Why the government should now stop with the slogans altogether and stop acting like they are constantly campaigning, and simply get on with the job instead.


First published in September 2020.


Boris Johnson was on Tuesday afternoon visiting the Devon and Exeter Construction Training Centre, at Exeter College. After posing for the photographers using a drill (without gloves or any protective equipment whatsoever), polishing wood (still no protective equipment), and placing a brick on a small wall (well, you’ve got the idea now...), the prime minister made a speech to announce free and fully-funded courses to adults without A-level or equivalent qualification.

Boris Johnson posing using a drill, polishing wood, and placing a brick on a small wall. | Flickr – Number 10

Behind him though, as he spoke, a three-word slogan was already making people talk on social media.

“Build Back Better”

Behind him, as Boris Johnson spoke, a three-word slogan. "Build Back Better". | Flickr – Number 10

Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and their friends from Vote Leave have got us used to short, straightforward, three-piece slogans since 2016. Remember:

  • Take Back Control.
  • Get Brexit Done.
  • Unleashing Britain’s Potential
  • Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.
  • Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives.
  • Build, Build, Build.
  • Hands, Face, Space.
  • Build Back Better.

But where have we actually heard Build Back Better before?

Whether they did believe it was an original idea, or it was found during a boring brainstorming session on a late evening, or reviewed by a very unenthusiastic market research group, or even the uninspired creation of the not-so genius at Number 10, the government’s new slogan is nothing new.

Indeed, you may not have seen it before but Build Back Better is actually former Vice President Joe Biden’s own slogan in the race to the White House!

'Build Back Better' is currently former Vice President Joe Biden’s own slogan in the race to the White House! | Flickr – Joe Biden

But one must render unto caesar...

Interestingly, the #BuildBackBetter hashtag was used for the very first time on 3 March 2010, after the catastrophic 2010 magnitude 7.0 Haiti earthquake. It was posted on Twitter by Cameron Sinclair, a Brit who works in community development, conservation and post-disaster reconstruction, to refer to the rebuilding efforts in Haiti.

Cameron Sinclair explains that, although it has since been chosen by Biden’s team as the Democratic candidate’s slogan in the 2020 US Presidential Election, the back story actually “involves Haitian engineers, Presidents Clinton and Bush.”

“We presented a plan at CGI (the Clinton Global Initiative) on community based on rebuilding (managed by Haitian architects and engineers). By the end of the session, Clinton started using “build back better” as a phrase to describe the reconstruction. The Biden campaign lifted it from Clinton...”

Later in 2015, Build Back Better became also the name of a UN programme used in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction document agreed on at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. It aimed at enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Instead of parading their four-year old Will-of-the-people Brexit triumphalism, Cummings’ unelected bunch of weirdos and misfitswho currently behave like they are having a teenage house party whilst the adults are out of town, playing at governing the country from the shadows of Downing Street since Johnson is PM – may be well inspired to make some research before choosing future government slogans instead of relying on their Rasputin-like boss’s self-proclaimed genius-level intellect.

Also, stop with the slogans altogether and stop acting like you are constantly campaigning, and simply get on with the job instead. Otherwise, when the adults return, they will tell you to “Go Get Lost”.🔷



J.N. PAQUET, Editor of PMP Magazine, Author & Journalist.


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[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 29 September 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - Boris Johnson. | 29 September 2020. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)

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