The Home Office’s infamous ‘Go Home’ van has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority – but not, as you might have thought, because it’s offensive, racist or stupid. It’s been banned because the statistics emblazoned on the side were misleading.
The van, which was driven around six London boroughs with a message that people in the country illegally should ‘go home or face arrest’ also carried a claim that ‘106 arrests last week in your area.’
The ASA’s upheld complaints that as the van, being on wheels, was moving freely between areas, the number was unlikely to apply to any given reader’s local area. It also noted that the van was used for more than a week, so the number was unlikely to be true.
‘Because the data on which the claim was based related to a significant part of London north of the Thames rather than to the specific areas in which the poster was displayed, and because the data did not relate to the week prior to the campaign, we concluded the claim was misleading and had not been substantiated.’
The judgement also upheld a complaint that the small print which attempted to get around the above problem was so small it was impossible to read on a moving vehicle.
On Sunday, Theresa May told Andrew Marr she’s still “waiting to see the evaluation” of whether the scheme was successful, saying she wasn’t going to “pluck an answer off the shelf.”
She didn’t seem to have a problem pulling figures out of the air and slapping them on the side of a van…