Over the years, the conference season has provided British political parties with unique opportunities to advertise themselves for free under the cover of “news”.1 Throughout the year parties compete with each other for the attention of the media but every autumn, for about a month, a tacit convention temporarily suspends the normal rules of political balance. Provided that there is no other pressing news to cover, the media focus their attention upon the current conference and do not seek alternative opinions from other parties.2 What has been the role of the media in the transformation of conferences from semi-private events into public showrooms? To a large extent, most of the changes have been introduced with an eye on the image of the party and a concern for the ways in which the leadership could remain in control of its communication.
KeywordsParty Leadership Labour Party Conference Organiser Public Service Broadcasting Private Finance Initiative
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