Election leaflets: ‘targeted, effective and sometimes very bitter’

As the Irish general election leaflet website put it:

Election leaflets are one of the main weapons in the fight for votes.

They are targeted, effective and sometimes very bitter.

We need your help to photograph, scan and record them so we can keep an eye on what the parties are up to, and try to keep them honest.

The website – brought to you by the same folks as Kildare Street – managed to get 254 leaflets recorded back in February – by voters simply scanning or photographing and then following a simple procedure to upload the communication. Thus, a greater number of people are enabled to scrutinise said leaflets for dodgy claims, dodgy photographs and dodgy spelling.

The equivalent UK website hasn’t yet managed to record quite so many leaflets from NI this election-time. A grand total of zero so far, as far as I can see (until I just added one, that is), although they have a a couple of dozen from last year’s Westminster poll outing. But there’s still plenty of time, so I thought I’d give it this plug.

Let’s not forget Northern Ireland’s glorious election leaflet history, even in recent times. Just last year, we had the Allister v Ian Jr spat which made it to the High Court back in April 2010. (Allister lost. Again.) This was the disputed leaflet, by the way. Justice Gillen, refusing Allister’s attempt to secure an injunction, noted:

In my view electioneering statements should not be perused with all the precision of a jeweller’s scales.

Fair enough, but there are limits. Remember the 2005 leaflet being distributed in South Antrim, in Alliance colours, but with an anti-Alliance message – David Ford pointed the finger at the Ulster Unionists: a “dirty tricks campaign designed to help the UUP”. Although, as far as I recall, no-one was ever brought to book for that one.

Whether you want to upload them to electionleaflets.org to help create a searchable database for the purposes of greater political scrutiny … or just to yfrog to generate a laugh, please do. @stewartfinn from Team Purvis did the latter via Twitter with this gem from Michael McGimpsey:

Un-noteworthy, apart from the typographical brilliance of getting ‘Finlay 2’ so small! You see, an election leaflet can say so much, even if it doesn’t always mean to…

Anyway, use whatever service you like to record and share your election leaflets, but if there are any of note, please use this thread to link and comment.


  • Comrade Stalin

    I received a UUP leaflet today. In the leaflet, Tom Elliott repeats the claim that Peter Robinson believes that Catriona Ruane is doing a good job.

    Very difficult to believe that Robinson would make a comment like that. Where did Elliott get this from ?

  • romolampkin

    I believe that he is referring to this article.

    Now I’m no fan of the DUP but praising someone for not acting like a child when they are given a crappy budget, is not the same as praising them generally.

  • CS, can you upload and link to the leaflet, so others can see the claim?

  • SDLP supporter

    In the Balmoral DEA of Belfast City Council the most, in my opinion, despicable and coat-trailing comment comes from the election communication of outgoing UUP councillor Jim Kirkpatrick:

    “The question is quite simply this, do the DUP/Sinn Fein prefer a revamped Casement Park or continued quality Healthcare for ALL.”

    No mention that, while GAA got £15 million for an upgrade, Windsor Park (soccer) got a similar amount and Ravenhill (rugby) got £14.7 million. Not even a mention of his running mate, Bob Stoker.

    Kirpkpatrick, who was elected as DUP in 2005, but who has since switched to UUP and who, as a commentator noted, has been in more parties than Paris Hilton, also apparently believes he is living in the year 2014 “29 years of service…first elected 1985”.

    If the guy even lived in Balmoral, he would have noticed that GAA is probably the sport the greatest number of young people take part in, thanks to the excellent St. Brigid’s GAA club.

  • alex gray

    Never mind election leaflets. Am I wrong but does Danny Kinahan’s throwing of a free party to celebrate the royal wedding at his stately home Castle Upton announced in the News Letter this morning not constitute some kind of breach of electoral laws – reminiscent of the days when you bought a vote for a free drink or for food – in rotten boroughs? Is it not also wrong for a candidate to involve members of the royal family in his campaign, however indirectly? Joking apart, it does look like – eat my food and vote for me.

  • alex gray

    Sorry folks, I got it wrong – Kinahan is CHARGING for attending his party – £5 a car – so it’s a cheap publicity stunt at a time when ordinary people are less concerned with partying than getting or keeping a job. By the way I didn’t think you could charge for Royal Wedding street parties – not that a Castle is my idea of a “street” party – he’d better donate his takings to the Queen !! Anway, Mr Kinahan, party on – let them eat cake.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Patrick, the scanner is languishing somewhere beyond use. I will see if I can dig it out. The precise quote attributed to Tom Elliott is “To listen to Peter Robinson, Ms Ruane is doing a good job as Education Minister”.

  • dennis the menace

    I find it amazing that with one week to go to polling day , the UUP are going to spend tomorrow talking about peter robinson and that quote.

    The UUP campaign started badly and hasnt really improved

  • Sanctus Boscus

    I’ve uploaded some leaflets received in Holywood including the UUP one. ‘A message from the leader’ is here