Tag Archives: how leaflets used to look

Not all is quite so new in the world of political messaging and behaviour change

On my way to windmill spotting in Lincoln recently, I happened across this example of an 19th century election leaflet for the City of Lincoln’s local elections:

It’s a neat example of a point I’ve made before, that what can seem new and exciting in the world of communications often is really long-established ideas in slightly new clothes.

In this case, note two particular features of the message. First, the reference to electors having previously elected Mr Page four times before. In other words, …

Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

How leaflets used to look: Labour’s Citizen leaflet from 1929

Today’s leaflet in my series on old election leaflets is a centrally produced Labour party 4-pager from 1929. As with the Conservative leaflet from 1931 which I previously featured, the design may be very different from good modern leaflets, but the content has some very familiar overtones.

The May 1929 contest was the first general election in which women under 30 could vote and also one of only three elections in the modern era where the party with the most votes did not also win the most seats. Despite being slightly out-polled by the Conservatives, Labour won more seats in …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

How leaflets used to look: a Tory attack on Labour’s economic policies, 1931

Today’s leaflet in my series on old election leaflets is a centrally produced Conservative Party leaflet from October 1931. Ramsay MacDonald had led a Labour administration under August 1931 when it split over a Budget and economic crisis. MacDonald earned his place in Labour’s hall of infamy by then forming a National Government with Conservatives and Liberals. Only two Labour colleagues joined MacDonald in this government, so the attacks in this leaflet on “Arthur Henderson and other Socialist ex-Ministers” are, nominally at least, directed at Labour rather than MacDonald and co. in the coalition.

Swap references such as the Empire Marketing Board for current ones and the basic arguments being made in the leaflet are remarkably similar to contemporary politics:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

How leaflets used to look: Sutton, 1972 – no bar chart but a darn good skull

Welcome to another leaflet from the archives, this time courtesy of Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey who has kindly provided a copy of the first Focus leaflet put out in Sutton back in 1972. It kicked off the winning Parliamentary by-election campaign for Graham Tope and was put together by Liverpool’s Trevor “Jones the Vote” who pioneered many of the campaign tactics now taken for granted.

Some of the issues may feel rather familiar and given its pioneering nature I think we can forgive the missing apostrophes and question marks… Interesting too both the level of personal detail about Graham and the inclusion of a story about what the Liberal Party believed in.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

How leaflets used to look: a 1920s Liberal attack leaflet

Earlier this week I blogged about the skilful presentation of the Liberal Party’s economic plan in a 1929 leaflet, but what about leaflets having a go at other parties? Here is how the Liberals of the time attacked Labour’s Land Policy:

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How leaflets used to look: the 1929 Liberal economic plan

With the economy continuing to dominate politics, it is time to take another dip into my collection of old political leaflets and have a a look at how the Liberal Party of 1929 talked about the issue:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

How leaflets used to look: Clapham 1955

Continuing my occasional series on how election leaflets used to look, this one is a Labour freepost election address from the 1955 general election in Clapham constituency.

The front of the leaflet is a design unlikely to be used today:

Labour election leaflet, Clapham, 1955 (front)

Dated too is the right-hand side of the inside, with its appeal from the candidate’s wife to female voters – a common tactic at the time. Despite the old-fashioned typography, the layout is clear and easy to read …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment
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  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 19th Aug - 12:39pm
    Loved it! He seems like a good candidate for Have I Got News For You. I hope someone with contacts suggests it.
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 19th Aug - 11:22am
    @ Palehorse, I agree that you shouldn't try to argue. If somehow I did end up agreeing with you then we'd both be wrong! :-)...
  • User AvatarGordon Lishman 19th Aug - 11:19am
    Jo used to say that his constituency was not really good n Scotland! Jamie is the best candidate who Maggie and I ever approved to...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 19th Aug - 11:12am
    @ David Raw, With all due respect to Corelli Barnett, he's not correct. We have to consider the nature of money to answer this question...
  • User AvatarPalehorse 19th Aug - 11:02am
    Peter, I don't argue with Keynsian zealots. It's like trying to trying to convince a Creationist Pastor from rural Alabama of evolution. I just keep...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 19th Aug - 10:51am
    @ Peter Martin “After the War we were pretty well bankrupt” That’s not true. If we were , how was it that the Labour Government...