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Never Mind The Ballots

As election fever grips Britain (or doesn't), we get on our soapbox to present a fascinating collection of political and campaigning films.

Politics and film share a long history. Here you'll find more than 70 years' worth of campaigning films and broadcasts, showcasing politics across all colours of the political spectrum. For once, the big beasts of Westminster share the spotlight with local operators - and there's even space on the podium for some political outsiders.

From the dawn of the 20th century, the films chart the growing sophistication of spin in all its forms, embracing drama, documentary and animation, celebration and protest, the clever, the crass, the brilliant and the bizarre.

What comes through in these films is not just how much politics has changed, but how much has stayed the same. The passion and fervour on display in the earlier films here may be surprising, but many of the techniques, tricks and strategies used by the parties today were emerging as early as the 1920s. Whether it's sparkling rhetoric and smart infographics or flag-waving and mudslinging - the rule in politics is much as it ever was: if it works...

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Never Mind The Ballots

RECOMMENDED

View Vote for Froglet
Vote for Froglet
Watch for free 7 mins

Vote for Froglet 1974

As the general election is held in the UK, it's polling day for the Clangers on a small blue planet far away.

7 mins United Kingdom Director. Oliver Postgate

View Sam Small at Westminster
Sam Small at Westminster
Watch for free 3 mins

Sam Small at Westminster 1935

It's the 1935 general election and Stanley Holloway recites a comic monologue promoting the policies of the National Government.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Bristol Fashion
Bristol Fashion
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Bristol Fashion 1959

The Labour Party takes a heartfelt look at Bristol council’s social(ist) housing and education agenda, spinning a 'new story from an old city'.

27 mins United Kingdom

View Mr. Jenkins Pays His Rates
Mr. Jenkins Pays His Rates
Watch for free 19 mins

Mr. Jenkins Pays His Rates 1957

Slough gets a resounding thumbs-up from a reluctant ratepayer in a surprising 1950s government film.

19 mins United Kingdom

View Socialist Car of State
Socialist Car of State
Watch for free 7 mins

Socialist Car of State 1930

Party-political hyperbole meets Wacky Races in this spirited cartoon produced for the Conservative Party.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Children and Politics
Children and Politics
Watch for free 2 mins

Children and Politics 1964

Some remarkably well informed (well, for the most part) children interviewed prior to the 1964 General Election.

2 mins United Kingdom

View General Election 1951
General Election 1951
Watch for free 7 mins

General Election 1951 1951

A remarkable film showing the Municipal Borough of Slough's preparations for the 1951 General Election.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Black Vote
Black Vote
Watch for free 12 mins

Black Vote 1980

"There's been no active encouragement for black people to participate within the political structure of this country". A bleak picture of the lack of equality in Britain.

12 mins United Kingdom

View Britain Belongs to You No. 1
Britain Belongs to You No. 1
Watch for free 20 mins

Britain Belongs to You No. 1 1959

The first in a series of 12 campaign reports from Labour's Radio and TV Operations Room, presented by Tony Benn and featuring Hugh Gaitskell.

20 mins United Kingdom

View Conservative News Review No. 5
Conservative News Review No. 5
Watch for free 5 mins

Conservative News Review No. 5 1950

"Set the People Free" - Tories take to the streets in the lead-up to the 1950 General Election.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Britain Belongs to You No. 2
Britain Belongs to You No. 2
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Britain Belongs to You No. 2 1959

Tony Benn fronts a vigorous report on the pressing issues of Labour's election campaign, from housing conditions to comprehensive education.

30 mins United Kingdom

View General Election Slough 1950
General Election Slough 1950
Watch for free 10 mins

General Election Slough 1950 1950

A remarkable film showing the Municipal Borough of Slough's preparations for the 1950 General Election.

10 mins United Kingdom

View 'All the Winners' - And the Losers!
'All the Winners' - And the Losers!
Watch for free 10 mins

'All the Winners' - And the Losers! 1923

No fewer than five once or future prime ministers on show at the momentous 1923 election.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Scottish Elections: Statement for Scotland
Scottish Elections: Statement for Scotland
Watch for free 10 mins

Scottish Elections: Statement for Scotland 2003

“If you care, show it” - is the message to encourage voting in the Scottish elections, long before the galvanising independence referendum of 2014.

10 mins Great Britain

View Animated Politics
Animated Politics
Watch for free 1 mins

Animated Politics 1910

Woolwich candidates face the voters in the first of 1910's two general elections.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Coloured Voting - Hidden Issue
Coloured Voting - Hidden Issue
Watch from £0.85 14 mins

Coloured Voting - Hidden Issue 1964

Current affairs programme from Birmingham investigating the possible impact that immigration and racial prejudice may have on the upcoming election.

14 mins United Kingdom

View Gloucester By-election
Gloucester By-election
Watch for free 2 mins

Gloucester By-election 1957

The three candidates in the 1957 Gloucester by-election out and about on the campaign trail.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Doorstep to Communism
Doorstep to Communism
Watch for free 12 mins

Doorstep to Communism 1948

This Conservative Party film claims that votes for Labour are stepping stones to a Communist state.

12 mins United Kingdom

View The Suffragette Election
The Suffragette Election
Watch for free 1 mins

The Suffragette Election 1912

Trusted, tried and true? A Labour MP takes a principled stand on women's right to vote

1 mins United Kingdom

View Mr. Stanley Baldwin
Mr. Stanley Baldwin
Watch for free 2 mins

Mr. Stanley Baldwin 1923

With the nation at the polls, incumbent PM Stanley Baldwin’s election call had not yet backfired when this newsreel summary was released.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Peace and Plenty
Peace and Plenty
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Peace and Plenty 1939

A strident protest against "a government for the best people by the best people", made by the Communist Party of Great Britain.

30 mins United Kingdom

View Labour's Recruiting Appeal
Labour's Recruiting Appeal
Watch for free 1 mins

Labour's Recruiting Appeal 1915

Stirring scenes in Trafalgar Square as Labour MP Will Thorne rallies recruits for the war effort.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Road to Workers' Power: A Pageant of History
Road to Workers' Power: A Pageant of History
Watch from £0.85

Road to Workers' Power: A Pageant of History 1973

Labour history takes centre stage in this punchy musical and dramatic spectacle featuring Corin Redgrave and Frances de la Tour.

45 mins United Kingdom

View Canteen Discussion
Canteen Discussion
Watch for free 10 mins

Canteen Discussion 1970

Home Secretary James Callaghan holds court in a Gateshead factory canteen.

10 mins United Kingdom

View "Topical" Triumphs Again
"Topical" Triumphs Again
Watch for free 2 mins

"Topical" Triumphs Again 1922

Lights, camera, democracy! Eager voters swarm to Trafalgar Square to witness the election results, live on screen.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Election Day throughout the region
Election Day throughout the region
Watch for free 1 mins

Election Day throughout the region 1970

"What's the difference between Conservative and Labour?, what's a swing, or a floating voter? Anglia news canvasses opinion from voters of the future.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Conservative Conference - Joe Ashton
Conservative Conference - Joe Ashton
Watch for free 9 mins

Conservative Conference - Joe Ashton 1983

Who could be better placed to report from the Tory party conference at the height of Mrs Thatcher's powers, than the outspoken Labour MP Joe Ashton?

9 mins United Kingdom

View Events in Leeds - General Election 1929
Events in Leeds - General Election 1929
Watch for free 6 mins

Events in Leeds - General Election 1929 1929

Enthusiasm abounds as Labour win an historic election, with former Liberal Richard Denman being carried aloft through the streets of Leeds.

6 mins United Kingdom

View The Right Spirit
The Right Spirit
Watch for free 8 mins

The Right Spirit 1931

Don’t judge a book by its cover but do judge a political party by its garage in this Conservative cartoon from the height of the depression.

8 mins United Kingdom

View The Road to Hell
The Road to Hell
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The Road to Hell 1933

Melodramatic amateur fiction film protesting against the government's hated Means Test.

27 mins United Kingdom

View Election Coverage - Norwich South
Election  Coverage - Norwich South
Watch for free 6 mins

Election Coverage - Norwich South 1964

With the General Election only days away both Conservative and Labour candidates face local news cameras. In 1964, top of the national agenda is the 'Independent Deterrent'.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Advance Democracy!
Advance Democracy!
Watch for free 17 mins

Advance Democracy! 1938

A housewife galvanises her docker husband to take an interest in more important matters than the football pools.

17 mins United Kingdom

View Laboured Party
Laboured Party

Laboured Party 1975

An unsuspecting Labour Party canvasser stumbles onto an experimental film set and is drawn into a strange atmosphere of uninhibited abandon.

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Stephen Dwoskin

View Hell Unltd
Hell Unltd
Watch from £0.85 20 mins

Hell Unltd 1936

Norman McLaren and Helen Biggar’s urgent work of animated agit-prop uses rapid editing to create an incisive polemic against arms spending.

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Helen Biggar, Norman McLaren

View Pike's Cine-Sound Pictorial Composite Reel No. 5
Pike's Cine-Sound Pictorial Composite Reel No. 5
Watch for free 18 mins

Pike's Cine-Sound Pictorial Composite Reel No. 5 1986

Another example of a by-election protest vote as David Steel arrives to address the Pickering populace as the Liberals gain a famous victory in the middle of Thatcher’s rule.

18 mins United Kingdom

View Thinking about People
Thinking about People
Watch for free 10 mins

Thinking about People 1965

A Liberal dose of electioneering in this unmissable party political broadcast - an example of 1960s live TV saved on film.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Red Tape Farm
Red Tape Farm
Watch for free 8 mins

Red Tape Farm 1927

Mr Nosey Parker visits farmer John Barleycorn to tell him how to do his job in this witty Conservative Party campaigning cartoon.

8 mins United Kingdom

View Electioneering Southampton
Electioneering Southampton
Watch for free 12 mins

Electioneering Southampton 1931

A fascinating film from 1931 showing the National Government candidate, William Craven Craven-Ellis, on the hustings in Southampton.

12 mins United Kingdom

View Enjoying Life
Enjoying Life
Watch for free

Enjoying Life 1962

Can politics be pleasurable? The Labour Party envisions a better civic life for all in this party political broadcast featuring poet John Betjeman.

25 mins United Kingdom

View Sussex 1939
Sussex 1939
Watch for free 20 mins

Sussex 1939

The Sussex Communist Party presents its review of events and activities during the final months before the outbreak of war in this remarkable film from 1939.

20 mins Great Britain

View Following in Father's Footsteps
Following in Father's Footsteps
Watch for free 1 mins

Following in Father's Footsteps 1924

Splendid portraits of three hopeful parliamentary candidates, filmed in the run-up to the 1924 general election.

1 mins United Kingdom

View General Election Vox Pops
General Election Vox Pops
Watch for free 4 mins

General Election Vox Pops 1974

Who won the October 1974 election? Was it Labour or was it the trade unions?

4 mins United Kingdom

View Stratford upon Avon By-election
Stratford upon Avon By-election
Watch for free 2 mins

Stratford upon Avon By-election 1963

What effect will the political bombshell of the Profumo scandal have on the voters of Stratford upon Avon?

2 mins United Kingdom

View Darlington By-election
Darlington By-election
Watch for free 4 mins

Darlington By-election 1983

Five hours on a coach for the stalwarts of Walsall's Labour Party on an away day to campaign in far off Darlington.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Reel Rushcliffe Newsreel
Reel Rushcliffe Newsreel
Watch for free 7 mins

Reel Rushcliffe Newsreel 1935

A far cry from the slick political campaign film of today. Here's Ralph Assheton on his way to Westminster and the National Government of Ramsay MacDonald.

7 mins United Kingdom

View "Topical" Triumphs Again
"Topical" Triumphs Again
Watch for free 2 mins

"Topical" Triumphs Again 1922

Lights, camera, democracy! Eager voters swarm to Trafalgar Square to witness the election results, live on screen.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Events in Leeds - General Election 1945
Events in Leeds - General Election 1945
Watch for free 2 mins

Events in Leeds - General Election 1945 1945

A chance to witness a real rarity, masses of enthusiastic Labour Party supporters parading through the streets behind their victorious candidates after an electoral triumph.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Coventry North West By-election
Coventry North West By-election
Watch for free 5 mins

Coventry North West By-election 1976

Who's who in the 1976 Coventry North West by-election. A vital campaign for a former industrial centre now in economic crisis.

5 mins United Kingdom

View General Election Vox Pops
General Election Vox Pops
Watch for free 3 mins

General Election Vox Pops 1966

Will electioneering change your vote? Food for thought for parties planning to spend big money on the 1966 General Election.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Standing in a By-election
Standing in a By-election
Watch for free 7 mins

Standing in a By-election 1984

Ј150 and ten signatures is all you need to stand in a British election. Can it really be that simple?

7 mins United Kingdom

View Sussex People's Scrapbook 1938
Sussex People's Scrapbook 1938
Watch for free 9 mins

Sussex People's Scrapbook 1938 1938

Sussex Communists march on the streets of Brighton in this remarkable film from 1938, which also features the return of three members of the International Brigade.

9 mins United Kingdom

View Aldermaston
Aldermaston
Watch for free

Aldermaston 1962

A fascinating record of the 1962 Aldermaston March featuring Canon John Collins, Michael Foot and thousands of marchers of all ages.

25 mins United Kingdom

View Joseph Chamberlain at Home
Joseph Chamberlain at Home
Watch for free 3 mins

Joseph Chamberlain at Home 1902

A political giant at his magnificent Highbury estate in Birmingham.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Conservative Party broadcast (19/04/1979)
Conservative Party broadcast (19/04/1979)
Watch for free 10 mins

Conservative Party broadcast (19/04/1979) 1979

The weight of taxation and unemployment keeps Britain lagging behind in the 'international prosperity race', says this Tory campaign film.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Housing Makes History
Housing Makes History
Watch for free 18 mins

Housing Makes History 1953

Residents of Barnet and Stockton-on-Tees are the lucky beneficiaries of a government scheme to remedy Britain’s housing problem.

18 mins United Kingdom

View Plaid Cymru Election Broadcast
Plaid Cymru Election Broadcast
Watch for free 10 mins

Plaid Cymru Election Broadcast 1974

In an emotive address, Plaid Cymru’s first two Westminster MPs plead the case for an independent Welsh state.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Your Money's Worth
Your Money's Worth
Watch for free 18 mins

Your Money's Worth 1955

Harold Wilson explains the reasons behind the rising cost of living under the Tories in this Labour election broadcast.

18 mins United Kingdom

View Topical Budget 378-1
Topical Budget 378-1
Watch for free 10 mins

Topical Budget 378-1 1918

Topical Budget salutes Britain's top brass in this gleefully patriotic newsreel edition, released just weeks after the First World War was won.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Conservative and Unionist Party
Conservative and Unionist Party
Watch for free 15 mins

Conservative and Unionist Party 1959

A remarkably laid-back Harold Macmillan addresses the nation (or at least those who owned televisions) just days before election victory.

15 mins United Kingdom

View March against Starvation
March against Starvation
Watch for free 10 mins

March against Starvation 1936

Poverty and hunger compels angry, jobless workers - including Jarrow's crusaders - to make a historic march to London to petition government.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Under Which Leader?
Under Which Leader?
Watch for free 10 mins

Under Which Leader? 1924

The newly-elected parliament of 1924 opens for business under a veil of mystery, as the nation comes to terms with a sea change in British politics.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Bolton Election Result
Bolton Election Result
Watch for free 1 mins

Bolton Election Result 1912

Women's Suffrage campaigners make their mark in a key by-election

1 mins United Kingdom

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