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."

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Project Coordinator

£20000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Project C...

EYFS Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Our Primary School in Grimsby ar...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 6 Supply Teacher Position a...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?