• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of Party Electoral Communications in the 1997 UK General Election.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Politics Government and Communication Assignment Analysis of Party Electoral Communications in the 1997 UK General Election Ian Wheeler - Tutorial Group 4 Part 1 - Core Concepts and Theories The subject matter in this topic draws very heavily on Public Relations and Communications theory and practice. The 1997 General Election was one that was fought very much on the "media battleground", and one of the campaigns that involves the fields of Public Relations and Mass Communication more than almost any other in British Political History. This, therefore, I feel is an excellent forum in which to discuss Politics and Communication Theory. Initial thoughts - Communication Theory The kind of communication theory that is involved in political campaigning is very persuasive in nature, and even though it has a reputation historically for being one-way in nature, we have seen recently, and especially within the case study, elements of two way communication models becoming more prevalent in party electoral communications. Looking at Grunig's models of Communication, historically, one could say that The Public Information Model has been most prevalent, with governments and political parties disseminating information in a very one-way nature, and while commitment to truth remains a large factor, use of practical "scare tactics" and almost wild assumption has been used in order to "scare" the electorate into voting for a particular political party or government. With recent campaigns, we have seen a move toward a more Asymmetric Two-Way model, where while persuasion remains the primary goal, greater use of feedback, and source-receiver-source communication has been used in order to more effectively involve and persuade the electorate, (possibly in this case to try and combat voter apathy). This is particularly noticeable in the Labour Election Campaign of 1997. The campaign, that will be studied further below, drew on several PR and Politics related disciplines of how to communicate with the electorate, using both new and tried and tested ideas, in a format that is now accepted as the basis for comparison in all of the election campaigns of European Social Democrat parties. ...read more.

Middle

Through careful use of these press endorsements, it is my belief that Labour managed to gain a substantial advantage in the race, and still uses the press with as much evident skill today. Not even a chance - The headline opinion polls The switch in newspaper allegiance was just one of the more unusual aspects of this campaign. Labour may have had an easy ride on the back of a Conservative party perceived as "sleaze ridden" by recent press coverage, but even at the outset, headline opinion polls showed on average, a 22 per cent lead for Labour. None gave the Conservatives more than 31 per cent of the vote. While there was skepticism in the press initially of this result, it was eventually proved that Labour would stay overwhelmingly ahead and that only 3 surveys would show the Conservatives above 33 per cent of the possible vote. Until the end, both parties and indeed the media at large (possibly in an attempt to counter voter apathy) attempted to portray the possibility of a close finish, but most commentators based their thinking on the fact that Labour had won. The Debate One of the other main communication events of the campaign was the possibility of a televised debate between the leaders of each of the main parties. John Major expressed his willingness to participate in a televised leadership debate before the election. This led to delicate negotiations between the broadcasters and the parties, when Peter Mandelson brought the issue to the fore in 1997. The idea, which had been thrown about by various broadcasters since the 1970's, was now rejected by John Major; he did not welcome the idea of a debate, and the thought that the election might turn on a single incident in the studio confrontations. Each of the TV networks submitted proposals for their own televised debate series; after much intense diplomacy between parties and networks, including possible court action by the Liberal Democrats if they were left out of the proceedings, as well as wrangling over minutes of onscreen coverage for each individual leader. ...read more.

Conclusion

The advantage for the celebrity being closer links with what may eventually be the government in power. The Results At the end of the campaign, with most major communication that each party wished to make complete, the results were already quite starkly obvious. Closing opinion polls showed a huge swing toward Labour, and even "The Sunday Telegraph" went with the headline "It's all over, admit Top Tories". Initial forecasts were for a victory with a majority of between 60 and 80. Tony Blair was confident of being about 10 per cent ahead, and the Lib Dems were confident of major gains as well. The media could see a Conservative defeat on the horizon, and ran several stories about Tory Leadership struggles. Conservatives themselves banded together to maintain a common front as disaster loomed. The BBC and ITN's exit polls confirmed the swing to Labour, and the 1- per cent swing emerged as one of the biggest swings in results since the war; Seven Cabinet ministers were defeated, and by the end of counting, Labour had won 418 seats, making a majority of over 179, and a clear 12.5 per cent lead over the Conservatives. On Friday 2 May, 1997, Tony Blair became the fifth ever Labour Prime Minister. The results alone show how important coherent and effective communication is to a political campaign. The examples shown here, at every point describe how failures in Communcation and strategy by the Conservatives, along with an unfavourable set of circumstances led to an unprecedented defeat for the Conservatives, and how a coherent, well planned and coordinated set of messages and tactics such as those used by Labour produced a massively successful campaign. The facets of political communication indeed are complicated ones, and are no more complicated for politicians than at election times; the importance of clear and useful communications becomes obvious in a situation where the political process becomes a "battle for survival". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Explain And Discuss How The "Ideologies Of Welfare" Explored In This Module Can Be ...

    3 star(s)

    The works of Marx and Engel's were particularly prominent in this view. Their works "the German ideology", the notion of an ideology held two meanings, the first was that an ideology represented a picture of the world as seen through a 'ruling class'.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Can the use of the First Past the Post electoral system be justified in ...

    5 star(s)

    The failures of the alternative systems are also important as to why FPTP is justified. There are unquestionable issues with any kind of proportional system and these mainly link to the viewed failures of coalition government. A proportional system such as that used in Germany, whilst providing greater representation to

  1. Does the mass media have a direct effect on British Politics?

    it does not subscribe to the view that the media influences what people think, but it does stress the fact that the media have a significant amount of power in being able to set the agenda in politics. It must be remembered, however, that the newspapers still have a responsibility

  2. Compare and contrast the UK and US political parties and their party systems

    (Scots Nationalist Party); in Wales within the devolutionary structure, it is balanced by Plaid Cymru; in Northern Ireland by the various Unionists groups and Sein Fein.Within Westminster, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats provide a healthy political rivalry.

  1. Political Ideologies

    providing people with security and independence from government * Property and material possession is also an exteriorization of the people's personalities * Right to have property comes with duties Paternalistic conservatism * Reform from above was preferable than revolution from below - by being privileged you must perform a duty

  2. Utilitarianism: Explanation And Study of Criticisms

    Utilitarianism: John Stuart Mill The basic principle of Mill's Utilitarianism is the greatest happiness principle (PU): an action is right as it maximizes general utility, which Mill identifies with happiness. Each person's happiness counts as much as anyone else's; hence, Utilitarianism is not a form of ethical egoism.

  1. Are Judges Politicians In Disguise?

    The Warren Court's unanimous (9-0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." This came into conflict with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, this decision paved the way for integration, and the civil rights movement. The second case is Grutter vs Bollinger, which included a Law

  2. Accounts for the changes in voting behaviour in the last 30 years in UK ...

    majority of Psephologists, that the British people followed the set tradition of voting due to their social class and partisanship, started to gradually fade away with the electorate seeming to pay more attention to the issues that a particular party would address.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work