Tories revive 'demon eyes'

Party ignores criticisms and switches poster campaign from Blair to taxes

The Conservative Party is to revive the "demon eyes" theme for a new advertising campaign, despite last week's condemnation by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The eyes will be featured on posters for the first time this week, staring out of a purse above the slogan "New Labour, New Taxes" on hoardings all over the country.

In a landmark judgment only three days ago, the ASA told the party to drop advertisements depicting Tony Blair with demonic eyes. It ruled that the Conservatives had broken its code of conduct by portraying the Labour leader as "sinister and dishonest" and declared that they "should have known better".

But Conservative Central Office is to flout the spirit, if not the letter, of this ruling by using the "demon eyes" theme in a now 500-site poster campaign claiming that Labour would put up taxes.

A spokesman for Tony Blair said yesterday: "If, after all the condemnation there has been of their ridiculous negative campaigning, the Tories resort to effectively the same tactics on yet another issue on which they have lied, it will backfire again."

A Central Office spokesman admitted: "The eyes will definitely be there, but no final decision has yet been taken about which poster we will use."

The Tory advertising campaign, which began last month, is designed to rouse voters' fears of "New Labour, New Danger". Opposition MPs argue that the Conservatives have plumbed new depths of negative campaigning, borrowing from American politics. Tory officials insist they are only using Labour's own words. Clare Short, the Opposition front-bencher, criticised "dark forces" at work around Mr Blair.

Either way, the Conservatives are hugely satisfied with the outcome. Central Office insiders say the pounds 125,000 spent on publishing the "demon eyes" advert in three newspapers generated at least pounds 5m worth of publicity.

This week will be the first time the eyes appear on street hoardings. Central Office will not divulge how much is being spent, but Labour sources say leaked documents show the Tories will spend up to pounds 10m on advertising in the run-up to polling day.

The original "demon eyes" advertisement, which superimposed red, glowing eyes on a photograph of Mr Blair, triggered more than 150 complaints to the ASA, including one from the Bishop of Oxford.

Labour will tomorrow launch what it hopes will be a pre-emptive strike on tax against the Tories. Gordon Brown, the Shadow chancellor, is to list 22 ways in which the Government has extended VAT since 1992, despite election campaign promises not to do so.

The party has built up a dossier from papers lodged in the House of Commons library that lists the imposition of VAT on credit cards, on the servicing of cash-point machines, on charities' advertising, on stationery purchases and on blood products, among others. Labour also argues that the average British family pays more in taxes than when Mr Major was returned to power in 1992.

"The Tories lied at the last election on taxes," said Mr Brown. "We will not allow them to get away with it again. We will continue to remind the electorate that, having said there would be no tax increases, they then raised taxes by the biggest margin in history. No one will trust the Tories on taxes ever again."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture