Lib Dem April fools sail closer to the truth?

Well done to Lib Dem Voice editorial team member Mary Reid, who once again excelled at the subtle April Fools post on this website. “Another bank holiday?” stimulated about 30 comments debating the whys and wherefores of Bank Holidays and Saint Days, down to a spat about the pronunciation of “Æthelthryth”. We did think that proposing a variable bank holiday for the Prime Minister’s Birthday and one for Flora Poil, the “Victorian social reformer” might give the game away.

Party President Mark Pack had me going with his news that the party has a new phone app for leaflet delivery. The article was typically Mark Packish in its attention to detail. It was when I got to the paragraph about leaflet orientation that I checked the date of the article:

But the very best part of the app is the set of icons that appear as you approach each letterbox on your delivery round. Behind the scenes, Connect data (supplemented by data from Wintringham 1) and demographic information from public sources such as the census is used to tell you which way round to orient the leaflet: is the person likely to be at home, and so the leaflet should land on the doormat headline towards the door so that they can easily read it when they come to the door, or is the person likely to be away, and so the leaflet should land headline away from the door, so it’s facing the right way when they come home?

And that was before I got to the paragraph about paper weight and grain:

There’s more to the app too. You can use your phone’s camera to send the app a photo of the leaflet you are about to deliver, and it will use artificial intelligence from DALL.E2 to analyse the size, weight and paper grain of the leaflet to recommend the best insertion technique for use with it. Heavy A3 leaflets printed across the grain may get a recommendation to use the soft bend and push classic technique, while light A5 leaflets printed along the grain, for example, may get a recommendation to use a spatula.

And then there’s the hilarious culmination:

Best of all, you can also use the app to hone your own leaflet delivery technique. Set your phone up inside at home, pointing at the letterbox, connect a Bluetooth headset, grab a stash of leaflets and close the door behind you.

The phone will then send verbal instructions to you via the headset to try delivering one leaflet at a time through the letterbox, filming and analysing the outcome, before giving you coaching instructions on how to improve your technique before you try again. With just a little bit of coaching, scrunched up leaflets need never occur again.

The voice coach can be customised to suit your preferences. The voices currently available include William Gladstone, David Penhaligon, Shirley Williams and Cllr Dave McCobb.

Imagine successfully perfectly the aerodynamics of a Focus in-house flight down to the doormat and having the lovely Cornish voice of the dear departed David Penhaligon rewarding you with:

Proper Job me ‘ansome

That would certainly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

It does seem that April Fools spoofs are getting closer and closer to reality as the years go by!

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Party policy and internal matters.


  • Andrew Toye 2nd Apr '24 - 11:50am

    Although Mark’s post was amusing, having some data and advice/training on problem letterboxes and violent dogs would be useful to save our fingers and backs from injury!

  • Simple advice – wear gloves for dog and letterbox protection (preferably NOT leather) and if there is a unrestricted dog between you and the letterbox fold the leaflet and push into gate/fence/hedge.

  • Jenny Barnes 2nd Apr '24 - 3:13pm

    And use a spatula for pushing the leaflet through the letterbox. A few dogs are savvy enough to lurk just behind the door in the hope of fingers, although most will hurl themselves at the door while barking wildly as if either of those things will have any effect.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 3rd Apr '24 - 10:03am

    Another April Fool that needs to be developed!
    On Monday morning I thought up something to put on a gluten free site (Becky Excel is a site around people who use her books, swap recipes/ideas/support).
    Just a little joke, but I was astounded that by the end of Monday there were over 1,000 responses, and they are still coming in. From the many comments, the prices of gluten free items is a serious one, and something Lib Dems need to have some thoughts on, some are talking about petitions, but not sure who to?
    This is the post:
    Great news. All major supermarkets have decided that all of their bread, cakes, pies and biscuits will be gluten free, starting from today.
    There will still be a few products with gluten in, available in a special small section, that will move around the store at will, without notice. As a special opening offer these gluten containing products will only be 3X the price of the gluten free food instead of 4X as much.
    At the checkout all those who buy from the gluten section will get a free Becky Excell Gluten Free recipe book so they can cook and bake for their gluten free friends and relations and see how nice the recipes are,

  • Peter Chambers 4th Apr '24 - 2:07pm

    Mark’s post works so well because the first few lines are such a good product specification. The mapping is better than VAN. The location integration is better. I bet even the fonts are better! Like Dark Matter, if it existed it would answer a lot of asks.
    Forget the DALL.E. Rolling that out would get you a summons before one of the People’s Climate Courts – after the Revolution.
    However the elimination of those hurried discussions with visiting deliverers would be useful. No, not left … that is odds between 81 and 99, you need to turn right and look for evens between 78 and 105, no I didn’t design the streets, you must ask the GPO.
    Can I have a free spatula with each license in a bulk order?

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