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Thatcher’s Legacy: The Americanisation of British Politics?

  • Margaret Scammell

Abstract

Political marketing is now clearly woven into the fabric of British politics. It has been adopted by right and left of the spectrum, trade unions, pressure groups and charities. Thatcher’s Conservative Party led the way with the hiring of Saatchi & Saatchi in 1978 and the incorporation of marketing expertise at high levels of influence in the party organisation. By the late 1980s Labour had become the new marketing leaders, Peter Mandelson its driving force and the red rose its clearest symbol. Where once the Labour leaders had reacted with alarm and contumely to the ‘marketing of Margaret’, by the early 1990s the tables had turned. The Tories accused Labour of reducing politics to slick and phoney images, John Major renounced the image-makers and Harvey Thomas parted company with Conservative Central Office (CCO) complaining that the party was neglecting fundamentals of communications.

Keywords

Direct Mail Marketing Concept Campaign Spending Electoral Credibility Political Advertising 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    André Malraux, Antimémoires (1967), i. 122.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 6.
    Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, in a publication by the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs, argued that Mrs Thatcher’s reluctance to tackle the NHS resulted from ‘ill-considered advice based on defective measurement of public opinion’: Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, Welfare without the State (1987).Google Scholar
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    Table 8.3 is derived from Keith Ewing, Funding of Political Parties in Britain (1987) p. 90;Google Scholar
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    Bill Carter, ‘Perot gave networks a race at any rate’, New York Times, 3 November 1992.Google Scholar
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    For an argument in favour of paid political advertising see M. Scammell, ‘Political Advertising and the Broadcasting Revolution’, in Political Quarterly, April 1990, 61(2).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Margaret Scammell 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Scammell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and Communication StudiesUniversity of LiverpoolUK

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