New Tory poster campaign

I wrote a little while ago about the UK Labour Party's early campaign posters. So, I thought I'd take a look at what the Conservative Party is hoping will grab our attention and make us vote for them.

I wrote a little while ago about the UK Labour Party's early campaign posters and now with the capitalist scam democratic process well underway here, I thought I'd take a look at what the UK Conservative Party is hoping will grab our attention and make us vote for them.

Asking a closed question

Any good sales-person will tell you, only ask open questions. So, don't ask Can I call on Monday?, ask Would Monday morning or afternoon be better for you?. It seems as if this simple technique has been overlooked by Tory campaign managers, as their main campaign message,

Are you thinking what we're thinking?

is a closed question, leaving voters with the option to say No as well as Yes

A far cry

I'm probably the only geezer here who can remember the Conservative's (now famous) Labour Isn't Working campaign by Saatchi and Saatchi, which is often credited with winning them the General Election in 1979 and began the start of almost twenty years of Tory rule. Brilliant in it's simplicity, the campaign was a stroke of genius and caught the mood of the nation.

In 2005 and after eight years out of power, the latest Conservative campaign has none of the imagination of 1979, concentrating on purely negative messages. From a design perspective too, I think that the posters are distinctly lack-lustre.

Tories on crime

Tories fake Liberal Democrats poster

Tories on Blair

Tories on Blair (again)

Still, who am I to judge? Over to you.


  1. #1 On April 11, 2005 11:41 PM Dean Edwards said:

    Mmm. Let's see. I can vote for the Tory Party. Or the other Tory Party. Or that party inbetween. I love democratic choice!

  2. #2 On April 11, 2005 11:56 PM Alex said:

    You may criticise the Tory campaign - but their simple, fear mongering message is touching a percentage of population who don't read beyond the font page of daily mail. Plus the party has been making significant gains in the polls recently - which is all rather depressing really.

  3. #3 On April 12, 2005 12:00 AM Kate said:

    Have you seen their anti-immigration posters?

    "It's Not Racist to Impose Limits on Immigration"

    Oh Christ, the sheer amount of rage I feel every time I see one of those...

    Half of the time, I want to get the biggest can of bright red paint and just splatter each poster. The rest of the time, I want to take a permanent marker and write out a detailed thesis on why immigration is a fear-mongering false issue.

    Dear Tory Party:

    When I have citizenship, I will make the concerted effort to ruin every future campaign. Purely because of this.

    (No) Love,
    An immigrant.

  4. #4 On April 12, 2005 12:50 AM Kevin Tamura said:

    Their taking the play book from GOP here in the states´┐Żall fear all the time. Surprising their not using the Pope's death to further their casue like our Cowboy W.

  5. #5 On April 12, 2005 01:08 AM John said:

    They have in fact imported the former Australian Liberal Party ( conservative ) campaign director Lynton Crosby to run their campaign. He's from the Rove school of wedge and fear and big white lies, which these days seems to work.

    Have fun but don't expect anything clever or imaginative

  6. #6 On April 12, 2005 02:35 AM gf3 said:

    It's sad, really it is. It's becoming this way in Canada as well. All name pointing nowadays.

  7. #7 On April 12, 2005 02:57 AM Craig C. said:

    Kate, you mean something like this? (via Jeremy)

    Being American, I can't claim to know much about UK politics. Our Republicans have used similar tactics, though not usually on a national scale. In the last presidential election a splinter of the Republican party ran a propaganda campaign in some southern states (strongholds of Christian fundamentalism) basically saying that John Kerry would ban the bible and turn everyone gay.

    Good thing our liberal media broke that story or else Bush might have won again!

    What's that? Oh...


  8. #8 On April 12, 2005 08:23 AM monooso said:

    One thing confuses me about the poster slandering the Lib-Dems; it actually uses the words "Liberal Democrat" in reasonably large type, but doesn't (seem) to mention the Tories anywhere (I can't read the smaller text).

    The poster attacking Labour and using the "Labour red" at least has the word "Conservative", so you know where it's coming from (in case you hadn't worked it out).

    From my viewpoint that raises two questions:

  9. Should "deceptive" campaigning of this sort be allowed at all (negative campaigning is bad enough)?

  10. Are the Tory campaign managers concerned that nobody will recognise Charles Kennedy, even when he's bathed in a Lib-Dem yellow glow?

  11. Seems like the only "major" party not indulging in the usual mud-slinging is (once again), the Lib-Dems, and (once again) they'll suffer as a result. It's a sad state of affairs when you really do have to stoop to conquer.

  12. #9 On April 12, 2005 09:03 AM Kate said:

    Craig, yep. And, obviously, I'm not the only one who hates them.

    Unfortunately, the only one I've seen defaced in Nottingham is misspelled. Which gives me no love.

  13. #10 On April 12, 2005 09:08 AM paul haine said:

    It's a strange way of campaigning, I think; the latter three posters don't specifically say 'vote Tory', they say to me (in order) 'Vote Liberal', 'Don't vote Labour', 'Don't vote Labour'

    That last one reminds of the "anyone but Bush" nature of the last US election, and see how well that worked out...

    The first poster, though, is going to be the most effective one - it has that sort of insidious, 'acceptable' bigotry so beloved of the UK's population of Express and Mail readers. You know, the whole "I'm not racist, I just think there could be fewer blacks in the country. Some of my best friends are Muslim, etc." thing.

  14. #11 On April 12, 2005 09:18 AM Matt Wilcox said:

    With the words 'Danger Will Robbinson' echoing in my ears, i'll go ahead and say my bit anyway:

    There's nothing wrong with deciding who should and shouldn't be allowed into your own country; of course there needs to be a balance, and I think Labour are decidedly unbalanced. The Tory viewpoint might be reactionary, but it'll level out. Labour's too far up it's own ass and too out of touch with what people want.

  15. #12 On April 12, 2005 09:23 AM Paul said:

    Political views aside, I do find these direct attacks on opposition leaders rather amusing. Especially on posters this size.

  16. #13 On April 12, 2005 12:21 PM Matt Wilcox said:

    British government has always had the smell of the playground about it, which is always a source of ammusement and dispair.

  17. #14 On April 12, 2005 01:03 PM Dan said:

    I dont want to turn this into a political debate (maybe I do) but I happen to agree with the statement "It's Not Racist to Impose Limits on Immigration".

    I cannot freely move to the US and work there because they impose limits on immigration. I dont feel that makes them racist towards me.

  18. #15 On April 12, 2005 02:50 PM Chris Hunt said:

    "the latest Conservative campaign has none of the imagination of 1979, concentrating on purely negative messages"

    Ahem, wasn't "Labour isn't working" a pretty negative message? The (supposed) effectiveness of that 1979 poster is probably one factor that pushes parties towards negative campaigning (though I suspect it was ever thus).

    Thinking about it, all the memorable posters I can think of have been negative ones - Labour's Tax Bombshell, Double Whammy, Demon Eyes, etc. Maybe that it's easier to make a negtive point on a poster than a positive one - picking on one of our fears about a particular party and blowing it up to poster size. Making a positive point needs more explanation perhaps?

  19. #16 On April 12, 2005 03:00 PM Chris Hunt said:

    PS.Two more amended posters shown on the BBC's strangely unnavigable election diary yesterday:

    Unfortunately I can't link to the entry in question as MT Blacklist keeps rejecting it :-(

  20. #17 On April 12, 2005 03:59 PM Martin W said:

    As an aside - asked a few agencies to come up with some ideas for each party - this is the Conservative one, but labour, Plaid Cymru etc are available from the right hand menu. I like the Lib Dems one out of these the most.

  21. #18 On April 12, 2005 09:08 PM spongebob said:

    OK so I'm a little confused by this "racist" issue surrounding immigration and asylym seekers. I fail to see how imposing stricter border controls to ensure the control of the flow of people into our country is being racist. If it's being anything surely it's being xenophobic? After all let's not forget that we are in essence all just part of one overall race, the HUMAN race.

    Tougher border controls merely implies that we welcome people to this country who are willing to contribute to society? It's not actively targeting a particular "ethnicity" but merely impossing blanket controls over all inward migration.

    Personally "racist" is a word which is bandied around far too much and far to easily these days with little thought to both context or consequence!

  22. #19 On April 12, 2005 10:59 PM Malarkey said:

    I'm glad this column didn't turn into a political debate. ;)

  23. #20 On April 12, 2005 11:28 PM Brian said:

    It may not be racist to limit immigration - as long as it is done for the right reasons and in the right way and is fair, and it must be seen to be so.

    It is wrong to use immigration as a political weapon in an election campaign. (As an aside, don't the BNP want to limit immigtration too? albeit to zero) The Tories may not think that they are being racist when they ask this question, but how many voters are going to be racist when they answer "yes".

    Elections nowadays are fought too much on single-issues. The campaigns focus on specifics for a day or two, the move on (ah, it's the economy today, so it must be Wednesday).

    I voted Labour at the last two elections, to my undying shame. I, like many people, thought that they would make a difference.This time, my vote will go for the Liberal Democrats.

  24. #21 On April 12, 2005 11:35 PM Colly said:

    That man Howard will drag this country back into economic slumber, and undo all the progress we've been making as a more tolerant nation.

    I actually had a nightmare that he was elected (I know, imagine...) and turned into a despot - a Transylvanian Mugabe or Pol Pot. He murdered everyone who didn't read the Daily Mail, and placed all "immigrants" in Essex inside a big cage. Except his own family, of course. Mark my words, the man is dangerous.

    Anyway, on topic. The handwritten posters work, because they speak directly to the lowest common denominator brain. They're instant, and make people go "Umm, oh, erm...maybe I do think that". I hate them though - they make me feel uneasy.

    The Lib Dem one is an appaling trick to play on voters, and will fool passing motorists and dimwits. In all honesty, I loathe the playground insults these people use. Mind you, I did think the "Labour isn't working" one from my childhood was very clever.

    Anyway, rant over. Nice topical hot potatoes on your fire, Andy.

  25. #22 On April 13, 2005 02:00 AM Anura said:

    As John noted above, your (UK) Howard has imported the man who helped our (AUS) Howard to win elections together with at least one other Australian working who has worked on Australian Liberal Party campaigns.

    The issue here is not about whether imposing immigration controls is a good thing or is even rascist - that's a topic worthy of debate and eventual policy response by Government. The issue is about creating large fears in the minds of voters to get them to jump into your camp.

    Just before the 2001 Australian election, we had the spectacle where a Norwegian ship (MVS Tampa) had rescued 400 refugees from a sinking boat and became the focal point of the Government's fear campaign. The ship was not allowed to land on Australian territory despite illness among the refugees, the SAS were used prevent that that nasty Norwegian captain from trying anthing on, and eventually the poor sods were transported to a Pacific Island for processing so the Government could live up to its promise that they wouldn't set foot in Australia. And we went to an election with the Howard (AUS) battle cry "We decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come" ringing in our ears. All for 400 people - 90% of whome were later found to be genuine refugees and let in to the country (and the Norwegian captain also won a humanitarian award).

    Last year we had a repeat performance. The Government ran a scare campaign around interest rates. Election posters claimed that average mortgage payments would go up around $900 per month under Labor (correct spelling in AUS) because interest rates would definitely go up if they were elected, attributing this nonsense to our Reserve Bank, our independent central bank. Every economist in the country said it was nonsense, the Reserve Bank even referred the matter to the electoral commission but in the end it worked. Interest rates have now risen for the first time in 4 years, and are tipped to go up again soon.

    So, you've seen what these spin doctors have done in Australia, and that should be a warning.

    Can anyone tell me just why it is that fear motivates people at the ballet box? Is it our inherent selfishness, where we fear losing something we have to someone 'less deserving' than us?

    And for our UK friends who are suffering, the only lesson from the Australian experience is that every lie needs to be directly challenged with the election authorities, and the liar (in whichever party) be forced to show their proof. It's too late once the election is over.

  26. #23 On April 13, 2005 10:31 AM Paul Livingstone said:

    The Tory party being elected to Downing Street would be a seriously bad move for us. Michael Howard is a maniacal powerhound just dying to unleash his wayward political skew on this country.

    Only just this morning I read about how he wants to introduce more faith-based schooling systems. He feels that schools with religion at their core are more structured and produce more well-balanced students.

    What the hell?

    The quote from the BBC news website:

    Education spokesman Tim Collins says a commitment to a major expansion of religious schools "is absolutely at the heart of the Conservative vision".

    He says this has resulted in broken homes, children "without a moral compass", more drug misuse and abortions, and "feral, scavenging youngsters preying on the old and vulnerable".

    The tory party are calling children without the 'moral compass of religion' "feral, scavenging youngsters". By introducing faith based schools. they will single-handedly drive a wedge between mixed-raced students by promoting religion dependant education.

    This will actively promote seclusion among students with differing religious beliefs. In a country that is desperately trying to bridge the gap between religion, by removing racism and bullying, this is a heinous move.

    A vote for Tory is a vote for regression.

  27. #24 On April 13, 2005 10:50 AM spongebob said:

    @Paul Livingstone

    "Michael Howard is a maniacal powerhound just dying to unleash his wayward political skew on this country."

    Sorry Paul but I fail to see the distinction between your description of Michael Howard and our current glorious leader......

  28. #25 On April 13, 2005 11:01 AM spongebob said:


    "It is wrong to use immigration as a political weapon in an election campaign."

    I don't think it is wrong. Most of the adults in this country (most, not all!) are clever enough to see the distinction between being racist and being sensible. The immigration issue IS something that concerns the people of this country, and as such they have a right to know what is being (or will be) done about it.

    Once again jumping on the "racist" bandwagon by peddling to people's fear of being "incorrectly labeled!!!!"

    "He feels that schools with religion at their core are more structured and produce more well-balanced students."

    I think that if you look at the league tables and the success rates published year on year in the leading newspapers you'll find that this is just the case!

    However I DO agree that schools should NOT take an overtly religous stance - I think the move in France to abolish overtly religious symbols in shcools was a brave move and the right one - we should be treating our children as equals not encouraging secularism!

  29. #26 On April 13, 2005 11:25 AM Paul Livingstone said:


    "I think that if you look at the league tables and the success rates published year on year in the leading newspapers you'll find that this is just the case!"

    I agree. I think you might be missing my point that the Tory view of 'Religion centric schools producing better students' is entirely wrong. As for schools not taking religous stances... I also agree, wholeheartedly.

    The physical division of religions and ultimately, races, is a f*cking ticking time bomb.

  30. #27 On April 13, 2005 01:17 PM Malarkey said:

    Corr blimey geezers! First politics, then imigration, now religion... and I thought this column was about design. ;)

  31. #28 On April 13, 2005 03:54 PM Andy Budd said:

    Oh god, this election is really starting to depress me and we're only a few days into it!

    I'm just waiting for the "Tony Blair is a lying w**ker" and "Michael Howard is a racist cu*t" posters to debut.

  32. #29 On April 13, 2005 05:52 PM James said:

    My favourite modified Tory is the poster stating


    Followed by the graffiti


  33. #30 On April 14, 2005 10:18 AM Ben Ward said:

    As much as the election is an utter turn off (as ever), I do find the Tory poster defacements keep me at least a little interested. My fear, like most others here, is that they might work.

    I'd not seen the faux Lib Dem poster before and it's left me with a dilemma. I saw it, re-read it and saw what the Tory bastards had done. Frankly, it makes me sick that they can make a poster like that. It just seems devoid of any moral respect at all. My initial thoughts were of whether it's even legal to do it, but I guess it must be.
    Maybe this is because I tend to align closest to the Libs, but just thinking about the damage that it could do to the Lib Dem campaign makes me very, very angry. It's not like it's easy for them as it is.

    It makes me really wish that something terrible happens to the Tory campaign. Maybe the "Immigrant Asylum-Seeker Muslim Disease-Carrying Gypsy-Sympathising Hospital-Dirtying Terrorist" monsters that exist only in Michael Howard's head will come alive and eat his brains...

  34. #31 On April 14, 2005 11:06 PM Crusader said:

    The Lib Dems deserve everything they get:
    (Ed says: I've removed this link as I don't feel it adds much to the conversation about posters.)

  35. #32 On April 15, 2005 03:19 PM Chris Hunt said:

    Has anybody else noticed this one around? ...

  36. #33 On April 15, 2005 09:20 PM Dave said:

    People really must stop doing that or young, growing up designers might have get nightmares...

  37. #34 On April 15, 2005 09:41 PM SaraB said:

    Personally I think religion should be banned from ALL schools.

  38. #35 On April 15, 2005 09:51 PM Dave said:

    Although i think that having him as a priminister would be rather interesting. We should elect a priminister of the web world.
    Of england anyway. can have their president and .com can have an emperor.