhetoric. Emphasises the importance of the PES and belonging to one of the big EP groups - and has the PES logo beside the SDLP one (one of only two to have the Group logo on their literature - at least, out of this collection).

Green Party/Greens-EFA (Steven Agnew):

Another fold-out booklet; tagline: "For a New Green Deal". One of the few candidates I have actually met in person, but that was a year ago. Calls for a "Green Industrial Revolution" and claims that 5 million jobs could be created across Europe if there's proper investment in green technology (seems possible) - with 50, 000 of them in NI (which I don't personally find a particularly convincing number). Also highlights its links with its EP Group (one column devoted to it), though the group logo is small and on one of the inside pages.

I have to say that none of the leaflets actually impacted on or changed how I'm planning to vote (at the moment, anyway), but that could be because I'm just interested in politics so I'd already knew the outline of the parties' stances. Does leafleting have much of an impact on your voting intentions?

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