Sunday, May 01, 2005

Comm 226: Framing the Language and PR in British Politics

Hey guys, I know you are all working very, very hard these last few days, but if you read the papers then one of the things you know is that there is a General Election in Britain this Thursday where the people of the UK will elect a new Parliament and a new Prime Minister. I think it is interesting that most people expect Labour to win and Tony Blair to remain Prime Minister. There are many reasons for this, but US Based Liberal Blogger, Markos Moulitsas, has this to say about how Labour controls framing language...
with the Republican sweep of 2004, Democrats have finally come to terms with its minority status. And with that realisation has come a desperate effort to study the factors fuelling the rise of the American right.

The factors are various, but key among them is the notion of "framing" - that is, controlling the political language. Republicans realised decades ago that those who controlled the language, controlled the political battleground. A sort of electoral high ground, providing a tactical advantage in the battle of ideas. ...

Reading Britain's Sunday Times' expected endorsement of the Conservative party, the direct parallel between disaffected American Democrats and disaffected British Tories was startling. "The Tories have accepted that Labour has won the political battle over tax and spend," it says. "Talk of deep tax cuts would, they fear, frighten voters. So the party offers new Labour-lite; no significant tax cuts and plenty of extra public spending."

With all of Tony Blair's faults, and he clearly has many, his ability to win the framing wars in Britain is probably his chief legacy - the sort of victory that rises above immediate political concerns, including Thursday's election, and can provide the philosophical foundation for a long lasting Labour majority. That is no small feat, no small accomplishment. And presents a huge challenge for British conservatives given their already significant parliamentary deficits. (The Liberal Democrats appear to be on more solid footing, sharing Labour's economic frame: social services good, tax cuts bad).
In other words, never underestimate the power of framing language as a communication strategy!

Ok, take care and talk with y'all later.

1 comment:

Cornie said...

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