Conservative Diary

Campaign materials

20 Mar 2013 15:02:56

You get up early. You work hard. You save. You do the right thing. You make Britain what it is. We're on your side.

By Tim Montgomerie
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Via Robert Halfon, this is a a very good Tory leaflet and message:


Click on image to enlarge.

3 Mar 2013 16:04:09

Number 10 likens Nigel Farage to Santa Claus

By Tim Montgomerie
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Farage as Santa1

Yesterday a senior Tory adviser told me that Nigel Farage was acting like Father Christmas - promising goodies to everyone. It was a point I'd made in last Monday's Times (£):

"In a leaflet distributed to the voters of Eastleigh Nigel Farage’s party promises to “reduce everyone’s taxes”. That’s right – “everyone’s”. At the same time it promises to reintroduce free student grants, increase the size of the military, increase police numbers, put more people in prison, enhance pensions and give every voter a free lollipop. Okay, I made the last one up but UKIP makes Ed Balls look fiscally responsible. Labour may have opposed all of the Coalition’s tough decisions on the deficit but the shadow chancellor has at least attempted to stop his colleagues from making unfunded additional spending promises. UKIP’s economic immaturity may, in due course, become its Achilles heel."

Number 10 is clearly pushing the Santa Claus line. In his Mail on Sunday column James Forsyth writes that "Tories will soon start hitting [UKIP] as the ‘Santa Claus party’, ridiculing the claim that it can cut taxes while vastly increasing spending on defence and public services. They will seek to portray Nigel Farage as a confidence trickster, trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes." The Christmassy image also reached Andrew Rawnsley: "Ukip's literature in Eastleigh promised tax cuts for "everyone"," he noted, "and more spending on everything from the restoration of student grants to more generous pensions to more prisons. It must be the only party to be led by people who still believe in Santa Claus."

I don't think the Tory leadership has any choice but to try this tactic. The fiscal follies of UKIP's manifesto deserve to be exposed and it will stop many serious voters from supporting Nigel Farage. It won't be enough, of course. Many voters aren't voting for UKIP but against the political establishment. Closer to the election the anti-politics sentiment may subside but it may not and it's very unlikely to disappear completely.

16 Dec 2012 13:53:36

CCHQ launches attack ad in marginal constituencies contrasting "hardworking families" with "people who don't work"

By Matthew Barrett
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After PMQs on Wednesday, Labour launched a campaign, the price of Tory failure, which attacks the Government's welfare policies. The idea is to target 60 marginal Tory seats where the number of families receiving in-work tax credits is greater than the MP's majority.

HardworkingCCHQ have responded with a hard-hitting campaign in the same 60 seats. In targeted online media, banner ads contrasting "hardworking families" and "people who don't work", illustrated by a man sitting at home on his sofa, will be displayed on local media websites. This echoes one of the most successful policies of the Coalition - the welfare cap.

The first ad can be seen here, and the second ad (pictured right) here. The ads lead to a survey on the Conservative website - "Who do you think the government should be giving help to?".

Grant Shapps has often spoken about his use of surveys and petitions to drive up Conservative support in his Welwyn Hatfield constituency. Now as the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Shapps is using the same method to collect email addresses, communicate with respondents, and spread the Conservative message.

Continue reading "CCHQ launches attack ad in marginal constituencies contrasting "hardworking families" with "people who don't work"" »

24 Nov 2012 15:29:02

Scottish Conservatives launch new logo and website at National Convention

By Matthew Barrett
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New Scottish Conservative Logo

The Scottish Conservatives have launched a new party logo. The new logo has a distinctly Scottish Unionist tone - it has the dark blue of the Saltire, with the red of the Union Flag. It replaces the previous green tree logo, which was a variation of the national Conservative logo.

The Scottish Conservatives also launched a new website, at the Scottish National Convention being held in Dundee today.

Leader of the Scottish party, Ruth Davidson, said:

"Our new Union Saltire logo is bold, fresh and easy to recognise. Obviously inspired by the St Andrew’s Cross, it is distinctly Scottish but with colours which clearly reflect our pride in the United Kingdom."

Deputy Leader Jackson Carlaw, who led the redesign, said:

"Our new Union Saltire logo stands out on a ballot paper where it has a positive and suggestive impact – it says ‘Vote Scottish Conservative’. From today the Union Saltire is the easily identifiable symbol of our Party for the decade ahead. A new logo alone will not deliver results, but new branding, improved organisation and a new generation of candidates will underpin the policy, vision and shape of a renewed Scottish Conservative Party led energetically and with determination by Ruth."

17 Dec 2011 11:32:20

Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive

By Matthew Barrett
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Dole Queues and Demons"Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive", a new book written by Stuart Ball, a Reader in Modern History at the University of Leicester, was released this month. The book contains nearly 200 of the 650 election campaign posters in the vast Conservative Party Archive, which is contained in the Bodleian Library - the main research library at the University of Oxford. Many of the posters have never been shown in print. 

"Dole Queues and Demons" provides a guide to the political issues and electoral strategies of the Party throughout the twentieth century, and up to the present state of affairs.

Housewife Bbc












Right-hand poster from 1958, left-hand poster from 1952.

Continue reading "Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive" »

27 Sep 2011 17:37:10

Tory Conference slogan: Leadership For A Better Future


Already flying high over Manchester.

30 Apr 2011 14:47:43

Final No2AV leaflet seeks to exploit Nick Clegg's unpopularity

By Tim Montgomerie


Landing on many doorsteps across Britain in the final days of the AV campaign will be a leaflet with this front page.

The No campaign is an independently-run and cross-party campaign but it won't stop the Liberal Democrats complaining at David Cameron for not trying to stop this targeting of his Deputy. This similar leaflet had already angered the junior members of the Coalition.

[Download a PDF of the full and final No2AV leaflet].

Meanwhile the Tories have sent poster vans across London with the boxing poster:

Screen shot 2011-04-30 at 12.42.40

One van will be at the Chelsea v Spurs game later. During the course of this week the vans will be travelling to venues across the whole country. See more images of the vans.

16 Apr 2011 13:28:22

CCHQ launches another offensive in the fight against AV

Picture 6 By Jonathan Isaby

With less than three weeks until the referendum, today sees a variety of senior party figures getting the anti-AV message out there in the media - not least because postal voting is now getting underway:

  • David Cameron himself has written in the Express, reminding readers, amongst other things, that AV is being promoted by the same people who a decade a go wanted Britain to dump the pound and join the euro;
  • Home Secretary Theresa May is interviewed by the Daily Mail, pushing the message AV would not increase participation in the democratic process - but actually risks increasing the number of spoilt ballot papers;
  • Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi is quoted in The Sun warning that AV could lead to compulsory voting in Britain; and 
  • The recently-ennobled Downtown Abbey creator Julian Fellowes uses an op-ed in The Times (£) to highlight the unfairness of how AV counts the ballots of those who vote for fringe or extremist parties four, five or six times.

Meanwhile, CCHQ has produced a glossy new leaflet in the "lifestyle magazine" format (the front page of which is the graphic above) which will be delivered to homes up and down the country from today.

Continue reading "CCHQ launches another offensive in the fight against AV" »

23 Mar 2011 17:44:21

CCHQ launches post-Budget campaign leaflets aimed at families and pensioners

By Jonathan Isaby

George Osborne delivered his Budget this afternoon - just six weeks ahead of elections taking place across most of Great Britain.

And hundreds of thousands of leaflets will be delivered in the coming days in areas the Conservative Party is targeting at the local elections, pushing the positive ways in which the Government is helping people - in particular families and pensioners - despite having to deal with Labour's appalling economic legacy.

Below are the two versions of the front - aimed in turn at families and pensioners - and the reverse, which compares Labour's record with positive action being taken by the Government (click the images to enlarge).

Picture 12
Picture 17
Picture 13

13 Mar 2011 11:58:26

Global warming or climate change? Cuts or savings? Little or Big Society? Enterprise or jobs?

Tim Montgomerie

The Economist recently noted that only 44% of American Republicans agreed that "global warming" was happening but, a clear majority - 60% - accepted the reality of "climate change". It's true that they are slightly different ideas but in terms of preparing the ground for public policy they aren't so different. The Al Gores of this world will use either to construct the same infrastructure of green taxes and regulations. On Libya, UK pollsters found very different levels of support for intervention if the stated aim was humanitarian or political.

Back in the UK, Ben Brogan declared that his blog was becoming a "cuts-free zone". Instead, he'd only be talking about the much more positive idea of savings. The BBC (already under pressure from Ed Miliband's spinmeister to refer to the Coalition as the Tory-led government) is being lobbied by the Left not to do the same.

One Cabinet minister, who is very supportive of the underlying idea, wishes David Cameron had called the Big Society, the Little Society. Opposite Big Government are, he contends, the small platoons - the people-sized institutions that treat us as individuals, not as numbers.

And what about David Cameron's attack, at the Cardiff Spring Forum, on the "enemies of enterprise"? Did the PM's speechwriters choose "enterprise" after careful reflection? Or was it a word that they were given to use. Without the benefit of market research my gut instinct would have been to recommend Cameron talked about the enemies of job creation. My hunch is that voters are much more sympathetic to defeating bureaucrats who obstruct job creation than bureaucrats who obstruct entrepreneurs.

American politics - so much more profressional than our own - are so much more careful about words. Republican politicians have been taught to talk only of tax relief, rather than tax cuts. Every US politician gives a carefully crafted name to draft legislation. It's rarely the Environmental Regulation Bill but is given a much more loaded name so, come election time, opponents can be painted as the senator who voted against the 'Reduce Water Pollution Bill'.

It works the other way too. Over-the-top rhetoric can hurt a good case. I tend not to read comments where, for example, people refer to the EU as the EUSSR. There's a wingnut quality to such terms.

Words alone can't rescue a bad policy or kill a good policy but they can make a difference on the margins.

I'll be interested to see what words George Osborne uses to finish his second Budget. Like hundreds of others I've been urging him to go for growth in his budget. He might be better to describe it as a Budget for Jobs. It's (reportedly) what The Group of Forty want. The important thing is that all important Coalition messages are tested in focus groups.