Campaign posters – UK elections

The UK election is looming and the campaign is heating up. All of the major newspapers have dedicated election sites which provide detailed information. However, if you’re looking for something for your students that covers the main policies and where the parties stand on them, then try the manifesto guide on the bbc website. It provides a lot of helpful background information and gives the students an insight into how the parties differ on key issues. There’s also a very concise overview of the actual events at the UK Parliament website.

It’s also interesting to have students look at and compare the posters created by the different parties. Here are links to some of the latest ones, as well as two from the past that have stood the test of time.

The original Conservative poster from 1979 has been varied in election campaigns ever since. It was based on a pun – people standing in a dole queue without a job that at the same time shows that the Labour employment policies were not working. Labour produced a different version of this for the 2015 campaign to make a point about NHS waiting times.

The Conservatives have used the image of a wrecking ball (a word students might be familiar with due to Miley Cyrus’s song) to show what they think will happen to the economy if Labour wins. A Spectator blog provides some information on how the poster was created. At the end there is a reference to the first Conservative Party poster for the 2015 election that featured a road representing the “road to recovery“. This poster was, however, widely mocked as it transpired that the photograph was based on a photoshopped photo of a road in Germany.

The Liberal Democrats have chosen a slogan that is familiar to children in the UK – how to cross a road: look left, look right, then cross. This is, of course, also intended to mean that people should look to the left (Labour) to the right (Tories) then put a cross for the LibDems. This poster, featuring Ed Balls (Labour, the Shadow Chancellor) and George Osbourne (Conservative, the Chancellor), shows that a Labour or Conservative government would “lurch economic policy dangerously to the left or the right” according to the LibDem website.

Another iconic poster was the one created by the Conservatives for the 2001 election campaign. It shows a pregnant Tony Blair. Again, it’s a great example of how language can work on different levels (labour = process of giving birth / the political party; to deliver a baby / promise).




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