Thursday, 18 March 2010

Labour's Election Leaflet – Sponsored by Manchester City Council!

The local election campaign's been going on in these parts for several months now, at least as far as the “Lib” Dems are concerned. I've been receiving one of their Focus leaflets once a month like clockwork since about the middle of last year – plus a Christmas card, plus a calendar. They're really determined to get their man onto the City Council this May. But at least they (or their rich backers) are paying for their own propaganda, which is fair enough. The incumbent Labour councillor seems to be taking a more laid-back attitude – all I've had off his lot lately has been a letter from the local MP. Nothing else until yesterday.

Yesterday, a copy of “Manchester People” landed on my doormat. This is a “newsletter” published by the Labour-dominated Manchester City Council, supposedly to keep the local population informed about what's going on, and also supposedly non-party political. The headline was “Warm welcome for council tax freeze” - unbiased or what? Especially as the “freeze” in council tax that the council is bragging about is nothing of the kind – if you look way down towards the bottom of the front page (Paragraph 7) you'll find the admission: “Although the Council's element of your council tax bill is frozen, there may be slight increases in the smaller police and fire precepts.” Expect a rise, in other words – maybe 1 or 2%. In these times of hardship, the council should be going all out to cut council tax by getting rid of unnecessary waste and focusing on core services – scrapping “Manchester People” would be a small step in the right direction.

The other major story on the front page and continued onto Page 3 is about the upcoming Manchester Day Parade – another expense that we can do without. The rest of the publication is mostly upbeat filler about how well Manchester's doing (despite the massive unemployment and unacceptable crime levels) and how we all love recycling. Page 15 is given over almost entirely to the decision by the council to allow an outfit called Goals Soccer Centres to demolish part of Heaton Park and build a sports complex there. To those readers who live outside the area, Heaton Park is a huge area (actually the grounds of a stately home) on the north edge of Manchester that was sold to Manchester City Council in 1902 to be kept for the enjoyment of the general public. It's a lovely place, very popular in the spring and summer, the place is full of people in the good weather. Now the council wants to vandalise it. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of opposition to this proposal, in fact I haven't met anyone who's had a good word to say about it – you wouldn't think so from reading “Manchester People” though – I couldn't find one word questioning any council policy in the whole rag.

Instead of “Manchester People” it might just as well have been entitled “Vote Labour” - but then the Labour Party would have had to have paid for it themselves, wouldn't they? Easier just to charge it to the taxpayer.

1 comment:

sound money man said...

PR exercises like this are huge own goal.

No-one is fooled by them. Its just more junk mail.

The only people who read these leaflets are politically aware or active types like yourself Stuart.

Just as very few blokes buy herbal penis enlargement products marketed through spam, I can't think of anyone who read one of those leaflets and came away with a positive impression.

Local election turn outs are what...20% on average?