Slogan Doctor - I'm backing Britain

In the winter of 1967, Harold Wilson's Labour government was desperate to promote exports.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Sterling had just been devalued, renewing the competitiveness of British goods. Among those inspired by the idea were a group of five typists - 'pretty office girls', the BBC called them - at Colt, manufacturer of air conditioning equipment in Surbiton. In January '68 they started working an extra half-hour a day for no extra pay. The movement's slogan - the Daily Mail may have had a hand in it - was 'I'm Backing Britain'. It nicely combined alliteration, patriotism and a personal commitment usually absent from macro-economic debate, which normally involves exhorting other people to do things. Thousands followed the lead, Herman's Hermits agreed to donate the royalties from their next record, Bruce Forsyth released a catchy campaign song, and soon Harold Wilson was on the bandwagon, despite opposition from the unions (then in full class-war mode). When someone noticed that the movement's Union Jack T-shirts were made in Portugal, the campaign fizzled out. 'Buy British' promotions have come and gone ever since, but none had a better slogan.

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