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Object of the Month

April 2017 - 1992 general election postcard

1992 general election postcardApril 2017 is the 25th anniversary of the 1992 general election.

During the 1992 election campaign, the Labour Party candidate, Neil Kinnock, had been leading in opinion polls.  It had been predicted that the election would result in a hung parliament with Kinnock as Prime Minister.  However on 9 April, John Major won with 376 seats to the Labour Party’s 229, resulting in a fourth consecutive election win by the Conservatives.

This postcard depicts the three party candidates in a boxing ring.  Conservative John Major stands to the left victorious, beneath his foot lies Neil Kinnock, a clear victory to Major.  Paddy Ashdown, the Liberal Democrat candidate, observes from the right as the referee.  Margaret Thatcher can be seen in the bottom right supporting her successor.

John Major had replaced Margaret Thatcher as Tory leader in 1990.  At the time of the election, he was 47 years old, had never been to university, had experienced being unemployed, and stated that his favourite place to eat was Little Chef.  He used his ‘ordinariness’ to appeal to a wide range of people. Kinnock, in contrast was consistently criticised/ridiculed in the press.  The third candidate was Paddy Ashdown, leader of the newly combined Liberal and SDP parties, the Liberal Democrats.

Two events stand out in the Labour party’s campaign, the ‘Battle of Jennifer’s Ear’ and the rally in Sheffield.  Labour focussed their highest profile broadcast on NHS waiting lists, dramatising the case of a child waiting for an ear operation.  The message that only the rich received access to high quality health care was soon lost after the child’s identity was leaked and a battle over details emerged between the Labour and Conservative parties.  The rally at Sheffield took place during the later stages of campaigning.  Kinnock led an enthusiastic rally in which he yelled ‘We’re all right!’ three times, which seemed over confident to many voters.

In the end John Major won in an unpredicted victory which took even the media by surprise.  The victory still holds the record for most votes received by a party since World War II.

This postcard is not currently on display, however you can make an appointment to view it by emailing collections@phm.org.uk.

Catalogue number: NMLH.2014.26.1.49

  • Visit the exhibition New Dawn? The 1997 general election, on display in the Accumulator Tower until Sunday 4 June 2017
  • Digest the 2017 general election results over breakfast at the museum, 7.00am – 11.00am on Friday 9 June 2017