Friday, July 16, 2004

Raising the profile

Well, there are now a large number of posters up around the Ward. I made 100 laminated signs and have 20 left which I will put up this evening, weather permitting. I have signed the main arteries but still have a few peripheral areas to cover off, including Rein Road and Scotchman Lane.

The poster put up around the Ward

Candidates are not allowed to put up signage on street furniture in Leeds. It is permitted to put up signs on grass verges subject to various constraints, namely no less than 40m from a junction, no less than 0.5m from a kerb, not on trees, not obscuring posters by the opposition etc. etc. They can't go up more than 7 days before polling day and have to come down again 7 days after.

The reality of Elmfield Ward is that there aren't really many suitable places that meet these constraints and there are other obstacles put in the way of independents such as the need for indemnity insurance.

So, that leaves that old political fallback, using telegraph poles. Poles are an oddment in the street scene as they are generally tuned out and invisible to everyone as are streetlights, bollards and various shaped and coloured cabinets that abound. Telegraph poles are used to provide wiring to premises and in new developments they are rarely used as the builders provide underground ducting. The name telegraph pole is a 19th century term and it predates the telephone considerably from the days of Morse.

There are two types of telegraph poles, the traditional wooden ones and the more modern metal ones. I can recall being fascinated as a young boy when the Post Office (Telephones) turned up to replace a pole outside our house using a specialised lorry which included an enormous hole drilling device. (As the poles have to be strong enough to support a man working at the top of them they also go down several feet below the ground as well.)

Wooden poles can have laminated signs stapled onto them easily enough and it is a good idea to put them out of arms reach as someone may decide to pull them down for whatever reason.

Every pole poses a small challenge. Which way should the sign face? Does the cable cover get in the way? Is it actually visible to passers by or is foliage going to obscure it? I decided to generally put them facing oncoming traffic & occasionally on both sides or at right angles depending on local conditions.

Often poles aren't in a useful place at all- for example, Chartist's way has all of the poles in Central Ward, and most of them on private property.

I decided to give metal poles a miss- it would need cable ties and be more fiddly to remove again afterwards.

Strictly speaking, poles are the property of BT and affixing signs to them probably requires permission. After a good look around the BT website for guidance and a fruitless trawl through their various voice menus, I have sent them an email to their general enquiries and will see what response comes back. So, I have made the effort, which is more than can be said of the "make money now!" brigade and a lot of the local builders as well. Labour took a long time to take their signs down and there aren't any up again yet.

As I made my way around the patch, I removed a number of older political signs, all from the Morley Borough Independents put up for the June elections. I had previously complained to them about being a bit dilatory in taking them down and whilst most have gone they had put up so many throughout the Morley South (& North) Ward(s) that I imagine we will still see odd ones flapping in the breeze for months to come. They confirmed they don't want them back and they wouldn't be any use anyway, they are discoloured and damp.

I bought myself some kitchen style steps from Handiman Supplies in Morley on the basis that they would be easier to carry around than my Aluminium stepladder which is much bigger. Being a Round Tabler, the proprietor offered me a three step version for the price of a two step one. On reflection, as I only went up two steps anyway, the smaller one might have made more sense as it was still too big to go in the back of the car without a bit of messing about. It also would have been lighter and easier to carry around!

The BNP in West Yorkshire were given a hard time on telly last night and in the papers this morning. I have mixed feelings about the whole business, I believe that they are entitled to their views and to express them freely, no matter how repugnant. It also seems to me that the extreme left Searchlight crusade is equally as distasteful in their opposition and tactics. I was shown a copy of their leaflet by an Elmfield elector, it really laid into Labour big time about attendance. I didn't see the programme last night (I was still out stapling) but I was curious to read this morning whether Chris Beverley had been specifically named, it seems not.

Here is a scan of the candidate biographies from the Wednesday Morley Advertiser.

Scan of the Morley Advertiser, July 14th 2004.

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