The 1979 and 1983 elections traumatised the Labour Party. The latter defeat, then the heaviest suffered by either major party since 1945, underlined Labour’s organisational deficiencies. A shattered party turned to a youthful politician for leadership. Despite his left credentials, Neil Kinnock was destined to oversee a wide-ranging reform programme designed to court, in his words, ‘floating voters’. Addressing his first Conference as leader, Kinnock made clear his feelings on the recent election: ‘Just remember how you felt then, and think to yourselves ‘June the Ninth, 1983’, never again will we experience that.’1 Given the Conservatives inflicted the defeat, it was understandable when Labour began to study their approach to electioneering. Party strategists were further encouraged by the experience of the left led Greater London Council’s (GLC) campaign against its abolition. Marketing professionalism was, however, no guarantor of success as the supposedly media aware Social Democratic Party demonstrated. Expertise was of limited use if an organisation was uncertain of its core identity and message.2
KeywordsLabour Party Advertising Agency Marketing Consultant Political Marketing British Politics
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