Coffee House

Tories: There never was a bingo poster

20 March 2014

George Osborne got the front pages he wanted this morning. ‘A budget for Sun readers’ proclaims his target newspaper. But Labour, which doesn’t have very much to say about the Budget, has been celebrating Grant Shapps’ unfortunate infographic which he tweeted last night which takes a rather David Attenborough-style tone when describing what hardworking people like to do in their spare time. ‘Cutting the bingo tax and beer duty to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy’ the image says. Labour is delighted and many Tories are horrified. George Osborne has been pressed repeatedly about it on his post-Budget broadcast tour.


I’ve just spoken to a Tory source who insists that ‘there never was a poster or digital campaign, it was only intended as an infographic. We’re not going to apologise for cutting bingo tax and beer duty. It’s a desperate attempt by Labour to deflect attention.’

The source refused to comment on the use of the word ‘they’, which suggests an us-and-them divide between the Tories and these bingo-playing hordes they’re trying to attract (and understand). But when I asked whether they’ll pull the image or use it again, the source said: ‘It’s kind of been used.. these things… you use them at the time. But the idea that it’s been pulled is ridiculous’.

So this wasn’t a poster campaign. It wasn’t going to appear on billboards. But does that matter? In the world of social media, it probably doesn’t: this was effectively a twitter poster.

As for whether it damages the Tories, it certainly doesn’t help the out-of-touch image they are always trying to shake, and were presumably trying to do with this infographic. But does it boost Labour? My hunch would be that it only boosts the opposition in so far as it gives them something to talk about other than Eric Pickles falling asleep and Etonians. Labour was strikingly keen to talk about anything other than the substance of the Budget yesterday. Which isn’t very reassuring for those in the party who dream of being able to say something about how their party would solve the problems it is so good at complaining about. Labour MPs I spoke to yesterday weren’t very happy, with one saying that Miliband ‘was better two years ago’.

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  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Dad`s gone down the dog track, mother`s playing bingo.`
    So last season.

  • bengeo

    1p off a pint of beer would be a great election strategy in 1902.

  • Jeanne Tomlin

    No, it is quite definitely not an ‘infographic”. Can you tell me what data is shown in that? Exactly none and an infographic is a graphic visual representations of data. It is an poster. Talk about a pathetic attempt to dodge the truth.

  • Two Bob

    What do you expect? The Tories are from bingobingo land

  • Chris Hobson

    All the left can do is criticise an image tweeted out. Not one iota of policy.

  • Fergus McKenzie

    Poor little Shapps – out of his depth and out of a job – soon

  • Jambo25

    I know someone who dealt with Shapps’ office when he was at Housing and Local Government. He wasn’t reckoned to be the sharpest of intellects and a couple of his Civil Servants didn’t struggle too hard to hide their low opinion of him.

  • Adam

    It was tweeted by Shapps, he has made the gaffe here, even true blue Tories I’ve seen have had a facepalm moment over this.

  • Maurice_Gosfield

    Shapps has the judgement of a trilobyte and the gravitas of a gnat. Nothing screams that the Tories aren’t serious about winning the next election more than having this idiotic lightweight as Chairman of the Conservative Party.

  • Diana Fire

    It’s a country mile away from an ad or poster that an agency would have produced. Infographic? What infographic? Looks to me like it was part of an internal presentation that was never intended for an external audience. Which explains the use of ‘them’. Grant Shapps must be spinning on a D&AD pencil and both of these things have made my day.

  • James

    I’m trying to figure out whether the use of “they” in the article is trying to convey a sense of “us and them” or whether it’s just due to the construction of the English language.

    I’m stumped.

  • Peter Stroud

    If the poster gives Miliband and Balls something trivial to focus on: then good. Because it shows that they have nothing important to say on the matter.

    • Nick R

      Oh don’t think this is trivial. When the Conservative Chairman accidentally tells the general public what he really thinks of us, we are entitled to take account of it. After all, he speaks for the Party.

  • Iamfatman

    Only twits tweet

    • MrDavidbush

      And only plebs post….?

  • Kitty MLB

    How utterly pathetic, it was an excellent, progressive, and imaginative budget.
    Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum spent most of their time looking like deflated
    balloons, they had nothing to say and have nothing to offer. Balls could not criticise
    the budget and Sillipede just rambled away with his little class war. Just
    sheer desperation, childishness and spite they come up with this balderdash
    to deflect away from the fact they are quite empty of ideas and without sense
    or purpose.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Literature, who needs it?
      Just about everybody.

  • global city

    The truth is that the three ‘main’ parties are utterly disconnected from the general public. For decades they take as their priorities the mores of the elites of other countries and international organisations.

    They are busy crafting a new world order… why would they be bothered what the proles think?

    • Primeval Mudd

      The new world order doesn’t need any crafting. Thatcher and Reagan sealed the deal back in the 80s.

      I’m constantly amused by the ‘Labour have nothing to say so resort to attacking this’ nonsense.

      Of course Labour haven’t got anything to say: they’re on the same side as the Tories: shovelling money from the bottom to the top.

      Admittedly the Tories do it with a bit more vigour and are less adept at hiding their glee.

      • global city

        You forgot about the statists and the global government geeks…
        What we are seeing is a horrible melding of the corporate/central commandists at the global level. The Trots and patricians in bed together. Once everything is securely in place they will have a fight to decide the dominant order.

        None of this will involve the oiks!

  • alan mills

    infographic “a visual representation of information or data”
    This is not an infographic.

  • david trant

    they’ll be telling us next there is no such person as Grant Shapps, whoops silly me of course there isn’t, that’s one of his made up names.

  • Greenslime

    It has to be said, Isabel, sometimes you do spout the most enormous amount of twaddle. This article makes me wonder if you are capable of simultaneously chewing gum and walking?

  • Amanda Kendal

    ~ROFLMFAO~ Grant ‘I don’t know my own name’ Shapps tweets out a patronising graphic, begging people to retweet it, and you’re upset they noticed? Does your upset include the ‘Daily Mail’ political editor who nearly feel off his chair when he saw it?

    Really, even the scriptwriters of ‘The Thick of It’ couldn’t make this up.

    • wycombewanderer

      Why is it patronising?

      What is the collective term to describe people who will get the benefit of a reduction in the duty payable on beer and bingo?

      Is it, We, it He or They?

      you appear to see patronising where none actually exists.

      This so called storm has come about because the twatterati take themselves far too seriously and fail to acknowledge that 140 characters doesn’t a coherent statement make.

      Silly maybe, patronising, well I think you and the opponents of the government are desperatley flailiing around to divert attention from more serious issues.

  • swatnan

    I’m sure the Working Mens Clubs and Gambling Dens up and down the country will be celebrating; they may even name some Inns and Speak Easy’s after ‘The Jolly Chancellor’. ‘No 11, your way to Heaven’ could be the catchphrase taking over from Legs Eleven and Two Fat Ladies. Rees Mogg visited a Bingo Club recently and enjoyed his stint in calling out the numbers, and I’m wondering The Chancellor had this in mind when he decided to give the lower classes a treat.

    • Wessex Man

      Remind me again, who was it who called Gillian Duffy as racist, racist woman and then had to go back to her house and grovel grovel?

      Vote UKip!

      • swatnan

        Wonder if Mrs Duffy will be voting Labour, like she did last time?

      • Holly


  • DavidL

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, mainly because it needs to keep on being said. As long as Labour refuses to face up candidly to the way it lost control of the public finances, it cannot have a shred of credibility on the economy. That’s why Miliband chose not to talk about yesterday’s Budget.

    • Mynydd

      With a deficit of £110bn this year you can hardly say this government as a solid grip on the public finances.

      • Wessex Man

        This is true, vote UKip!

      • DavidL

        They could have reduced the deficit further by implementing Merkonomics-style austerity; instead they are pursuing an impeccably Keynesian path. Or you could swallow the Labour line that there was higher growth to be had just for the asking: in which case you’re either a fool or a charlatan. Remember these are the same guys who abolished boom & bust.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          They followed Darling’s path, which means they’re the same as the Millipedes you’re decrying.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Infographic/poster, poster/infographic. Ah yes, I can see the difference now that it has been so clearly explained. Never mind, must dash, Bingo to be played.

  • toco10

    If majoring on an insignificant tweet is all Labour has to say about The Budget and the Economy then it demonstrates its inability to manage the UK’s finances as evidenced by the Brown,Balls and Cooper team which brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy a mere four years ago.As for Miliband he may huff and puff as much as he likes but his lack of financial acumen is clear for all to see.Pensioners will certainly not be willing to trust him with their hard earned savings.

    • Holly

      It also proves what I have said all along…
      Miliband, Balls and Labour are only capable of juvenile, playground banter, and are unfit for the realities of government.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …same as the rest of LibLabCon, then.

      • MrDavidbush

        It was social media that picked the poster up, not the labour party. It has ran all day long on twitter and TV and radio. Shapps is it hiding. So is Michael Green. Tories have been caught out and to see so many Tory supporters in a state of apoplexy iso heart warming. Bloody plebs, we are always laughing at the Tories! especially on bingo night. Ere, get me a pint. It’s so cheap. A penny off guvnor….

      • Malcolm Tucker

        unfit for the realities of government? they were in government for 10 years!!

        • Jimmy R

          Precisely, point proved, totally unfit for the realities of government.

  • ohforheavensake

    They didn’t talk about the substance of the budget, because the budget didn’t have that much substance.

    • Shazza

      They could not talk about the budget because they are hollow, empty, socialist suits.

      They have to resort to ad hominem attacks because they have no other policies except those that turned a solvent, first world country in 1997 into a near bankrupt, third world state in their 13 year reign of terror.

      All the bankrupt Labour Party has to offer are –

      Complete the destruction they started in 1997.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …the H2B is working just as furiously to complete that destruction, if you notice.

  • Thatcherite Lee

    Oh come on ffs. This line of attack is pure desperatation from a Labour party that has nothing better to offer the public.

    • HookesLaw

      The ‘nothing to offer’ argument is the point. Well, Labour have nothing to offer they feel comfortable about talking about. Labour offer other than higher taxes and higher and wastful spending. Labour have had 4 years to talk about pensions and said nothing. The last thing Labour want to do is give people control of their pension pot.

    • Shazza

      Totally agree. Have just watched Ed Balls given carte blanche on BBC Breakfast to broadcast a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party. He stumbled and mumbled but got across his diabolic, half truths about the excellent budget that the far superior intellectually Osborne delivered. It was an utter disgrace. He actually pontificated that people should not be trusted with their own money – the gall from this oaf who helped that other bigger oaf Gormless Gordon to destroy our pensions (our money Balls) and that he knows better.

      The BBC is an utter disgrace and should the Conservatives win the next election something drastic needs to be done to curb this very powerful, biased propaganda arm of the Labour Party.

      I said on the Dan Hodges article on the Telegraph blogs site yesterday, that the BBC would now go into overdrive to promote and Labour and destroy the credibility of Osborne.

      It certainly did not take long for the onslaught to start and it will be relentless..

      • Amanda Kendal

        “The credibility of Osborne”?

        Pure comedy genius.

        Labour can continue being clueless and offering no alternative to the last 30 years of neo-liberal tripe (in which it played a substantial role), when it has such help as this.

        • Shazza

          I agree with you on your point that Labour is clueless.

          The only reason that Osborne has been painted in such an unfair way is because of the successful Labour attack machine aided and abetted by the traitorous BBC and MSM who take every opportunity to attempt to undermine him. The irony of their attacks such as ‘Eton, Bullingdon’ etc. is lost on the general public who are not aware of the Bolshevik Socialist hypocrites who sit on the opposition benches.

          Labour are nasty, petty, spite filled Marxists who wish to keep the working classes in ignorance and deprivation. If they were to succeed to a better more affluent life, there would no longer be a reason for Labour (what a joke that name is now) to exist.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …the problem is, all of the LibLabCon clones fit your description.

          • MrDavidbush

            I was going to write that I’d never read such a hysterical post, but there is one further down the thread which is even shriller !

      • anncalba

        BBC has been pushing the trivial “Beer and Bingo” thing all day. A fine example of their bias, if they had enough brain cells to realise it.

        • Shazza

          They will neglect to mention Labour’s John McTernan who on Newsnight last night when discussing the new pension rules, said that ‘we could not be trusted with our own money.’

          Now that is patronising.

          And coming from Labour who really looked after our money during their 13 year misrule, is really a bit rich.

    • Holly

      ‘Labour has nothing better to offer the public’…
      Labour have nothing to offer anyone….

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