The New Right Ascendancy
Campaigning played a significant role in changing and redistributing power within the Labour Party during the 1980s so that, by the end of the decade, the organisation was unrecognisable from the one defeated in 1979. Far from being about peripheral presentational exercises, the adoption of a marketing driven approach became integral to the leadership’s reassertion of control. Furthermore this activity extended to influencing popular opinion and was concerned with convincing the party of the need for reform. The Policy Review programme began as a process of ‘internal’ marketing that culminated in the launch of ‘new’ Labour. The function of ‘agenda-setting’ is central to understanding how the Review and subsequent leadership exercises were able to restructure the party. Cohen identified the core feature of this concept when he wrote: ‘the press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about’. Having been popularised in a celebrated study of election campaigning, Lukes used the term to describe one of three ‘faces’ of power that determine organisational outcomes.1
KeywordsFocus Group Trade Union Agenda Setting Leadership Election Policy Review
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.