The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising have launched a new campaign – “separate the real from the make believe” – which demands legislation to stop lies in political advertising.
The advertising uses language and iconography from fairy tales to make the point that fictional claims should have no place in political campaigning.
There are three adverts in the campaign and they’re running across outdoor poster sites, social media and online banners; they encourage viewers to sign a petition at change.org/p/reformpoliticalads that demands legislative change.
The group aims to influence the DCMS Select Committee recommendations on Disinformation and ‘fake news’ – led by Damian Collins MP – being published in December and the government’s response early in the New Year
One execution features Jeremy Corbyn dressed as Little Red Riding Hood with the headline “10,000 more jobs were created while skipping through the magic forest”
Another has Theresa May looking like a pantomime villain with the headline “Families pay £1000 more tax a year since the evil curse befell the kingdom”
And a third has Boris Johnson as a fire-breathing dragon saying “The UK pays £millions a day funding the chariot pulled by a fiery dragon”
Political advertising is currently free to make wild and unsubstantiated claims.
This is because, shockingly, campaign material in the UK is not regulated. There’s nowhere to complain to if a voter believes that a political ad is dishonest. And with no regulator or body responsible, nobody has the power to remove political advertising that is misleading.
However, according to a new YouGov survey commissioned by The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising and FullFact 84% of voters think there should be a legal requirement for factual claims in political advertisements to be accurate.
As regular readers will know, reforming political advertising is a passion point for this humble blogger and I’m very much involved in the Coalition, so any criticism of this campaign will be received with hypersensitivity and incredulity.
We are trying to raise funds to extend the reach of this campaign and build a war chest for future campaigns, so if you feel passionately about this cause please donate here.