The Tories' new poster: myth and reality

Attack ad falsely claims that Labour is planning to introduce a "death tax".

You might have thought that the disastrous reception the Tories' last poster received would have encouraged the party to take a little more care this time round, but evidently that's not the case.

The Tories' new attack ad takes aim at a proposed £20,000 "death tax" (a phrase annexed from the US right) to pay for the new national care service.


But there's one hitch: the tax isn't actually a Labour policy. Ministers may or may not adopt the proposal but it's fradulent to claim they already have. As the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, quite reasonably pointed out:

I'm not currently considering that as a lead option for reform.That figure was used in the green paper last year but I do not believe that a flat levy of that kind would be the right way to go. I can say to you very categorically today that that is not what I am considering.

In the meantime, the Tories should be asked: "How would you fund the expansion of social care?" And here, via Labour Matters, is the inevitable first parody of the poster, reminding you (if you needed to be) of the Tories' regressive plan to slash inheritance tax for the richest 3,000 estates.


Labour also released a new attack ad last night, questioning David Cameron's claim that the Tories are "the party of the NHS".


Labour is right to challenge Cameron over his phoneyness rather than his class. Voters are rarely troubled by a politician's background or education (after all, they elected an Old Etonian as Mayor of London), but they despise insincerity.

When focus groups are asked to describe the Tory leader they always mention the car that followed him with his shoes and briefcase as he cycled to work. This early revelation led to the suspicion, never quite abandoned, that Cameron is the sort of politician who will say one thing but do another.

After the 2005 campaign I didn't have high hopes for Labour's posters (remember Michael Howard as Fagin?) but so far I'm pleasantly surprised.

Update: The right don't like the new Tory poster, either. Daniel Finkelstein says it was a "bad idea" and over at Coffee House, Peter Hoskin describes the poster as "disingenuous".


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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.