*I have just taken photos of all of them on my phone, to break this blog entry up a bit. Sat down at my desk to discover that I can't find the USB cable that connects my phone to my laptop ANYWHERE. So, apologies. I'd even graffitied the UKIP one and everything*
I shall be analysing them in alphabetical order, which means we jump into the deep (incredibly shallow, surely? Ed.) end straight away...
British National Party (BNP)
We start with the BNP, who have sent out a rather garish, double sided and slightly aggressive flyer. Let's take a look at the content.
"Bring Our Troops Home - The British National Party supports our soldiers. We'll bring them home and stop Labour's criminal waste of young lives."
Pretty much the first sentence in and already we're infected with stupid nonsense. Also, I particularly like the contradiction there - we support our troops, that's why we want them home with absolutely nothing to do!
"Put a Stop to Immigration - We are being swamped and being made foreigners in our own country. Together we can shut the floodgates for good."
Swamped, I verily tell you! I tried to walk down to my local shop yesterday, but I couldn't go because all the foreign immigrants were blocking my way :(
"Raise the Weekly Pension to £150 - The £18 billion Lab-Lib-Con give China and India to 'adapt' to non-existent Climate Change should go to our pensioners."
Climate Change = non-existent.
All of this is followed by my favourite phrase of all time:
"We're NOT Second Class Citizens!"
I've still no idea what that means.
"GET EVEN - Vote British National Party"
At the bottom there's a picture of Nick Griffin and Winston Churchill next to each other - two (un)lovable racist rogues. And on the back is more guff about our troops. Let's be honest though, laughing at the stupidity of the BNP is like taking candy from a baby, or like kicking a puppy - both things I've done numerous times, but ultimately nothing to write home about. Let's move swiftly on.
First impressions - this is very well put together. It unfolds out like one of those city maps you buy when you go on holiday, has lots of stuff in it and is brightly coloured but in a nice way - light blue, a splash of green and white, compared to the garish purple and yellow of the aforementioned. Can't help thinking that this professional look has come straight from Lord Ashcroft's pocket, mind you.
On the front is my local MP, gurning like a good'un in his light blue tie. Once opened up, the flyer is pretty standard fare - picture of my MP standing outside the local hospital, and with troops. A picture of an elderly couple, another of children holding hands, etc. What I particularly like about the flyer however is that when it's outlining the Tory policies, they've mixed together national stuff with local issues. Admittedly, I'm impressed by little things, but I've seen far too many election literature down the years that has focused on one and not the other.
On the back is a little section dedicated to how to contact my local MP - via post, phone, e-mail or website. Complete with the same gurning photo. I may be influenced by the vulgar nonsense of the last flyer, but this is the best one of the lot, in my humble opinion.
Labour and Co-operative
This is the smallest flyer of the five, and is in the form of a page-turning booklet, which is pretty well done. When it comes to the colours - no mucking about, traditional red and white all the way. On the front we again have a shit-eating grin, and three pledges which sound awfully shallow and don't really say a lot:
"I will stand up for The Wrekin, listen to you and vote in Parliament for what is right."
"I will work hard in the local community, making myself available to all."
"I will campaign to save the Princess Royal Hospital by promoting public membership of the Foundation Trust."
See what I mean? Opening it up we have a splendid picture of the candidate out and about, meeting people etc. alongside a testimony by a local resident. This particular statement caught my eye however:
"I will strive for international security and peace, to combat climate change and make sure its costs do not fall on the poorest people."
No need mate - the BNP tells me it's non-existent, so there's no need to worry about that shit.
On the back, like the Conservative one is a section dedicated to contact details - again, I like that, and interesting to note that none of the other three bother with that bit. Also like the Tory one is the fact that this isn't bad - it's a bit "paint by numbers" but it works. Let's see if the Lib Dem one can step up to the plate...
The Lib Dems in this area are represented by a lady called Ali Daw. Except she isn't. When she was first put forward I was sure she had a double-barrelled surname, and her website proves that her real name is Alyson Cameron-Daw. Why the change, Alyson? If you ever read this - get in touch, would love to find out your thinking there.
The front cover has a picture of Ali, and also Nick Clegg. This is particularly interesting in that it's only this flyer and the BNP one that features their respective leaders on their front covers - and the Labour one does not have a picture or a reference to Gordon Brown at all! On the front cover is this statement:
"Nick Clegg's tax plan means that you will pay no tax on the first £10,000 you earn - cutting most tax bills by £700."
Which sounds very splendid, until you ponder for a moment about the impact that will have at this time of economic rubbishness (sorry folks, there is a reason tax exists, and is necessary) and you'll realise that this idea is a bit mental. Much like the Lib Dems as a whole, mind.
We open up the leaflet to find another picture of Clegg, this time with the man, the myth, the legend, Vince Cable. The colour scheme is all over the place I'm afraid here - red, orange, white, three shades of green, blue....bit of a disaster all round. There's a big piece about Ali (once again conveniently ignoring her real name) about her background and so on - teacher, London Stock Exchange, Reuters, The FT...not a shabby CV by any means. Underneath that is a section dedicated to her pledges towards the constituents. We turn to the back page...and another picture of Clegg! A rather shameless attempt at riding on the back of Clegg's impressive TV debate showings, but fully understandable I suppose.
Right, 4 down, 1 to go. Come on, we can do this together people. We finish with....
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
VOTE UKIP the front cover screams at me in big white letters, which certainly stands out over the purple background (with yellow on the borders). Amusingly, that's pretty much all it says, apart from the hilariously bad "Straight talking. Vote UKIP" slogan at the bottom. Turn it over...and we have that same slogan again, this time at the top, and a profile of the UKIP candidate. This profile consists of, quite literally, 8 words.
What follows is a few lame sentences about local issues and...well...that's it. It's almost like they don't expect to win! Sorry I can't say more than that but...actually, I'm not sorry, they're bloody mad anyway.
So, what are my voting intentions at this moment in time, with only 3 (three!) days to go? Well, I'm discounting three parties pretty much straight away, leaving me with the Conservatives and Labour. My present MP is a Tory, and I've got to be honest he's done a perfectly capable job - he wasn't caught up in the expenses scandal, and he's worked hard on local issues that concern me such as the future of the local hospital, the future of RAF Cosford and others. Yet, I really don't want a Tory Government and have never voted for them. Which swings me to Labour - but why should I vote for the Labour candidate when the Tory one is doing a fine job here? I suppose that's the problem with our current electoral system, and I suppose that illustrates why with only 3 (three!) days to go I'm still undecided. May the best man win!
I'll leave you with some numbers from these flyers which I found interesting:
0 - The number of references to Gordon Brown in the Labour flyer.
5 - The number of references to Gordon Brown in the Conservative flyer.