This blog collects perspectives on the election you won't find anywhere else, by political experts, based in the School of Politics and International Relations at The University of Nottingham.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Put your clothes on Dave!

The Conservatives’ new poster has been launched with the words “our new poster underlines our positive agenda on welfare reform”.

Yet the Tory manifesto is not nearly so hard hitting as represented here; the formation of local work clubs and those on job seekers allowance carrying out community work, might even have once been described as paternalistic. Moreover, while the policy to which the poster refers is in the manifesto, it is a policy of last resort.

And it is last resort to which the Tory leader would have appeared to have returned, a sop to a wing of the party who would probably have voted for him anyway. More importantly given the changing nature of the electorate it is a move that Tim Bale argued against two months ago.

The poster’s combination of image and text is also an odd one. Posters are at their most successful when image and text combine, one supporting the other in harmony. It is perhaps the Conservatives who have been best at this in the recent past, as with Labour’s Tax Bombshell (1992), which successfully combined slogan and text in 1992, to visualise an internal fear that many voters had:

The new Conservative poster makes no attempt to join image and word. We have the image of go-getting Cameron and a seemingly unrelated slogan, and while the two don’t contrast they also seem to have little rapport. The poster may prove to be successful, but as a piece of political marketing it is banal.

And then there’s Cameron’s wardrobe or indeed lack of it. Firstly we had Cameron in no tie, relaxed and informal he was the man we could trust. We now have him with no tie and no jacket, go-getting and eager to get on with the job.

How many clothes will he mislay before the election is out?

Christopher Burgess


  1. I hope he keeps his clothes on!!

  2. Thing is the power to stop benefit (JSA at least) if you refuse to work has been part of the benefits system for decades. Basic entitlement provisions require that you are available for and actively seeking work and if you refuse a particular job you can face a sanction.

    Its a bit like that thing where politicians promise a 'crackdown' in incapacity benefit claimants by sending them to 'independent' doctors to reassess entitlement. been there since the 90s at least.

  3. the conservative campaign seems to me like a pr machine ran by david cameron alone as a former pr man himself, his continous negative campaign might just backfire on him, his continous posters leaves a bad taste in my mouth and so i would guess many other voters espacially his continous personal attacks on brown using his face on his campaign posters. He kicked all this off riding on the obama bandwaggon now his copying clarke, those this not sound like cameron is running for prsonal glory desperate id say to get to number 10

  4. Maybe there are secret games of strip poker going on behind the scenes at Tory central...


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