The Conservative Party has just launched an advertising campaign in 60 marginal Tory seats, which seeks to demonise unemployed people.
The advertisement simply asks, “Who do you think this government should be giving more support to?” – then confronts its audience with a stark choice: a perfect, “hard working” nuclear family with two children, all smiling lovingly at each other, or an unshaven young man in a lumberjack shirt lounging on a sofa who “won’t work”.
This ad is wrong on so many levels. Joe Penny of the New Economics Foundation explains why it is misleading, harmful and offensive – and why it is in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s policy on good advertising.
The ‘nasty party’ has clearly not lost its nasty streak. If Nick Clegg is looking for an effective differentiation tactic, he could do a lot worse than disown this sort of ugly and poisonous politics.
POSTSCRIPT: It turns out that the Tories’ “hard working” family is a stock photo, which has appeared in about 30 other places, including Danone yoghurt vouchers, a Christian home-schooling CD, and posters for cod liver oil and a Portuguese dentist. A hard working family indeed.