Family watching TV in 1950s

Back in 2010 the BBC reported on the 40% rise in advertising spending in the run up to the last general election, with the former head of the Government Information Service telling them that ministers pressurised civil servants to run adverts which would highlight the government’s programme as polling day approached:

“One of the dangerous things that has happened over the years is that the boundaries as they are seen between what is proper and what is not proper have become more and more blurred.

Quite. Hours after the general election campaign kicked off yesterday, George Osborne decided to launch new adverts for his Help To Buy scheme in the middle of one of TV’s most expensive ad slots (the new series of Broadchurch) — this despite a freeze which limits marketing to “essential expenditure”.

And then there’s the conspicuously nationalist ‘superfast broadband’ campaign, launched last month with an attendant press release referencing the Tory slogan “long term economic plan”:

Even Conservative Home founder Tim Montgomerie calls the campaigns ‘not subtle’ and “too close to political propaganda in an election year”.

  1. Innocent Abroad says:

    I think Osborne would say that no expenditure could ever be more essential than that which is designed to secure the return of a Tory government.

    As to civil servants, expect to see them increasingly replaced by “consultants” who will be exempt from the requirement for political neutralityand whose contracts extend years into the election after next.

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