How election leaflets used to look

Earlier this month I highlighted how election posters in Australia, and other countries, feature close up head shots of candidates in a way that is almost completely unknown in the UK.

Large head and shoulders photographs did, however, previously feature heavily in our election literature – on leaflets if not posters. For decades many leaflets look like this effort from Sir W Lacon Threlford who was standing for election as a City of London Alderman in 1935:

Lacon Threlford election leaflet

Pausing for a moment of sympathy for the clerical helpers who had to correct the polling hours on the leaflet, it is notable that his name is not clearly presented anywhere on the front of the leaflet and his signature is not the most readable.

The reverse of the leaflet does give his name, along with a write-up of reasons to vote for him:

Lacon Threlford election leaflet - reverse

The underlying messages here are very similar to those used by candidates now: went to school here, worked here, active in local organisation, active in worthy organisation, impressive career, served country, generous person and so on. The language and phrasing is very different, and no web address, reply slip or bar chart in sight.

So just for a bit of fun, how you would present this record in a modern election campaign?

(Sir W Lacon Threlford’s name lives on, by the way, in the form of the Chartered Institute of Linguists which he formed and which has a regular Threlford Lecture in his memory.)

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

18 Comments

  • We had to hand change a leaflet once for a ward, by hand, correcting a timing – some things never change 🙂

    (The original had said polls open at 7am and close at 11am – whether that would have got a good early turnout we will never know…)

  • Simon Titley 26th Aug '10 - 12:33pm

    No bar charts. See, it’s easy if you try.

  • Wasnt everyone who fought in the First World War awarded three medals (Pip, Squeak and Wilfred for the army if not the navy)? Dreadful bit of spin!

  • Peter Laubach 26th Aug '10 - 1:29pm

    Talking of Australia, I’ve been hoping that someone would provide an intelligible analysisof how the voting went, given that the AV system used could be compared with what would happen here if we win next year’s referendum.
    I appreciate voting is compulsory there (as I think it should be here), and there may be a difference in that ALL preferences have to be shewn there (not sure if that’s proposed here), but otherwise I would have thought that people here would find such an analysis helpful. Does anyone have any info?

  • David Worsfold 26th Aug '10 - 1:32pm

    I’m not sure how representative a City of London election leaflet is. I don’t suppose they have actually changed that much today.

  • Mark Smulian 26th Aug '10 - 2:08pm

    I once took part in a local election in the early 1970s where the Liberal Party used a circular, orange but completely blank window bill (other than an imprint). The idea, so I gathered, was the create a local talking point about the orange blobs that had appeared all around the area before these were replaced by conventional posters a week later. It was thought up by Southend councillor Mike King, an unsung pioneer of Focus-style leaflets as early as 1966, but this was one of his innovations that didn’t catch on.

  • “ONLY [NAME] CAN WIN HERE!” would surely be the modern equivalent, no matter where and which party?

  • I think David Worsfold is right – the City of London isn’t really an administrative entity that can be compared with normal local authorities. Having said that, I bet Tony Greaves has got hundreds of similar leaflets from that period.

  • Irfan Ahmed 26th Aug '10 - 7:02pm

    @tonyhill

    I agree with you about Tony Greaves and his vast collection of election leaflets!

  • toryboysnevergrowup 26th Aug '10 - 7:49pm

    Just reminds me that the City of London Corporation still exists as a stain on our Democracy, despite the behaviour of the City in recent years. Perhaps the LibDems in government may want to something about it – if only to distinguish themselves from their Tory masters.

  • Experienced one of our candidates (Tory background) – issuing an election address about 1995 – not consulted with anyone – started “Gentlemen” ended “Your obedient servant”. I asked who’d written it – he said “I adapted my great uncle’s address (that was in late 1890s – women didn’t have the vote !).

  • Having just attended a big family event I dug out my great grandfather’s address for Micklegate Ward in York for 1911. Not very different.
    Clearly there was no campaigns department input

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 27th Jul - 12:25pm
    This is very much what Liberals have always supported. I have no doubt our ministers in Coalition pushed for this and were blocked by the...
  • User AvatarPeter Bancroft 27th Jul - 12:19pm
    I do think that greater levels of employee involvement can be said to be inherently liberal, but the issue I have with works councils (as...
  • User AvatarDav 27th Jul - 12:05pm
    Had Britain fallen/surrendered in 1940 Hitler would have been fighting only on his eastern front; such a factor would have made his task far easier...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 27th Jul - 12:01pm
    @ Paul Murray, I do not share Reith's views, well certainly not those he held in the 1930s. I find it rather ironic that the...
  • User Avatarexpats 27th Jul - 11:51am
    Dav 27th Jul '16 - 10:12am..............The most important contribution of the UK during the war was not towards the defeat of Hitler: that was a...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th Jul - 11:44am
    What excellent comments from Mathew Huntbach . We do indeed suffer for the lack of what he describes ,and he mentions a kind of golden...
Thu 28th Jul 2016
Sat 30th Jul 2016
Mon 1st Aug 2016
Wed 3rd Aug 2016
Sat 6th Aug 2016
Wed 10th Aug 2016
Fri 12th Aug 2016
19:00
Sat 13th Aug 2016
Tue 16th Aug 2016
Thu 18th Aug 2016
Sun 21st Aug 2016