Five days to go until the big day. The General Election on 8th June. Only today have I received the first printed marketing from the Welsh Conservatives candidate Laura Knightly. After reading the material and viewing her social media I’m curious if Ms Knightly is really running.
The leaflet’s content is a mere template that no doubt is being regurgitated for further candidates in other constituencies. Mostly about Brexit and the overused soundbites with “Strong and Stable” and “Coalition of Chaos”, the only policy item is relegated to two sentences that refer to local health services and education.
Moreover, a quarter of the visual space is disgracefully occupied by a boilerplate from Theresa May that fails to mention the candidate or the district by name. Are we that insignificant? The leaflet is a pattern.
While there were some photos of voters, these are in volume a minority compared to the overwhelmingly shared statuses and tweets from the Conservative Party and Theresa May’s accounts. One could be forgiven for viewing Ms Knightly’s Twitter and Facebook profiles for that of someone running for the chair of Theresa May fan club.
A Contrast of Priorities
This is in stark contrast to the incumbent Labour MP Mark Tami who has established himself as a locally-focused MP after the unforgettable Lord Barry Jones PC stepped down in 2001. Mr Tami’s digital and printed marketing predictably focus on issues of local people even though I may disagree with his left-wing answers. Despite this, he has demonstrated compassion and a work-ethic that has provided a string of positive outcomes for people and business.
Therefore, the alternative to Tami is a weak one. How can such a contender convey the concerns of the 82,505-strong population in addition to the many SMEs and larger companies like Toyota and Airbus on which thousands of jobs rely when they cannot afford the effort to communicate policy?
Brexit is not the be all and end all – the Tories or Labour are going to pass laws that negatively affect companies and people – it’s government’s natural tendency. With the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act, the Tories have begun reducing civil liberties and imposed the impossible on tech companies by demanding exceptional access in encryption that can never be detached from unacceptable risk (see my last post) . This is set to continue with the technical regulations bill. On Twitter, I did not hold my frustration by Tami’s absence for the vote. I do however, prefer an absence to a blind aye.
No Vote from Local Tories
Spare a thought for the Alyn & Deeside Conservative Association. Just as Ms Knightly is being imposed on us, she has also been imposed them by Tory central HQ who expressed their disappointment who put forward two candidates of their own in early May.
We see an applicant who is really a puppet on strings that appears without independent thought. Though she may have sincere political aspirations of her own, with clarity we can see she does not yet possess the attributes needed to represent.
Fear Over Taxes, Spending and Public Debt
As a libertarian, public spending increases have often been my frustration. And sure, it’s going to be worse under Jeremy Corbyn with planned nationalisation of industries, more taxes and needless regulations to burden businesses and their employees with. Nevertheless, it is pathetic for the Tories to stoke up such fear, especially in a regional election, when both public debt and spending continues to soar after seven years in power with yet more proposals for new income taxes on the horizon.
I take no pride in delivering this criticism. I want to see lower taxes, decrease in debt, fewer bureaucratic regulations and ending the attack on civil liberties nationwide. However, it is just as important, regardless of candidates’ dogma, a representative who can critically think and address their constituents’ concerns without resorting to their party’s soundbites.
We, the people of Alyn & Deeside demand better. We deserve better.