Useful Notes: Party Political Broadcasts
"This is John Major's kettle. This is the kettle that will be in the kitchen of the most powerful man in the country... if you vote Conservative. And this is Tony Blair's kettle. You can trust Tony Blair's kettle. You can trust Tony Blair."A broadcast for a political party. Unlike in the United States, in Britain politicians and political parties are not allowed to buy advertising time on TV. Instead, political parties are allocated a strictly limited number of free five and ten minute slots on TV per year, which they can use to get their message across to the nation. In the televisual dark age before 1982, when there were only three television channels, PPB's were scheduled simultaneously on all channels so there was no escape from the tedium; nowadays PPBs are shown on all the major terrestrial channels, but at different times so if you are particularly unlucky you may see the same message several times. Related phenomena are the Party Election Broadcasts which go out nightly during the three weeks or so of a General Election campaign- each party gets a number of PEBs dependent on how well it polled in the previous election and how many candidates it's putting up, so the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties may each get 4 or 5 PEBs in a campaign, while the British National Party, UK Independence Party, or the Official Monster Raving Looney Party only get one. Because the parties are not involved in a futile arms race to increase advertising in competition with their rivals, this system means that British politics is less dependent on campaign contributions. Common times for PPBs are:
— Rory Bremner's take on the 1997 party election broadcasts.
- Before local elections
- Just after the spring Budget and the autumn "Pre-Budget Report"
- After the Queens' Speech.