Road to ruin: Tories’ campaign poster is electoral suicide


The Tories have fired the first shot in the 2015 general election campaign – and it’s a dud.

Their brand-new campaign poster shows a road stretching out through the (presumably British) countryside, and bears the slogan, “Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy”. It’s eerily reminiscent of the poster for the 1978 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind – and there’s about as much chance of our economic chances improving under the Tories as there is of alien visitation.


Perhaps the Tories are trying to evoke another image from popular culture:


Either way, they are definitely trying to promote a fantasy.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the actual poster:


The claims beneath the slogan are questionable at best; at worst, outright lies.

“1.75 million more people in work.” Are they? Is that just the number thrown off Jobseekers’ Allowance? Or is it the number of people claiming to be self-employed and claiming tax credits, rather than go through the sanctions minefield that is a JSA claim under the Tory-led Coalition government? Is it the number of people in part-time or zero-hours work?

How many of these people are actually able to pay Income Tax – and thereby contribute to the Coalition’s stated main aim of deficit reduction – as a result of their employment?

“760,000 more businesses.” Are there? As above, how many are people claiming to be self-employed in order to receive tax credits rather than claim JSA? And how many businesses have been ruined over the course of the current, Tory-led, Parliament? Here’s a clue:


That doesn’t look too good, does it?

(Admittedly this graph only runs until 2013 but if one considers the number of new self-employed enterprises – 408,000 in the year to August 2014 alone – and the fact that self-employed income has dropped by 22 per cent since 2008-9, it is possible to work out the facts behind the Tory spin).

“The deficit halved.” Even the BBC have had a go at this! Radio 4’s Six O’clock News contained a segment in which this claim was examined and found wanting, in strict mathematical terms. This is because the deficit stood at around £150 billion when the Tory-led Coalition took over, and is likely to be around £100 billion on election day, May 7. This suggests that just one-third of the deficit has been eliminated.

But even this isn’t the whole story. Michael Meacher MP will happily tell you that the policies of the last Labour government account for around £38 billion of the eliminated deficit leaving George Osborne responsible for around £12 billion of savings. Looking at the number of benefit-related deaths caused by his colleague Iain Duncan Smith’s policies alone (more than 10,000 but the DWP still won’t release the figures), we have to ask: Was it worth it?

The claim that the deficit has been halved is justified with reference to economic growth; because the economy has grown, the deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is smaller. But this means the Tories have used a fallacious argument to make their point; having referred to the deficit in money terms for the last four and a half years, they have had to try ‘moving the goalposts’ (that’s the actual name for this fallacy) in order to make it seem that they have achieved more.

Releasing this poster on an unsuspecting population at a launch in Halifax, David Cameron made it clear that he wanted the Conservatives to be judged on their economic performance. Perhaps he is forgetting that the Tories’ economic performance has been absolutely awful.

Together with George Osborne, he promised in 2010 that the Coalition would eliminate the deficit within its term of office. That time is almost up and it is clear that any government formed after the election will inherit a deficit of at least £80 billion. This government has failed to keep its promise.

Not only that, they promised that the national debt would begin to reduce by the end of the current Parliamentary term, and this has not happened. The national debt is still rising. It currently stands at more than twice its level when the Coalition took office. Mr Osborne is responsible for more debt than every Labour chancellor in history – put together.

And the national debt is still rising!

In fact, all the financial pain endured by ordinary people over the years since May 2010 has been for nothing. Most working households have suffered a real-terms income drop of £1,600 per year – increasing beyond £3,000 per year for those on benefits.

But life has improved for some, hasn’t it?

The richest people in the UK have doubled their wealth since 2009. They have enjoyed huge tax cuts – both in Income Tax and Corporation Tax – the tax companies pay on their profits – while changes made by Osborne to tax law have opened up huge new tax loopholes, allowing them to turn the UK into another tax haven and – again – pay fewer taxes. As pointed out on Charlie Brooker’s ‘2014 Wipe’ (and visible in the video posted on Vox Political yesterday), the current Parliament has seen a transfer of money from the poor to the rich, the like of which is unprecedented in recent years.

That’s right – rich UK citizens have benefited from the Conservatives’ policies. Debt reduction hasn’t had much to do with their plans.

This blog has argued in the past that the current government has been about selling off state assets to private enterprises, in order to create gratitude to the government of the time that is expressed in the form of donations to party funds. The Conservative Party has certainly benefited from this, and has a huge ‘war chest’ of cash to spend on the upcoming election as a result.

And we must also consider the number of millionaires in Cameron’s cabinet, and the Conservatives’ wider circle of acquaintances. Have you ever heard of a kleptocracy?

It’s a form of political corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with the pretense of honest service. Doesn’t that remind you of the Conservative-led Coalition government?

Voting for the Conservatives is the last thing anyone would do, if they want a more prosperous United Kingdom.

And one last thought: Who wants the Tory version of a stronger economy at the cost of human lives? It’s only money, but more than 10,000 people have died because of Tory policies aimed at enriching their friends. It is a price that nobody should be forced to pay.

This writer got all of the above from the Tories’ new election poster.

David Cameron said it was “firing the starting gun” for the election.

It was the political equivalent of shooting himself in the head.

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20 thoughts on “Road to ruin: Tories’ campaign poster is electoral suicide

  1. hstorm

    On the same subject, I’ve noticed another rhetorical sleight-of-hand to keep an eye on.

    Parts of the media have been stating since around the time of the Autumn Statement that the Tories originally promised that they would wipe out the *structural* deficit, rather than the total deficit, by the end of this Parliament.

    This is emphatically misleading.

    David Cameron stated quite explicitly in a speech in October 2010 that it was the books would be *balanced* within five years, i.e. outgoings would equal tax receipts, not just that the repeated ‘overspends’ would be gone – see

    Also George Osborne claimed in his first Budget that we would actually be in surplus by the end of this Parliament – see

    I’d like to suggest we all keep an eye out for newspapers (especially the Telegraph) and websites that try to thrust this watered-down pledge into the past, as it’s been happening on-and-off for at least a month.

  2. victedy

    I have had to laugh at the rejigging of their election poster on this blog & on twitter, someone even added the ‘road to nowhere’ 80s song to a lovely photoshopped Tory ‘road’ poster LOL

  3. Owen Williams

    “David Cameron said it was “firing the starting gun” for the election. … It was the political equivalent of shooting himself in the head.”

    GOD, I hope so. It’s just a massive shame that it wasn’t loaded with actual bullets…frankly, he would’ve done us all a favour, even if his IS just a party figurehead…

    What’s that saying go like, “shooting blanks”? Good thing the papers like to draw him as a condom, eh?

  4. joanna may

    A bit off topic Mike, but if I were next prime minister, I would Sack every Manager of Every jobcentre, and replace them with carefully selected managers, who will add compassion to the job and to training! Those who use the phrase “only following orders” Will automatically have a black mark on their employment record. I know this may sound harsh, but they have helped to kill vulnerable people who absolutely deserve every chance to life. Jobcentre staff should also be questioned as to their initial inclination to apply sanctions.

  5. Jonathan Wilson

    TomPride has an interesting post along the same lines as this… except its the original… in germany, and its got holes in it, lol.

    On another slant… the photoshopped version, when you take into account vanishing lines/point the shopped road either gets wider halfway along its length or it rises up into the air at a near vertical rate. That would be the “bump” of buy to let crashing, the huge defaults on personal credit due to falling wages, the crash of the BTL empires, the massive increase of repossessions of the private sector, the delayed repossessions of the social sector due to the bedroom tax+benefit cap reduction+council tax shortfall (support!), the collapse of the NHS due to all the problems caused by cuts to councils services/care being pushed onto the NHS, the ambulance service going tits up when all the “contracted out” scroungers walk away when they can no longer make a huge profit and so many AnE’s have closed that the few “centres of excellence” left can’t cope with demand…. and so on and so forth.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes, and a similar message has appeared on Twitter, which I’ll try to reproduce here:

      Road to Ruin is in Germany

    2. Rik

      I would like to know how much more profits the corporates have made through tax avoidance evasion and what impact collection of unpaid taxes would have made.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        They wouldn’t have made any more profit; it’s just that they would have paid more of it in as tax.
        The impact made by collection of unpaid taxes depends on how much you believe is going unpaid. Some say £20 billion, some say £120 billion. That’s a big difference.
        If the top-end figure was correct, then none of the Coalition’s austerity measures would have been necessary. Not one.

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