Academic claims that election colours have faded

Apr 29, 2010

As the UK election looms, a historian at the University of Hertfordshire has revealed that political colours have lost much of their impact.

Dr Katrina Navickas, a lecturer in history at the University’s Social Science Arts and Humanities Research Institute, looked at political clothing and adornment in England during the period 1780-1840 and found that although many of today’s political symbols have their origins in the 18th century, today’s parties no longer stand for many of the principles that those symbols represented.

She also contrasted reports of political apathy among today’s electorate with the efforts made by the British 200 years ago. “Ordinary people really cared about politics in the 18th Century,” said Dr Navickas. “Even women and the working classes, who didn’t have the vote, made an effort to make a political statement through wearing a ribbon in party colours. Clothing was an ideal way for women to express their political preferences and aristocratic women even made whole fashions out of party colours. For example, the infamous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, designed a dress of light blue and beige stripes, in support of the leader of the opposition.”

In a paper entitled That Sash Will Hang You: Political Clothing and Adornment in England, 1780-1840, which will be published in the American history journal, Journal of British Studies in July, Dr Navickas looked at how clothing was a major means of public communication in the 18th Century.

As a result of these new findings, Dr Navickas observes that the Labour ‘red’ of the eighteenth century, which stood for socialist principles has faded to a pink; the original ‘orange’ of the Liberals plays no part in their yellow image of today; only the Conservative party seems to have remained true to the ‘true blue’ image and gone even darker. “They seem to be harping back to their ‘blue veined’ aristocratic roots and have even adopted the Oak Tree, which is very much a symbol of the Tories of the eighteenth century,” she added. “Although it is interesting that current environmental concerns have made ‘green’ into the colour for the parties to fight over.”

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why New Political Parties Sizzle or Fizzle

Aug 04, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Across the globe, new political parties, from green parties to anti-immigration parties, are constantly emerging in democratic countries. But while some of these nascent single-issue groups fade away, others, ...

The forgotten political generation

Apr 15, 2010

The election campaign may be under way but new research from The University of Nottingham shows that the parties are in danger of immediately writing off at least four million young working class female voters.

There may be a 'party' in your genes

Dec 28, 2009

Genetics play a pivotal role in shaping how individual's identify with political parties , according to an article in a recent issue of Political Research Quarterly, the official journal of the Western Political Science Associ ...

What does your MP really believe?

Aug 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- MPs tend to 'toe the party line' on parliamentary votes, but when it comes to expressing their private opinions, Dan Bailey and Guy Nason, statisticians from the University of Bristol, have looked at just ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

6 hours ago

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...