The Conservative Party have released a new poster criticising, what they are calling, Labour’s death tax.
This poster is something of a cheap gag. The pun in the headline makes the issue feel like a football in a game of playground politics. If this is a topic that the Conservative Party genuinely think will be salient with the electorate, then there are innumerable numbers of harder hitting executions that could have been used.
Not only this, if I was David Cameron working tirelessly every day to shake of the ‘nasty party’ image, I wouldn’t thank my marketing department for allowing a huge billboard to be erected featuring a tombstone and blacked out version of the party logo.
I’m afraid this one feels like a bit of an own goal.
The infamous Labour ‘Tax Bombshell’, that was first used by the Conservative’s to prevent Neil Kinnock’s seemingly inevitable election in 1992, is back! The poster, which has been reported on in most national newspapers, is also being printed onto vans that are driving around shoppping areas in London; as well as this 200,000 leaflets warning that government borrowing will soar to £100bn by 2010 will be handed out at commuter stations and target constituencies.
The poster isn’t simply relevant to (and a bit sentimental fun for) those of us sad enough to remember the political communication of the Conservative Party under John Major. The communication is a clever, seasonal way to hammer home the message that bank bailouts, VAT reductions and tax cuts don’t come for free.
Gordon can at least take comfort in the fact that once the holiday period is over, so will the relevancy of the poster, therefore it won’t hound him all the way to the next election. However, this is a brilliantly timed and well executed piece of political advertising that will strike a small but significant body blow to the government.