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Panorama
Tony in Adland
Tony Blair
Tony in Adland

Our money - but their message.

Guess who is the country's biggest advertiser? The Blair government.

Millions of pounds of public money were spent on the government campaigns that hit our TV screens and press pages just before the 2001 general election.

Panorama has commissioned its own detailed media research and talks to industry insiders.

Purer than pure?

Tony Blair
Tony Blair's popularity as Prime Minister has been astounding
Has the Labour government lived up to its promise to be purer than pure?

In the crucial year up to the general election, spending on government advertising reached a record 192 million, 70% higher than the previous year, and overtaking even major companies to take the number one spot.

Strict rules determine that government publicity must not be party political.

But Panorama talks to former civil servants and reveals that the government may have bent the rules to sell itself.

Critics say that the line between getting the policy message across and promoting Labour in power was crossed, and that, in the end, taxpayers paid for party propaganda.

Even a Labour councillor comes to her own conclusion and tells Vivian White that Tony Blair's government was "using money to buy votes."

Production Team:
Reporter: Vivian White
Producer: Mike Rudin
Assistant Producers: Jonathan Brunert, Khevyn Raj Limbajee, Eleanor Plowden
Editor: Mike Robinson

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Sir Michael Partridge, ex DSS permanent secretary
"It's an improper use of taxpayers' money"
Brian Nicholson, ex Chairman COI Advisory Committee
"that word 'integrity' was very difficult to apply in the new set up."
Is the country's biggest advertiser using your money for party political messages? Panorama investigates, Sunday 2215 BST



FORUM
See also:

11 Feb 02 | Politics
Advertising to the rescue?
31 Aug 01 | Politics
US-style ads could tackle turnout
21 Jun 00 | Politics
Selling politics to the people
Links to more Panorama stories are at the foot of the page.


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