Category Archives: Conservative Party UK

My Tory Bingo: user generated versions

tory bingo get pissed proles you might as well Tory bingo cabinet

What does the Tory Party offer a white kid from brixton beer and bingo

The #torybingo Twitter storm continues today, having dominated discussion around yesterday’s budget from around 9pm last night.  Activists with image manipulation skills are now adding further fuel to the piss-taking by producing their own related imagery.

There is a tumblr account logging many of the posts and countless more plastered across social networks.

The three above are my personal favourites.  One is a pastiche of the original poster but instead carries the headline “Get pissed, proles.  You might as well, your zero hour contracts give you plenty of spare time”.   Another shows David Cameron’s coalition cabinet as a bingo arena.  And the final one is a parody of a poster from John Major’s Conservative Party leadership which appealed to working class voters.

Very good.

Let’s play Tory Bingo

Tory Bingo tax and beer duty

The Conservative Party today released an advert drawing attention to changes to beer and bingo taxes in the Budget.

The advert features a big gaudy headline of ‘Bingo’ and celebrates the 1p cut in beer duty and the halving of bingo duty to 10% with the subhead “to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy”.

I mean, yeah, it’s quite condescending.

Ok, ok, it’s pretty much the most patronising, ill-conceived and embarrassing political advert I’ve ever seen.

Unsurprisingly, #torybingo took off on Twitter and has been trending nationally for some time now.

Quips include:

@RedAndy54: Shoot badgers for fun, 21 #torybingo

@minigong: Full of hate, 38 #torybingo

@ed_son: House. And another house. And another. And another with a moat. #torybingo

Any Tory with half a brain and a sprinkling of self-awareness would have realised this was a nightmarish, terrible and suicidal idea. I simply can’t believe it was run.

Labour isn’t working – the history

labour isnt working historical context


Advertising industry trade magazine Campaign has today run a feature on the history of the most famous piece of political advertising in British history – Saatchi & Saatchi’s Labour Isn’t Working (1978) for the Conservative Party.

Included in the article are the following nuggets:

1. The poster was picked out from a selection of roughs by Gordon Reece, Thatcher’s election strategist.

2.  The people in the queue are not genuine unemployed people, but are in fact members of Hendon Young Conservatives.

3. Martin Walsh photographed the same people over and over again, rather than a single long line, due to the shortage of volunteers for the shoot.

Here’s a high res version of the original poster:

labour isnt working

Conservative Party posters – Autumn Statement

investing in britains future conservative party employment up deficit down.png-large


The Conservative Party released some content in advance of today’s Autumn Statement.  They  have played a straight bat and obviously wanted all the chatter and news to be around the statement rather than the supporting social media materials.

However, from these images you get a sense of the key messages that the Tories will be pushing come election time: 1) We’ve cut the deficit 2) We’ve done it whilst maintaining investment in important parts of the economy.


share the facts conservative party social media


The Conservative Party this morning released a new website and accompanying twitter hash tag #sharethefacts.

The Tory’s stated aim for the website is to:

“help us fight back by rebutting Labour’s claims, sharing what we’re doing for hardworking people, and letting everyone know the damage a Labour government would do to Britain.”

The site is optimised nicely for mobile and it enables people to easily share on social networks bite-size chunks of Conservative Party policy, rebuttal or attack.

 As is almost customary these days, the hash tag has been adopted by piss-takers, deriders, opponents, wind-up merchants, jokers, bantermen, comedians and naysayers and it has gone viral and is trending across Britain.

A small sample of the tweets that force the freshly-made, delicious, social media campaign cake that the Tory’s baked for us today back into the faces of the Conservative high command are available below.

share the facts viral twitter campaign conservative party

2015 electoral battle lines become clear

Since Party Conference season the battle lines for the 2015 general election are becoming increasingly clear.

The Conservative Party will point to the fact that Britain now has the fastest growing economy in Europe, is cutting the deficit and has made home-ownership a realistic possibility for significant portions of the country.

Ed Miliband’s Labour Party will claim that it is an economic recovery for the few and not the many, that there is a cost-of-living crisis and that the answer is state intervention where markets have got out of control.

I have taken a quick look back into recent political history and found some Conservative Party posters that I can foresee David Cameron adapting for his own use – see below.  If anyone can recall posters that are similar to Miliband’s position I would be very interested to see them, as my research has hit a brick wall.

Fastest growth in Europe

yes it worked yes it hurt

Maurice Saatchi on political posters

Maurice Saatchi political advertising poster


I’ve just come across this quotation of Maurice Saatchi which I thought was both very insightful and, appropriately, beautifully put:

“Posters are to politics what poetry is to literature.  The only possible words in the only possible order.”

Maurice (now Baron) Saatchi founded advertising agency Saatchi & Saatch and oversaw the production of the vast majority of the most memorable pieces of political advertising in British history.

Interview with Brendan Bruce

Brendan Bruce _Origin_of_Spin_Cover 1

I’ve recently had the pleasure of email correspondence with Brendan Bruce and he kindly agreed to an interview for this site.  Just to give you a bit of background about Brendan:

Brendan has solid private sector communications experience having advised consumer goods giants including P&G, Mars and General Foods.  In 1988 he ran a government campaign to popularise the Single European Market, now acknowledged as one of the most successful government campaigns of all time.  And in 1989 Margaret Thatcher appointed him as Director of Communications for the Conservative Party, in that role he worked closely with her and successive Party Chairman on projecting the Party’s image.

He is now a private consultant and author of two books – Images of Power and On the Origin of Spin, both seminal studies on political marketing.

What was the main thing you learnt from being Director of Communications for the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher?

The power of authenticity. When a politician has the moral courage to be themselves, to say and do what they truly believe in, they turn into leaders. This sort of politician is rare, but the public knows genuine conviction when they see it.

If you were advising The Labour Party for the 2015 election on their communications, what would you prioritise as the three main messages?

I think that comes under the heading of  ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy.’ Ask Ali Campbell, he’s still the only spin doctor Labour have worth a damn.

If you could give one piece of advice on political communication, what would it be?

I don’t think political communications obey different laws from any other form. Good communications depend on intellectual clarity, creative impact and repetition. The client should supply the clarity, the agency will supply the creativity if they are any good (and the client trusts them) and the money supplies the repetition.

The best practical piece of advice I can give is to be very clear in your mind about the desired outcome or response. When drafting a political line to take, concentrate on the HVL, the Headline, Visual  and the Lead para that you want to see journalists produce.

What’s your favourite piece of political advertising and why?

My favourite is still the ‘Hands Up’ poster in the 1987 General Election (when the Cold War was still very chilly and ordinary people still lived in fear that World War III would be nuclear).

During a TV interview  David Frost said to  the Labour leader Neil Kinnock  “If you haven’t got nuclear weapons, the choice in that situation would be to subject your forces to an unfair battle.”

Kinnock answered in his inimitably confusing way “Yes, what you’re suggesting is that the alternatives are between the gesture, the threat, or the use of nuclear weapons, and surrender. In these circumstances the choice is posed, and this is a classical choice, between exterminating everything you stand for and the flower of your youth, or using all the resources you have to make any occupation totally untenable.”

Saatchi immediately saw the opportunity to make any floating voter extremely uneasy about supporting a party that was saying that they would unilaterally give up the use of nuclear weapons if they formed a government and rely on some sort of Dad’s Army guerilla resistance if the Soviets invaded. The poster Saatchi produced and put up on the hoardings within hours, showed a British soldier  with his hands up in surrender with the line ‘Labour’s policy on arms.’  It was clear, striking, memorable, witty in a sarcastic sort of way; and deadly.

The Best of Thatcher’s Conservative Party Posters

Best of Thatcher Saatchi and saatchi conservative posters

The Thatcher years could also be called the Saatchi  &Saatchi years.  The sophistication of political marketing and presentation reached a level that had never been seen in Britain before.

Margaret Thatcher was the first political leader to employ a professional advertising agency, to blustering disapproval from the Labour Party, and Saatchi & Saatchi took the opportunity with exceptional gusto.

The agency produced what is widely regarded as one of the best posters ever created, not just within the political realm but throughout advertising history, in ‘Labour Isn’t Working’.  But there were many other fantastic posters produced across her three successful general election campaigns in 1979, 1983 and 1987.

Conservative Party Eastleigh By-election

Conservative party eastleigh by election leaflet looking both ways


This is a leaflet being used by The Conservative Party to attack Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton in The Battle of Eastleigh by-election that is currently in full swing.

The clip art ‘stop press’ star burst is so hilariously shit that it made this door drop worth sharing.

If you want people to read your election communications, perhaps try writing something eye catching, arresting or amusing in the headline.  You could include an impactful visual.  Or, have some nice, clean art direction which allows your well crafted copy to breath.

Sticking a ‘stop press’ star burst on a your leaflet won’t magically make the electorate want to read what looks like a terminally dull leaflet.

Communications like this (along with the ever-present ‘campaign leaflet dressed up as local newspaper’ trick) really do contribute to the public perception that politicians think the electorate are a bunch of easy-to-manipulate mugs.