That, according to James Naughtie, is the current Conservative logo, the Flame of Freedom in an item this morning on the proposals to change the party logo. The Today Programme is suggesting that people email them with ideas as to which animal best represents the modern Conservative Party. How helpful of them. Iain Dale trailed the item on his excellent blog yesterday and went on the programme to represent the voice of reason but I’m not convinced Mr Naughtie was listening. The Guardian has also got in on the act with suggestions of a Cup of Blood, a Barbed Wire Umbrella etc etc, (although, being the Guardian, they dated the emergence of the torch to 1987, which is several years too late). I’m sure they mean well. Just like Pol Pot.
The Flame has had a chequered career, apparently invented on Lady Thatcher’s orders when she noticed the Party didn’t have a logo. It has gone through various incarnations:
(1) the squashed ice cream cone:
(2) the burning ice cream cone:
The logo was revamped when Kenneth Baker became Chairman – summed up by The Telegraph at the time with the phrase "excuse me old chap, do you mind holding my ice cream for me? It seems to have caught fire".
(3) the dynamic swirl:
In various shades, either blue or yellow. Brought in by William Hague.
(4) the socialist realist torch:
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and storm those barricades – brought in by Michael Howard in 2004 (and still the official version for use on ballot papers).
(5) the caring, sharing socialist realist torch:
Which is what we have at the moment.
There’s a running theme here: when the Party wants to mark out decisive new territory, it changes it’s logo. And why not? I spoke last night to the highly-trained management consulting team at Norton Industries (they were in their cage holding a tea party having just typed up a play about a mad Dane who thinks his uncle killed his father – but that’ll never catch on) and this is what they suggested:
You’ll notice immediately that it comprises a shield (because we’ll protect you); a laurel wreath (because we’re winners, and green); and the Union Jack (because we believe in the British Nation, One Nation etc). You’ll notice even more immediately that it isn’t very good – which is why I am prepared to make it available to CCHQ for the bargain basement price of £50,000 + VAT and p&p.
Can you do any better? As strong believers in the wisdom of crowds (and the hope that we can save zillions of pounds for the Party on rebranding consultants), we are unveiling another Conservative Home Competition: Design The New Logo. Impressive judges to be announced; exciting prizes to be unveiled shortly (probably a Wish You Were Here T-shirt from Gaza, or wherever Montgomerie’s gone) to be presented in the near future at a prestigious Central London railway station.
Send us your suggestions – even better, some mock-up images. Bonus points for those who suggest outlandish new fonts. Tips to bear in mind: it has to symbolise what the Conservative Party is (now?) all about; it has to be distinctive; and above all it has to be easily reproduced in miniature form on a ballot paper without becoming undecipherable. Enjoy.