Britain is working. Don't let the Tories wreck it again

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"Britain is working. Don't let the Tories wreck it again" is the British Labour Party's current slogan, as at November 2004, and features in a strapline on the party's website. [1]


"Britain is working" is also tipped to be Labour's campaign slogan for the forthcoming British General Election 2005. According to the Daily Telegraph, Labour's election coordinator Alan Milburn MP "has been told to launch a television and poster advertising blitz in the New Year and to put the party on a war footing under the campaign slogan 'Britain Is Working'". [2]

The slogan is actually a rehash of an old Conservative Party slogan from the 1979 general election. According to the Daily Telegraph: "It carries echoes of the Tory slogan 'Labour Isn't Working' which helped to propel Margaret Thatcher to Downing Street in 1979. That line was devised by the then agency of Lord Saatchi, the advertising guru who is now a Tory co-chairman." [3]. The actual copy was the work of one Andrew Rutherford, one of the best copywriters in the uk of all time.

The party's advertising agency, and presumed author of the slogan, is TBWA/GGT. The agency was given the Labour Party account in April 2000 [4]. In September 2004, The Times reported that "Trevor Beattie, the advertising boss behind controversial campaigns for FCUK and Wonderbra, has been chosen by Labour to lead its election advertising campaign. Mr Beattie, chairman of TBWA, will face Lord Saatchi, the advertising guru, who is working on a new logo for the Tories." [5]

Is Britain really working? Hidden unemployment under Labour

A key claim of Labour's reelection campaign is that unemployment rates are historically low under Tony Blair's government. The "Britain is working" slogan is cleverly designed to reinforce this message, by evoking the Conservative's 1979 campaign slogan "Labour isn't working".

Yet an October 2002 study by researchers at Sheffield Hallam and Warwick Universities showed that "there is extensive ‘hidden unemployment’ in many parts of Britain". According to the researchers, "although the official unemployment figures have fallen by more than 800,000 since 1997, hidden unemployment has increased by around 200,000." [6]

In fact, the 'true' rate of unemployment in late 2002, taking the hidden unemployment into account, was around 2.8 million, or 9.5% of the workforce. [7]

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