Thursday, January 14, 2010

How We Pick Up Labour's Poster Bill

Government spending on advertising has rocketed in each year before the last two general elections. And what has the National Audit Office done to ensure it doesn't happen again this time? Sweet bugger all. In 2008-9 Labour spent £232 million telling us how wonderful they are, up from £167 million the previous year. Before the 2001 election spending went up from £113m to £191m and the figures before 2005 were £189m and £203m.

They have to use taxpayer's money to do this because their management of their own finances has been so catastrophic that they haven't got any left to spend on posters. And we're the mugs who pick up the bill.


Edward said...

Iain, Whilst I see and agree with your point. I can't help but think that even if the Tories were in power it would be any different?!

talwin said...

If I see the Direct.Gov ad again, I think I shall do an Alice Cooper with the tele. This seems very close to electioneering, free to the Labour Party but far from it for the rest of us.

And if they're flogging Direct.Gov so readily, and if it's such a useful and accessible tool (now there's free lap-tops to be had!), why are they doubling up on their now ubiquitous, hypocritical 'give up smoking' ads given that pretty much the same information is to be found on Direct.Gov?

Oh, and why are the give-up-smoking kits doled out free of charge? Can a reforming smoker not contribute a little? All part of Labour state-controlling and impressions of benevolence I suppose. Maybe something to be targetted when the NHS makes its cuts.

Only Brown knows how much this lot presently costs. And he doesn't care.

Matthew Dear said...

I was listening to local radio recently and at least 2/3 of the adverts were for Government programmes and services.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha, what a silly post. Government information campaigns are a waste of money, are they? Like the campaigns informing elderly folk about flu jabs, making sure they know about and claim all the help they are entitled to; campaigns to improve road safety, reduce smoking (and therefore the burden on the NHS) and drink driving, etc etc.

Instead of swallowing the party line, why don't you tell us which current information campaigns are propaganda and should be cut?

Moriarty said...

@Yorkshire Terrorist

There's a poster campaign to improve drink driving?

Well I never.

SimonSmethMac said...

The issue is that they're free publicity for government programmes and that Labour has spent more in the run up to this and the past three elections on them.

They allow people to think the government is doing something on an issue without actually having to do anything. Their latest output has also been very much in the politics of fear camp.

Read more:

golden_balls said...

Its iain usual behaviour he writes a blog post without evidence to back it up and then runs off to his day job.

If he was to give examples then we could pick apart his biased opinionated post.

Unsworth said...

@ Edward Buxton

So you can't see the difference between actual corruption and the possibility of corruption?

Unsworth said...

@ Yorkshire Terrorist

Care to put up any evidence of effectiveness of such campaigns - e.g. reductions in costs to the taxpayer which are directly attributable to this advertising?

Care to explain the remarkable coincidence of peak spending with party political event? How do such 'campaigns' chronologically coincide with, for example, the actual need for 'flu jabs, or reductions in smoking, or road safety?

Unknown said...

Oh do stop whining...

As a taxpayer I'm financing all sorts things that I don't agree with, including my MP's second home and his first home as his wife is also an MP and she nominates his first home as her second home! Still, I'm sure they're worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

Poster bill?

What about this one?

50 Calibre said...

No point in moaning about it. It won't make any difference at all and we always pick up the tab for this bunch of numpties.

Nigel said...


>>Its (sic) iain (sic) usual behaviour he writes a blog post without evidence to back<<

At the very least, the co-incidence of advertising spending peaks and election years is suggestive, don't you think ?

>>his biased opinionated post.<<

Wouldn't be much point in having a blog if you don't have opinions.
As for bias, no doubt you'll be assuring us how you are free of its taint.

You're about as convincing as your namesake at the DFES, _balls.
Your punctuation and grammar are even worse.

Cynic said...

Why not formally complain to the Electoral Commission that in effect the Departments concerned are making undeclared donations to the Party. The law is quite clear.

From the electoral commission website

Third parties may also campaign for or against a political party or issue, as opposed to a particular candidate. Party- and issue-based campaigners are regulated under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA).

Party and issue-based campaigning is regulated only at relevant elections (Parliamentary elections, European Parliament elections, Scottish Parliament elections, National Assembly for Wales elections, Northern Ireland Assembly elections).

Spending is regulated for the 365 days ending with the date of poll for UK Parliamentary general elections and for four months preceding an election for the other types of regulated elections.

Regulated spending includes both actual spending and in-kind gifts given to the third party as part of its campaign. In-kind gifts are known as notional expenditure and must be included in a third partys return. Where the notional expenditure is over £7,500, it will be considered a reportable non-cash donation.

Campaigning at local elections is only controlled where it falls within the regulated period for one of the above elections.

and, above all:

Where a third party plans to spend more than £5,000 in any of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland or more than £10,000 in England during the regulated period for a relevant election, it must register with us before doing so. A form is available for registration as a third party.

There is no fee required for an application and third parties do not have to tell us where they will campaign or the subject matter of their campaign.

Only the following types of individuals or organisations may register as third parties:

an individual registered on a UK electoral register or resident in the UK
a UK-registered political party
a UK-registered company which is incorporated in the EU and carries on business in the UK
a UK-registered trade union
a UK-registered building society
a UK-registered Limited Liability partnership which carries on business in the UK
a UK-registered friendly, industrial, provident or building society
a UK-based unincorporated association of two or more people whose main office is in the UK and which carries on the majority of its activities in the UK
A third partys registration lasts for 15 months in the first instance. If, after this period of time the third party wishes to continue its registration, it must submit a form to renew the registration.

Moriarty said...

@golden balls

The point could be an inch from your face travelling at 100mph and you'd still miss it.

That said, for the rest of us it's quite simple (I'll put this in terms even you can understand). Either the posters are Party propaganda dressed up as government dissemination or they are not. If they are then that's a form of corruption: the taxpayer should not be paying for the fact that the Labour Party can manage neither its own nor the country's finances. If they are not then you have to ask whether, given that my yet-unborn grandchildren will eventually have to meet the bill, the expenditure is necessary. And the answer to that is: it isn't.

It's called the law of excluded middle. For a logic primer you could do worse than AC Grayling. Just don't read any of his other stuff, it's junk.

Nigel said...


>>even if the Tories were in power it would be any different?<<

I hope so, as they are officially committed to reducing government advertising spend in order to help finance a 2 year council tax freeze.

We'll see.

golden_balls said...

I don't wish to associate both nigel and unsworth as one but on this occasion i will lol

in an earlier post i and other labour supporters were accused of

"you trot out a series of wholly unprovable and apparently unsubstantiated 'opinions'


"Well that's typical of the NuLab cretins who seem to be unable to distinguish between fact and opinion"

Is iain and his acolytes claiming some form of corruption if so lets have the evidence.

If they are critical of the spending what would they cut.

Nigel said...


>>Like the campaigns informing elderly folk about flu jabs<<

Clearly not very successful, as HMG is now trying to job off several million surplus doses.

not an economist said...

What was the trend when Thatch and Major were in power?

The King of Wrong said...

Government information campaigns are a waste of money, are they?

Well, yes.

Here's a nice little rule of thumb for governments: if you have to tell me that you're doing something, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

Think about it: do we expect to see adverts saying "we teach your kids!" or "Police: keeping you safe" or "NHS - die another day" or "Dole: paying people so they don't have to steal your TV"? No, because we know that's what the government does.

What's being advertised are either services we don't want or campaigns to bully us into conforming with the nanny state's idea of how we should live - and that is not just an ineffective waste of money but profoundly wrong.

TheMurf said...

How dare Labour use taxpayer funds for campaigns!

They should tap non domiciled sugar daddys instead!

Anonymous said...

@Moriarty - re-read, please. Reduce....drink driving.

@Unsworth - Care to put up proof that peak spending happens towards the end of an electoral cycle rather than at the end of the financial year (such as the tax ads) or in response to events (such as the swine flu ads), or seasonal factors (regular flu or increased drink-driving around the party season)? As for the ads, if you drive more people towards accessing government services online, surely this will result in long term operational savings?

@Nigel - erm, that's the Tamiflu they ordered to counter swine flu, not seasonal flu.

Unsworth said...

@ golden_balls

Just speak for yourself. I really would prefer not be associated with your ravings.

Oh, and is English your second language?

Nigel said...


actually Tamiflu is an (allegedly fairly ineffective) antiviral, made by Roche.
Which HMG bought rather a lot of.

Nothing to do with the 90 million odd doses of flu vaccine HMG bought from GSK.
Of which less than 10% has been used.

Erm back at you.

Moriarty said...

@peter sutcliffe

I'm glad my tax pound was spent on posters alerting me to the dangers of drink driving. Before the poster I, and most of the country, thought it was perfectly safe.

golden_balls said...

well at least be consistent with your posts unsworth

you accuse other people of claiming opinions as fact then do the same yourself.

and to answer your question yes it is but i've said this before do keep up.

ukipwebmaster said...

And they get party funding from the taxpayers filtered through the Unions.
Where is the electoral commission when you need them?