Thursday, 21 January 2010

Think different: think slavery

The House of Commons chamber has virtually emptied as MPs open a debate on competitiveness in the food industry - the power of supermarkets and so on.

Perhaps some the 600 or so MPs absent are heading for the Queen Elizabeth conference Centre to watch Jack Straw give evidence to the Iraq inquiry.

While we wait for Mr Straw to explain his role in the war, it's time once again to dip into the Plaid Cymru handbook.

The fundraising chapter is illuminating. Here are a few highlights:

"A new member not only means a potential new activist but also a new source of income, especially if you recruit them on direct debit."

If you want a personal visit from a Plaid candidate, make sure you cough up bigtime. "Send a personalised thank you letter from the candidate as soon as the donation is received. If it is a substantial donation the candidates should make contact via a phone call or a personal visit."

The handbook offers useful advice to Plaid candidates on how to organise a raffle.

There is also the softly-softly approach: "The next time you are lying the garden enjoying the summer sunshine - remember this is the perfect time for a Plaid Cymru BBQ! Ask all your friends, neighbours and Plaid Cymru members to come around with a bottle of their favourite tipple and charge them £5 to enjoy the products of your culinary expertise."

Or: "An alternative way of raising funds might be to hold a cheese and wine themed well as selling tickets at £3 you can charge £1 for every glass of wine."

Then there's "exotic food evenings" - "a group of around six people take it in turns to cook an exotic meal for each other (Spanish, Mexican etc)". As if cheese and wine evenings were not exotic enough (!), Plaid candidates are told this is "cheaper than a posh restaurant".

There is an alternative - the "slave auction" with members putting themselves up for auction. "The 'slave' will have stated in advance what they are willing to do (such as cut the grass, or paint a room etc) and the other members bit for them."

Worth remembering next time you're faced with a full nappy and wonder whether Elfyn Llwyd's time is within your bidding range.

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