© 2018

Conflict, Co-operation and the Rhetoric of Coalition Government


Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Judi Atkins
    Pages 1-19
  3. Judi Atkins
    Pages 21-43
  4. Judi Atkins
    Pages 45-64
  5. Judi Atkins
    Pages 65-86
  6. Judi Atkins
    Pages 87-108
  7. Judi Atkins
    Pages 109-131
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 177-184

About this book


Through a rhetorical analysis, this book explores how the parties in a coalition government create a united public front while preserving their distinct identities. After proposing an original framework based on the ‘new rhetoric’ of Kenneth Burke, the author charts the path from the inconclusive outcome of the 2010 UK general election and the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition to the dissolution of the partnership in the run-up to May 2015. In doing so, she sheds valuable light on the parties’ use of rhetoric to manage the competing dynamics of unity and distinctiveness in the areas of higher education, constitutional reform, the Europe Union and foreign policy. This unique and highly-accessible analysis will be of interest to a wide audience, including scholars and students of rhetoric, British politics and coalition studies. 


political communication rhetoric and politics British political ideology British coalition government Conservative-Lib Dem coalition Conservative party rhetoric Liberal Democrats rhetoric coalition policy coalition studies do coalitions wokr? co-operation in a coalition government British politics Rhetoric of Coalition Bargaining Foreign policy in the coalition government legacy of the coalition government success of the coalition government failures of the coalition government

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Judi Atkins is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Coventry University, UK. She has published widely on the relationship between rhetoric, ideology and policy in Britain, and she is author of Justifying New Labour Policy (2011) and co-editor of Rhetoric in British Politics and Society (2014) and Voices of the UK Left: Rhetoric, Ideology and the Performance of Politics (2017). 

Bibliographic information


“Judi Atkins's well researched and clearly argued study of political rhetoric in the Cameron-Clegg administration is essential reading for all students and scholars interested in the birth, life and death of Britain's first post-war coalition government.” (Matt Beech, University of Hull, UK)

“This book offers a very welcome contribution to the field of rhetorical studies in general and the study of political rhetoric in particular. It shows how Burke’s conceptualization of rhetoric as identification and division is still very relevant to understanding contemporary politics. The focus on recent coalition processes in the UK is very timely and the analysis is also relevant for other political contexts. Hopefully this book will stimulate international scholars to engage in this kind of work.”  (Kris Rutten, Ghent University, Belgium)