The Modern British Campaign

From Propaganda to Political Marketing

Authored by: Dominic Wring

Routledge Handbook of Political Management

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  March  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415962254
eBook ISBN: 9780203892138
Adobe ISBN: 9781135897499

10.4324/9780203892138.ch21

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Abstract

The marketization of politics raises profound questions about the democratic process in Britain and elsewhere. Some practitioners and theorists have welcomed this trend in the belief that it extends the principles of choice and accountability to the electoral and non-electoral arenas.1 However from another perspective this arguably forms part of an important component of a neo-liberal ascendancy whose trajectory has encouraged the subordination of democratic politics to the economic market. It is then no coincidence that those candidates most associated with changing the way campaigns were conducted at the turn of the 1980s were the same politicians responsible for implementing the New Right agenda for government. By winning office Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan defied the conventional Downsian wisdom that elections are won on the centerground; rather these conservatives, supported by a formidable alliance of corporate interests, concerned themselves with shaping their environment (which broadly equates to Andrew Gamble’s politics of power) as well as influencing their market (the politics of support).2

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