Campaign of the Week

Each week we take a look at a campaign that’s caught our eye. This week, Labour takes the crown.

NOW HIRING – AFTER THE 7TH OF MAY

This week’s campaign of the week brings it back to the NHS – the subject of prolonged heat, some light, and much controversy over funding during this campaign. Labour has come out with a new poster designed to emphasise its core strength, the NHS. The party has long trailed on the economy and leadership but has an edge on the health service.

The new poster is entitled ‘Labour: nurse applications open May 8th’ alongside a row of watches. It promises that the party would hire 20,000 more nurses, and ends with the tagline ‘It’s Time to Care. It’s Time for a Labour Government.’

Time to Care is probably Labour’s best slogan – ‘One Nation Labour’ faded, ‘predators and producers’ didn’t go much of anywhere, the attack on the ‘something for nothing culture’ turned into a Tory attack on welfare dependency, and even the cost-of-living crisis seems to have taken a back seat. Time to Care, however, has a good ring. It draws attention to Labour’s fondest selling point. It suggests that the Conservatives do not have time for ordinary people and are out of touch. It positions the party on the side of the most popular public sector workers after years of pay restraint. And, it makes a little jab at the Tories on employment. ‘Applications open’ – vote Labour, and the UK will start hiring.

Labour seems to be positioning investment in public services as a route to economic competence – to avoid defeats like 1987 and 1992. In only two weeks, we’ll see if it works.