Market Research Socialism
Paradoxically the 1987 defeat strengthened Neil Kinnock’s position and enabled him to pursue major policy changes. He was far from alone in advocating reform. Shadow Cabinet colleagues like Gerald Kaufman argued the party’s own manifesto had undermined the campaign effort and that Peter Mandelson had merely provided Labour with ‘a whole new style and façade… but, of course it was a facade. You can’t sell something that people don’t want however well you package it’. The Campaigns Director agreed, concluding ‘the product kept seeping through’.1 According to a more detached account Labour did not ‘market’ itself in 1987 but sought to build a campaign around the ‘peculiar narratives of deprivation and poverty and the moral worth of British socialism’.2 Far from undermining the Kinnock leadership, the defeat served to reinforced the party hierarchy’s determination to pursue further reforms. In overseeing the resulting Policy Review, the chosen vehicle for change, Mandelson would become one of the most influential non-elected politicians in Labour history.
KeywordsMarket Research Policy Review Moral Worth Labour Party Labour Leader
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