Jonny Oates writes: The Lib Dems’ campaign slogan – Building a fairer Britain

The artwork for the Liberal Democrat campaign logo has now gone live on the extranet/huddle and is available for use on campaign material.

The slogan has been designed to reflect the key themes of our campaign – change and fairness. Throughout the campaign we will aim to demonstrate that we are the only party offering the real and substantive change needed to deliver a fairer Britain. The logo will be a visual indication of that commitment.

Our campaign will be built around four steps to a fairer Britain:

  • Fair taxes: We will ensure no-one pays income tax on the first £10,000 they earn. 3.6m low-income workers and pensioners will be freed from paying income tax and millions more will have a tax cut of £700 a year. We’ll pay for it by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the rich, a new tax on mansions worth over £2m, and ensuring polluters pay for the damage they cause.
  • A fair start for all our children: We will get every child the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes. We will spend an extra £2.5bn on schools, targeted at children who need the most help. The average primary school could cut class sizes to 20. An average secondary school could see classes of just 16.
  • A fair future: a rebalanced, green economy: We will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs with a £3.5bn green stimulus and job creation plan in our first year in government, fully funded by cut backs elsewhere. We will break up the banks and rebalance the economy away from unsustainable financial speculation. And we will be honest about where savings must be made in government spending to balance the books and protect our children’s future.
  • A fair deal from politicians: We will introduce a fair voting system to end safe seats and make all MPs listen to people. We will ensure corrupt MPs can be sacked by their constituents and stop non-doms from donating to parties or sitting in Parliament. We will take power from Westminster and give it to councils and communities, with local power over police and the NHS.

Our four steps to a fairer Britain will represent the most radical change to Britain in a generation and they are underpinned by the action we will take to protect frontline NHS services, put more police on patrol, restore the pensions earnings link and deliver fair pay for our armed forces. Pledges we can make because we are the only party with a plan to balance the country’s books after the recession.

The campaign logo symbolises our determination to bring change that makes a difference to people in their daily lives. It should be used widely to highlight the promise of change and commitment to fairness, which are at the heart of our campaign.

* Jonny Oates is the Lib Dems’ Director of Election Communications.

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This entry was posted in General Election.


  • I’m going to ask ths question purely on the basis that somebody will, even though I know what the answer will be.

    Where’s the party’s name?

  • David Blake 16th Feb '10 - 5:07pm

    Good question. Also what really differentiates us from the other parties here? The slogans themselves could come from any of the three main parties.

  • Solid foundations from which to build the four principles are long standing but perhaps better put than in the past… Hopefully with the election coverage and leaders debates we can push our unique position…

    Party’s name is a good point, would be helpful although not essential given that this is unlikely to be appearing anywhere just as it is… Posters will have website/name on… Hopefully, it will be distinctively Liberal Democrat.

  • I do love the four steps, which to me seem a very clear and effective way of reinforcing our fairness agenda. However, the logo is appallingly bad. It’s straight out of a late 90’s supermarket marketing handbook, and looks ridiculously similar to the Somerfield logo. Does no-one check these things?

    I am so glad I no longer work for the party, and no longer have to deal with Cowley Street attempting to fire me when I say this sort of thing.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Feb '10 - 8:36pm

    “We will spend an extra £2.5bn on schools, targeted at children who need the most help. The average primary school could cut class sizes to 20. An average secondary school could see classes of just 16.”

    This seems to be a reduction of something like 20% in class sizes, which is supposed to be funded by an increase of 2-3% in the budget. Is that really feasible? Or am I getting the sums wrong somehow?

  • Also the blue stands out more than the yellow/orange. Who actually decided to bring in the blue which is, after all, the Tory colour?

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Feb '10 - 12:06pm

    It’s an ad-man’s view of politics. The ad-man is used to selling products devised centrally to passive consumers, so that’s what he’ll do. The ad-man has some vague idea of what politics is about from what he sees reported in the national media, and that fits into his ad-man’s view of the world – politics is about the leader and his politics being the product sold to the voters as passive consumers.

    It does not occur to the ad-man that politics could be done in a different way. Neither does he have the passion, experience and commitment to do it another way. It’s just a brief – sell this product in the way you know how.

    Politics in this way isn’t working. We are a democracy, politics should be about active engagement, people should feel the politicians are representatives of them, not consumer products. We should be selling active engagement with our party, not passive voting for it on election day. We need to break this idea that politicians are some alien species which is leading people to feel they don’t want to vote for any of them because voting is like endorsing aliens.

    But if we do it this way – the politician is one of us, on our side against the aliens who run this world, the ultimate power of the vote in which we are all equal against the power of wealth and influence where we are not, democracy means we suffer the aliens only when we want to – then we are standing against all the ad-man, by his career, stands for. The ad-man stands for the power of money, because the power of money pays him. The ad-man stands for the consumer remaining quiet and buying what the ad-man persuades him to buy. The ad-man stands for cynicism and trickery because that’s what the ad-man’s job is.

    That is why the ad-man just cannot sell politics in a different way, a way which is about active involvement, a way which is about the people taking power for themselves through getting together and using the mechanisms of democracy, about the true democratic renewal we really need.

    I said all this, or something like it at any rate, when Mr Oates was appointed. I am sorry, as ever, to have been shown correct. What has been shown here is a boring campaign that will not win us the breakthrough we need. Our activists will have to do what the best of of them have always done – run the local campaign they know will work, one which is based on us being part of the people and not just a paid worker for aliens in a London headquarters.

  • I hope someone is going to get versions of the slogan ( and 4 steps) done Bi-Lingually for Wales,

    and while we are at it how about other languages – we are a rainbow nation after all.

  • Lets be honest, it’s rubbish as a slogan and wouldn’t make it onto a FOCUS.

    Your none the wiser after you’ve read it.

    It’s too long and too vague

    It’s not even in normal English – when was the last time you heard anyone say “change that works for you”

    Fairness is so wishy washy as people have such individual ideas of what it means. Plenty of Conservatives view vast inequalities of wealth as “Fair”

  • David Blake 17th Feb '10 - 5:58pm

    Also using ‘change’ which is a word the Tories are using makes it look as if we are simply responding to their campaign.

  • Paul Pettinger 17th Feb '10 - 7:58pm

    Campaiging wise the logo is as bad as our four key policies are good, which franky is the way round I prefer it!

  • Let’s analyse the slogan:

    “Change that works”

    Empty bombast from third party, claiming that something (unspecified) “works”! When did we last see government doing something that works? We’re all floundering with the economy, climate, society, etc. For the third party which isn’t in government to claim that what they propose is assured to work just looks silly.

    Compare and contrast, the 2005 “real alternative” slogan made no such claim. It just said here we are, we would genuinely be different from Tweedledum and Tweedledee, we can readily explain in what ways (Iraq, tuition fees etc), so why not give us a try? A much better pitch. We could do a lot worse than just revive it.

    “… for you”.

    OK, let’s ignore what Obama’s “yes we can” taught us about inclusiveness and getting people on your side. Let’s go for a slogan that emphasises us and them, we’re up high handing out bountiful policies and you the voter are down there expressing pathetic gratitude, OK?

    Fourth-rate stuff. Bin it and start again.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th Feb '10 - 12:17pm

    I rather liked Matthew’s suggestion – “on our side against the aliens who run this world” – but I have a feeling it’s already been used by David Icke.

  • Cllr Jeff Evans 18th Feb '10 - 12:21pm

    Its too bland and instantly forgettable. It just needs more work.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th Feb '10 - 12:54pm

    What about something like “We’ll give You a Fresh New Deal, for a Change!”

    I still wish someone could explain how class sizes can be cut by 20% by increasing the education budget by 2-3% …

  • David Blake 18th Feb '10 - 1:49pm

    I’ve recently donated some money to the central campaign. Now I’m beginning to regret it.

  • David Allen 18th Feb '10 - 3:18pm

    Er, is the onus on us to prove that those alien lizards don’t exist, failing which, David Icke wins the argument?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th Feb '10 - 3:47pm


    “There certainly is a relationship between %budget and %class sizes, but it isn’t x=x.”

    Of course not, but I find it very difficult to believe there can be a factor of ten between them. Don’t you?

    Unless the plan is to increase teachers’ working hours, presumably one thing it implies is an increase in staffing levels of around 20%. If it’s possible to do that on a 2-3% increase in the total budget, that implies the cost of staff is only 10-15% of that budget, doesn’t it? Can that really be true?

    And that’s without taking into account the need for a 20% increase in classroom space, and so on.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 10:49am


    “There’s no point him coming on here and saying it doesn’t “seem” likely to work, is there?”

    Well, there’s not much of a point coming on here and saying anything!

    As always, if you don’t want to discuss the question I raised, don’t discuss it – no one’s forcing you to. But please don’t pretend it’s an unreasonable question to ask. On the contrary, it’s such a blindingly obvious question that I’m sure you’ll hear it quite a number of times before polling day. Considering that this is going to be one of the party’s main manifesto pledges, perhaps it would be as well to have an answer ready.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 11:20am


    “AA, but you haven’t gone to read the policy paper and pulled the figures out of it and taken them apart.”

    Which policy paper do you mean? I have looked at Policy Paper 89, from March 2009. That appears to give no estimate of how much class sizes could be cut by, except that there’s an “estimate” of an _additional_ £500m over and above the £2.5bn to cut class sizes for 5-7 year-olds to 15 (I assume this has since been dropped).

    So there appear to be no figures to take apart. Just some numbers in a press release that aren’t in the more detailed policy document.

  • Alix,

    “Why the (default) sarcasm?”

    Because the argument you used, basically that a bold claim by this Party should be considered justified unless a critic can prove definitively that it is not, is a dishonest argument. It is worth holding it up to ridicule, because, maybe that will dissuade people from using dishonest forms of argument.

    It’s the other way round, of course. If the Party wants to claim that it can work wonders with a limited budget, then the onus is on the Party not to make a claim that can too easily be picked apart. Otherwise it won’t just be AASt making critical comments on a blog, it will be our opponents loudly proclaiming that those Lib Dems live in a fantasy world and deserve to be left alone there to dream on.

    It’s the critics who are this party’s best supporters, because they want to see it do better!

  • David Allen 19th Feb '10 - 1:37pm

    I’ll applaud AASt for making a constructive response to some needlessly hostile comments!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 2:08pm


    Well, as far as I can see, the figures above actually imply a 30% increase in the number of teachers, which is currently more than 400,000. That’s 120,000 more teachers, so surely it’s clear enough that the salary costs alone would be substantially more than £2.5bn.

    And then there is the cost of increasing the number of classrooms by 30%. How is that going to be funded.

    Do you really expect me to do more research and provide more data in order to justify my scepticism? As far as I’m concerned it’s your turn to come up with something.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 3:23pm

    To my mind, it looks depressing as though something like the following may have happened.

    They had this £2.5bn figure in the policy document, which had presumably been properly costed by Vince Cable or whoever. It was to be spent by individual schools as they wished – not necessarily on reducing class sizes. When they came to do the press release someone said “Can we give some illustrative figures of how much this could reduce class sizes?” So somebody divided £2.5bn by the salary of a newly qualified teacher (£21K) and came up with a figure of 120,000 extra teachers. And – hey presto! – that would reduce class sizes by 23%.

    Forget about employers’ NI contributions, forget about employers’ superannuation contributions, forget about the fact that newly qualified teachers don’t stay that way for long – so that in the long-term the commitment would have to be much bigger – forget about the enormous cost of building all the extra classrooms, and forget about all the other overheads that would increase if class sizes were reduced …

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 4:42pm

    It sounds to me like a back-of-the-envelope calculation gone horribly wrong.

    I hope these class-size numbers will be quietly dropped. A virtue of the present situation is that no one will be expecting politicians to deliver miraculous improvements in public services. But the flip side of that is that if they promise they will, then no one will believe them.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 10:33pm

    I agree about the absence of civil liberties. Goodness knows liberty doesn’t cost very much – in fact it can probably save us some money.

    I also think it’s rather a pity that the environment isn’t really in there in its own right, but only as a “green stimulus” for the economy.

    The party seems to have subscribed to the idea that environmentalism is essentially a fad which has run its course, and that if it’s going to have green policies at all it will have to think of other justifications for them (a while ago it was pushing “energy security”, but thankfully that seems to have been dropped).

    But I think climate change is still a crucially important issue which the party should be pushing to the top of the agenda, regardless of changing political fashions. I’ve never agreed with Tony Benn about much, but I do think his distinction between signposts and weathervanes is a pretty perceptive one.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Feb '10 - 11:00pm

    Oh, and – sorry for getting off the point – the logo and slogan are both pretty mediocre. But to be fair most political logos and slogans are.

    And I can’t help thinking it’s more of a symptom of the general malaise of unprincipled, populism policy-making than a fundamental problem in itself.

  • David Blake 20th Feb '10 - 8:08am

    I see that this is now being discussed in the Times –

    They don’t seem very impressed either.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 20th Feb '10 - 9:05am

    This comment by Matthew Parris made me smile:
    The logo currently adorning its website is “We’re the only party that believes in fairness”. Quick work with a spray can, I imagine, to remodel this into “We’re the only party that believes in fairies”, which would, at least, be bold.

  • Fairness is usallly used in context e.g. a Fair deal for Council X, a fair deal for pensioners, that OK for FOCUS, it’s naff as a nationla slogan with no context.

    If you were writing a FOCUS you’d use “Labour deserve to lose, the Conservatives don’t deserve to win”

    We all know it chimes with the views of 70% of the electorate.

  • Whether the logo is good or bad I’m inclined not to take the views of a former Tory MP too seriously as advice as to what would be most effective for us 🙂

  • No we don’t all want yet more money wasted on the useless Police.

  • Civil Liberties & an attack on the surveillance/security state seems to be missing. Lose the Police & education populist garbage. We can’t afford it anyway.

    The Police are surely the least cost-effective organisation in world history anyway. Cutting their salaries & budgets would be just great & would also cut the death rate amongst brazilians, glaswegians with table legs and newspaper sellers.

  • Mary Harrison 22nd Feb '10 - 1:14pm

    Don’t offer to spend MORE on EDUCATION. The voters are not stupid! They know the country has tremendous debts!
    CUT EXPEDITURE by cutting back the notorious bureaucracy and inspectorate that have done so mach damage.
    Allow teachers to design their own lessons suited to their pupils’ needs. Allow head teachers to run their own schools, inspire their pupils and support them with effective discipline procedures.
    This will rejuvenate the system and save money!
    SAVE MORE MONEY by abolishing the ridiculous scheme to rebuild all secondary schools and do what is needed.
    Ask any teacher what they think!

  • I just don’t get it. What is the point in basing a campaign on what you’ll do when in power when there is not a single voter in the country who thinks that’s going to happen? If you want to get people to vote Lib Dem then you have to give them a reason to vote Lib Dem in spite of the nailed-on certainty that you’re not going to be forming a government. This slogan and those fours steps absolutely do not do this.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Daily round-up on Wed 17th February 2010 at 8:07 am.

    […] Lib Dem Voice announces the Lib Dem campaign slogan: Building a Fairer Britain […]

  • By Is this the new Tory slogan? on Sat 20th February 2010 at 8:53 pm.

    […] the Lib Dems it’s Building a fairer Britain […]

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